City council candidate Benitez driven by desire to serve Ogden
OGDEN — Sebastian Benitez lost to incumbent Mike Caldwell in the 2015 Ogden mayoral race, but he’s not letting that defeat stop him from fighting for another chance to serve and represent others.
“I lost really bad, but I got my message out there and things are getting fixed,” Benitez said, referencing public sidewalks, parks and body cameras for Ogden police officers.
Benitez believes he would be more efficient in fixing citywide issues like the budget if he could secure a seat on the city council. Benitez is running for an at-large seat against incumbent Bart Blair, current City Council chair, who will finish his third term in December. All positions on the council are for a four-year term.
Two terms in office is enough, Benitez said. He feels the City Council needs new eyes and fresh ideas. He declined to discuss his ideas on how to fix the city’s budget, instead pointing to his history of success in owning two businesses and having never acquired debt in 25 years.
In addition to creating a budget that is fair for all community residents, Benitez hopes to take part in improving air quality. After a tornado ripped through Weber County in 2017, he donated 500 trees to the city, at a price tag of $10,000.
“I will keep pushing and getting involved to improve quality of life,” he said.
Benitez said he does not want to cause problems; he just wants to see positive change in the city he and his family have come to love.
Six years after moving his family from Paraguay to Ogden in 2001, Benitez started Intermountain Cleaning Service and currently holds a contract with the city to clean windows.
Benitez spoke four languages before coming to the United States. He now speaks five after learning how to speak English on his own. As the son of a sailor in the Paraguayan Navy, he lived in nine countries before coming to America.
“I’ve learned a lot, and I need to learn more,” Benitez said. “I’m running to be of service.”
The general election is set for Nov. 2.