NAME: Brandon Stephenson
POSITION: Corporate Control Manager for J.M. Thomas Forest Products; member, Ogden City Council
1) What is your opinion of the 12-year tenure of Mayor Godfrey?
Mayor Godfrey's leadership has been exemplary over the last twelve years. He has taken an old railroad town and given us a feeling of renewal and purpose. There is a momentum in Ogden City now that can, under the right leadership, help to fuel a future of economic vitality, neighborhood revitalization and citizen engagement. As I speak with citizens, I get the sense that many feel the same as I do, and are ready for a change in leadership that will bring fresh ideas and a fresh style.
2) Do you think an Ogden streetcar system is economically feasible?
Not the way it stands currently at a total cost of $168 million. However, I do think that it is possible to figure out ways to decrease the project costs and increase the economic potential of a "tracks in the ground project" making the project a better value for the community. Some thoughts revolve around using different technology, possible changing the mode slightly to a trolley type system or even potentially toying with the idea of a BRT2 system that had a carved route and a trolly-like appearance. Other potential ideas might include working with Weber State to create more student-housing along the corridor to improve the utility of the corridor and thus improve the economic viability.
3) List three initiatives, or main themes, of your administration if you are elected.
Continued Aggressive Economic Rejuvination of Ogden City: I will create an environment where businesses (big and small) can be successful. When businesses are successful then we will all benefit through better paying jobs, local retail, entertainment and overall lower taxes for the citizens.
My key goals are:
- Bring higher paying jobs to Ogden
- Work hard by targeting businesses with a special emphasis on filling vacant downtown office space and continuing BDO build-out.
- Continue to revitalize and redevelop the necessary business sectors of the community with a focus on the downtown area, Washington Boulevard, Wall Avenue, and 12th Street.
- Bring retail to Ogden by continuing to bring people downtown to live, work and play in order to create traffic patterns that support retail.
- Further develop regional venues and events that will support local tourism that benefit all Ogden taxpayers by importing tax dollars into our community.
- Fiscal responsibility in partnering with businesses to bring the greatest value to the citizens of Ogden and diligently pay down Ogden City debt.
Strengthen Public Safety: I will continue to develop a community where each citizen feels safe and every criminal knows that they will not get away with crime in Ogden.
My key goals are:
- Identify and implement creative solutions that strengthen public policy against crime, such as zero tolerance programs, technology enhancement, and gang abatement.
- Strengthen our Community Policing Program by allocating additional resources and enhancing the ability of officers to service our neighborhoods.
- Enhance the infrastructure and equipment of our Police and Fire Departments.
Build Neighborhoods of Choice: I will rejuvinate troubled neighborhoods where we can live safely, raise our families, and enjoy our property and the wonderful mountainous region where we live.
My key goals are:
- Using many community partners, revitalize troubled neighborhoods with a special focus on de-incentivizing transient populations and replacing them with stable family populations.
- Consistently improve infrastructure, parks, trails, etc., based upon the highest neighborhood priorities.
- Allow people additional flexibility with their property so that they can more easily make improvements or add onto their homes.
- Improve programs such as the Home Sweet Ogden program that help to revitalize the housing stock in our neighborhoods.
4) Do you agree with the Ogden Ethics Project that candidates should not accept campaign contributions from businesses and unions and other business-related groups?
No. I think the idea is ridiculous, it merely limits businesses from having influence in the local political process. Please refer to my op-ed piece for my detailed opinion. Link to article
5) Why should people vote for you instead of the other candidates?
There are three reasons why people will vote for me.
First, I am the candidate who is most qualified based upon education and experience.
I have been on the City Council for almost 8 years and have learned the ins and outs of how the city runs. I know what to expect.
I have a Masters of Business Administration from Weber State University
I have been in local private industry for the last 25 years with several years as a small business owner, having been a part owner and manager of two retail furniture stores. In addition, I have spent the last 15 years in local and corporate management as a Corporate Control Manager for JM Thomas Forest Products.
Second, I am proven as the only candidate who has a public record of votes (based upon my City Council experience) for 7-1/2 years in the past that highlight the following unwavering positions on the following important principals:
- I will be aggressively for figuring out a way to continue needed economic growth in Ogden City.
- I will communicate and collaborate with all stakeholders and citizens as I move forward.
- I will support finding ways to partner in an effort to accomplish more than otherwise possible.
- I will be a strong advocate for public safety, even if it costs additional budgeted funds.
Third, my platform has the right balance of objectives that will focus aggressively on the economic needs of the city while keeping at the forefront the livability issues of Ogden's citizens.
6) What do you think about security measures in Ogden, including the crime center and upcoming police blimp?
I am strongly for each of these police tools because they give our officers technical advantages that will help them to better eliminate crime in Ogden. In addition, it will allow our officers to have more and better information more quickly and to work more efficiently. I also realize that there might be potential misuse and would make certain that there are strict administrative policies that regulate the use of these tools to official criminal situations and investigations only.