Ross Romero has lived a set of several different lives in his hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. Recently, he told NewsTaco that his varied experience in his hometown — from growing up as the son of a single mother on a teacher’s salary, to being a student at the University of Utah, to living on the more affluent side of town and working in a bank —makes him the perfect candidate for Salt Lake County Mayor in 2012. The job is similar to what county administrators do in other places, he told us.
Of course, another reason Romero, an attorney, decided to run for this seat had to do with redistricting. He told us that as Senate Minority Leader in Utah, he was told that the Democrats were going to be redistricted out by one seat. Despite fighting to keep the seat, he ultimately asked whether anyone wanted to retire or seek another office; when no one volunteered, and in order to avoid Democratic infighting, Romero took it upon himself as Minority Leader to give up his seat.
However, Romero is generally an upbeat individual who told us that he considers Salt Lake County Mayor to be a higher office, enabling him to become a bigger leader for the Democratic Party in the state of Utah. The election will be competitive he told us, noting that there is no majority party in the county, but he’s sure that he’s the best candidate to bring together what is Utah’s most diverse county in order for everyone there to prosper.
“I think I am the candidate that best relates to all of our counties’ differences. Salt Lake County is the most diverse county in Utah, it has tremendous wealth and tremendous struggle. I have worked in the private sector have a good understanding of the business community I have a good understanding about not overextending our indebtedness and I’m focused on education,” he said. Additionally, after school programs, parks and recreation, support services, nutrition, transportation, pollution, health and obesity, and fiscal responsibility are at the top of Romero’s list of issues for Salt Lake County.
One really interesting thing about Romero is that he really loves Utah. To that end he told us, he frequently advocates for a variety of causes in Salt Lake County and the state of Utah, but often finds himself advocating or Utah as a community when he travels outside the state. In his view, anything you do to “add value” for the majority, also adds value for minorities, he said.
“I always consider myself a champion for Utah’s diverse voices in Utah, but I take that same challenge to be a champion for the LDS community outside of Utah which is a minority,” he told us.
That said, Romero always recognizes that he’s a Catholic Hispanic Democrat in Utah, which brings him back to his original point about Salt Lake County Mayor: “I’m running as someone who cares about my community, and I believe I have a good set of skills for the job.”
Ultimately, Romero sees his bid for Salt Lake County Mayor as one way to give back to the hometown that he loves. After watching his mother work in public schools for almost 40 years, he told us her example taught him to give back to your community. As Salt Lake County Mayor Romero tells us that he hopes to make a difference by being able to give back to everyone in Salt Lake County, not just a majority or a minority community.