OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) — Seven people have entered the non-partisan mayoral race for Ogden City.
Ogden’s primary election will be held on August 15, and residents will be able to file for mayoral candidacy starting June 1 through June 7. The Weber County Republican Women held a meet-and-greet Monday afternoon to help voters get to know the potential candidates better.
Mike Caldwell, the current Mayor of Ogden, announced he would not be seeking a fourth term back in March, which means he will wrap up his 12th and final year as mayor in 2023. Caldwell is the 38th and second longest-tenured mayor in the city’s history. One term for a mayor in Ogden is four years.
In no particular order, here are the seven potential mayoral candidates for Ogden City:
Nadolski is currently a council member representing District 4 in Ogden. The city officials, he said, have done a good job of attracting talent to Ogden, and that is something he would continue to advance as a mayor.
“I think it’s important that we focus on why we are doing what we are doing, and that ‘why’ is the people that we serve,” Nadolski said. “I think we have done a good job of getting ourselves heard at the state level and making sure that our needs are relevant.”
He has over 25 years of experience in public administration and previously served as the policy analyst and legislative liaison for the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
Barragan served in multiple developmental roles throughout his career, including as a senior development director at Weber State University and director of advancement for Hogle Zoo.
His top priority as mayor will be “being present for Ogden,” Barragan said, adding that he would like to engage with the community, especially youth and small businesses, as well as attract more businesses to take up roots in Ogden.
“[My] tenacious enthusiasm to inspire this community to go out and do big things; to bring Ogden some opportunities that are exciting and happening throughout the state of Utah,” Barragan said.
Knuth currently serves as the deputy director of Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development. He said he has over 10 years of experience in serving the public. His career began with him working as the community services and engagement director for the United Way of Northern Utah, organizing engaging events in Ogden City, which includes collecting thousands of turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners.
“The city needs to improve on the way it engages with the community,” Knuth said. “In the last decade, we’ve seen countless citizens led initiatives to protect something or to preserve something, and I really think that speaks to the lack of authentic and consistent community engagement from the elected leaders of our city.”
If he becomes mayor, Knuth said his priorities would be preserving the character of Ogden, putting people back in the center of government and focusing on building community.
Castillo currently works as a planning commissioner for Ogden and served as a board member for local nonprofits, including YCC Family Crisis Center and Roads to Independence, a disability service center. She said that she has attended every single council meeting in Ogden since 2019 and will advocate for residents from all walks of life if elected.
“My top priority as mayor is to bring in a consultant to analyze our budget and find out where our improvement areas need to be,” Castillo said. “I would also change to a collaborative budget process, which means anything outside of municipal services and public safety — we’re gonna talk about it as a community, and we are going to vote on how we’re gonna spend our money.”
The Ogden community, Castillo said, should have a say in how, where and why they want to grow. When it comes to areas of improvement, Castillo believes that the City of Ogden should make changes to how it connects with its citizens and how officials interact with public feedback.
Mata serves as the director of community outreach at an Ogden school as well as the vice chairman of the Utah Democratic Party. He believes that transparency, or the lack of it, is an overarching issue in Ogden City Hall.
“I think the thing we need to do right away is communication and open up the doors in city hall,” Mata said. “Doors in the city hall are literally and figuratively locked.”
Mata continues to say that the city is doing well at the hands of local nonprofits.
“I think it’s a shame that we need to have our citizens step up… to do what the city should be doing,” Mata said. “The city really should be partnering up with all these entities, but I applaud those that are involved in these nonprofits.”
Blair has been representing Ogden City At Large as a council member since November 2009. He has a family-owned business named Sinclair and Service, a gas station and convenience store that has reportedly served Ogden residents for more than 50 years.
His priority, if elected as mayor, would be to build on the “momentum” that already existed before. Blair said when he first joined city council, the momentum was nowhere to be found. Now that there is momentum, he said, it is up to city officials to maximize it and use it to benefit the citizens.
“Because of my time in the city and city council, I have the tools and the know-how to continue to build upon that momentum, to make the right choices and continue to benefit everyone,” Blair said.
Greiner is a former state senator and police chief of Ogden City. He said that his top priority as mayor would be looking at the “serious” infrastructure issues within the city and the education system.
“I don’t think most people understand that feeder schools, Ogden High School for instance, sometimes experience 100% turnover of students in a year,” Greiner said. “That’s deplorable in terms of helping our kids move ahead.”
As the former manager of the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, Greiner called the place “a diamond in the rough,” adding that it is a huge contributor to the city’s economy. He believes that the city is currently doing well in developing old properties that are vacant for a long time.
“43 years — I’ve worked with Ogden City,” Greiner said. “I understand the budgeting process. I was the police chief for 16 years. I did the airport for six years… I was also a state legislator, so I got to work with grants that benefitted Ogden.”