OGDEN — Primaries are still some three-and-a-half months away, but election season is starting to heat up in Ogden.
On Monday, Priscilla Martinez announced her bid for Ogden City Council’s District 3 seat, currently held by longtime Council member Doug Stephens.
Martinez, who formerly chaired Ogden City’s Diversity Commission, said she wants Ogden to be a place where “everyone can live and thrive,” and where residents of all backgrounds are heard and informed. Martinez, a Latina and native Spanish speaker, noted that Ogden’s population is roughly 30% Latino and that demographic should be better represented on Ogden’s council. Currently, Council member Luis Lopez is the only Latino on the seven member legislative board.
“I’m running because every resident in Ogden has a voice that matters,” Martinez said. “As a member of Ogden’s large Latinx community, I recently attended a public planning meeting where only a few members of my community were present, even though the decisions being made would directly impact them.”
Martinez earned a Master of Arts in public policy and administration from Northwestern University. She describes herself as a “devoted community advocate” who is passionate about serving others. She’s worked in case management with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and most recently has done diversity and community outreach for Ogden Weber Technical College. In addition to the Diversity Commission, Martinez has also served on Ogden’s Marshall White Center advisory committee, the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and established a nonpartisan “Voto Latino” chapter in Ogden to aid the Latino community in registering to vote.
She said her main main pursuits as a council member would be striving to ensure community programs — like parks, libraries, schools or recycling — work for all residents in Ogden. Martinez also said she would strive to ensure Ogden maintains livable and affordable communities amid growth and is environmentally sustainable.
On Tuesday, Stephens said he hadn’t made a decision on whether or not to run for reelection.
A lifelong Ogden resident and graduate of Ben Lomond High School and Weber State University, Stephens was first elected to represent Ogden’s Municipal District 3 in November 2005. He said he’d likely make a decision on his reelection status by the end of May.
Four council seats are up for grabs in Ogden’s 2021 municipal election. In addition to District 3, the city’s District 1 seat and two at-large seats will be decided this year. All positions are for a four-year term.
The candidate filing period begins June 1 and ends June 7. For Ogden residents looking to run for any of the four seats, a declaration of candidacy must be filled out in person at the Ogden City Recorder’s Office, 2549 Washington Blvd. A primary election is scheduled for Aug. 10, with the general election set for Nov. 2.