The 2016 election in the United States has inspired activists nationwide to resist, organize, and run for office. Fueled by a desire to create change in their communities, younger generations are running for local office, Ben Haynes is one of them.
The election of Donald Trump in November 2016 inspired activists nationwide to resist, organize, and in some cases, run for office. After spending over a year working on a political campaign, Ben Haynes has returned to his hometown, Salt Lake City, Utah, where he is running for City Council. Born in 1992, Ben grew up in Salt Lake City and attended the University of Utah, where he majored in political science and received a minor in campaign management. We discussed Ben’s campaign and the issues he’s working for with him.
Ben, why did you decide to go back to Utah and run for office?
I spent over a year traveling around the country for the Hillary for America Campaign. After the campaign I was eager to return to Utah. My family and many of my friends are here and it’s where I want to be. After accepting a job I realized that there was still something missing. I missed the community of working for the Hillary for America Campaign, the campaign gave me an incredible sense of purpose. It was so rewarding knowing that I was making an impact on people’s lives. So I decided to run for City Council to hopefully make my backyard a better place, if elected. Local government is more important than ever, especially because of what our federal government looks like right now. We need young people to take ownership of their communities and running for office is how you make a difference.
What position are you running for?
I’m running for City Council in Salt Lake City, Utah. City government structure is very much like a state government structure. The City Council acts as the legislature to the Mayor, creates a budget and writes policy.
What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
There are several key issues that I am running on and hope to create change around. First, affordable housing, because being a millennial and finding a reasonably priced place to live in my district is really difficult. Secondly, clean air, in the winter Salt Lake experiences a terrible inversion which is detrimental to everyone who lives here. Lastly community engagement, there has never been a better time to be involved in your neighborhoods. All of a sudden it is cool to be a citizen! I want to channel this energy to empower the citizens of Salt Lake. If elected, I hope to inspire more young people to run for office, change begins with us. I would also like to ensure that despite the rapid growth that Salt Lake City is experiencing we don't lose our character as a city.
What does the day-to-day life of a candidate look like?
Day-to-day life of a candidate is relatively normal. I work a day job from 8am to 4:30pm. After work I usually meet with community members, knock on doors and talk to neighbors, meet with my campaign staff, raise money, go to community events, and eat dinner with my girlfriend. I’m much more aware of all that Salt Lake City has to offer and am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to run for City Council, represent my generation, and make an impact in my neighborhood.
Salt Lake City Council Structure
The Salt Lake City Council operates as the legislative body and the mayor, elected by the residents of Salt Lake City, is the chief executive. The council is responsible for approving the City budget, setting the agenda, introducing legislation and setting policy for the City. To learn more about the Salt Lake City Council checkout their website: Council.slcgov.com