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Ogden City Council candidates elaborate on visions ahead of late-November election

By Rob Nielsen - | Nov 13, 2023

Photos supplied

Ogden City Council candidates, clockwise from top left: Shaun Myers, Levi Andersen, Steve Van Wagoner and Dave Graf.

OGDEN — Ogden’s four City Council candidates are getting their final arguments out as next week’s election looms.

Two seats are up for grabs in 2023:

  • The at-large Seat C is being contested by Levi Andersen and Shaun Myers. This seat is currently occupied by Luis Lopez, who opted not to run for reelection this year.
  • And the District 4 seat, which is being contested by Steve Van Wagoner and Dave Graf. The seat is currently occupied by Ben Nadolski, who is running for mayor.

District 2 saw incumbent Richard Hyer file for reelection. No challengers filed and, consequently, he will retain his position on the council.

At-large Seat C

Andersen, a history teacher at Mound Fort Junior High School and a political newcomer, said he’s running for the city’s youth.

“I did it for my kids and my students,” he said. “I want to make Ogden an even better place than it is for my own children that live here and my students that I’ve been teaching for the last seven years. Most of my students live in the downtown area and a lot of them are lower income, and I think that there’s things we can do to help make their life even better.”

Myers, owner of Myers Mortuary and also a newcomer to seeking elected office, said he’s running because he can apply his extensive experience in business.

“The first reason comes back to following the City Council and wanting to be involved, wanting to provide leadership and positive leadership with the City Council,” he said. “I just feel that I have a good voice of reason, I have incredible experience in public service — although not in governmental-type public service — but I do have a very good understanding of business, economics and I just feel that’s a good thing to bring to the table.”

Andersen said he wants to create more spaces for children and young adults.

“Some of the crime problems we have could be alleviated if we were able to have safe places that the youth and teenagers could hang out at and feel safe but be supervised so they won’t get into trouble,” he said. “They can have fun activities that they would like to do.”

He added that he would also like to see better education on what resources are available to minority and lower-income populations.

Myers said his priority would be bringing further economic development to Ogden.

“I believe in economic development for our city,” he said. “I’ve watched (the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce) grow their membership this year. There are many new entrepreneurs who are coming into our community and starting up businesses as well as other businesses that are expanding into our area. We’ve had approximately 110 new members come into the chamber this year, and I’ve watched the economic vitality that they bring into a community with new jobs, people living the American dream, and what I like about that economic development piece is it brings higher-paying jobs for our residents and it gives them some economic opportunities.”

He said he would also like to focus on boosting recreation — especially activities aimed at youth — in the community and upgrading and maintaining infrastructure.

District 4

Graf, who has been retired for several years and has served on the Ogden Planning Commission for seven and a half years, said he’s running to help manage the city’s inevitable growth.

“It’s important that Ogden grows in a smart way,” he said. “My seven-plus years on the Planning Commission has been very educational and will help me collaborate with other City Council members and a new mayor to create our community’s vision for our future. And I think the words ‘our community’s vision for the future’ is really important. We really need to engage the rest of the city in what Ogden looks like going forward.”

Van Wagoner, a business owner and youth coach, said he chose to run in 2023 because he feels elected officials should do more to represent the people.

“With a diverse background of experience, I am equipped to listen and serve the residents of Ogden with a more inclusive understanding,” he said. I possess the energy to inspire and instill hope for a brighter future in our youngest generation. My proven track record of balanced leadership enables me to collaborate on decisions that will contribute to an Ogden we can all be proud of. While I am known for standing firm like an oak, I will work hard to defend all of you equally, but it is crucial for all of us to exercise our equal right to vote, safeguarding our liberties for both the present and future generations.”

Graf said, if elected, one of his focuses would be historic preservation.

“The historic portions of our city are incredibly important to sustain,” he said. “Union Station is kind of the focal point of all of that, and we need to be sure that the Union Station redevelopment takes place in a really smart way. There’s an opportunity for the town as a whole to bring their voices to bear around what Union Station looks like as it is reinvigorated and redeveloped in that roughly 30 acres to the north and south of 25th and Wall.”

He added that he would also be focused on public safety initiatives, environmental conservation and infrastructure improvements.

Van Wagoner said he would like to help boost housing opportunities that allow residents to build equity.

“Ogden faces an abundance of rental-only apartments, some potentially cutting corners, causing concern,” he said. “Many of these apartments are unaffordable, prompting a need for a detailed supply chain analysis to boost affordability. This analysis should also include all empty land available as well as a detailed report of the living wages compared to cost of living. I will vote to help you build equity.”


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