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Stacy Bernal declares candidacy for District 3 seat in Utah Senate

By Ryan Aston - | Jan 5, 2024
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Stacy Bernal files as a candidate for Utah Senate District 3.
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Utah Sen. John Johnson stands in the Senate chamber in the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.
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Stacy Bernal, a member of the Ogden school board, announced plans on Nov. 10, 2023, to run as a Democrat for the District 3 seat in the Utah Senate. John Johnson, a Republican from North Ogden, now holds the seat.

OGDEN — Stacy Bernal has officially declared her candidacy for the District 3 seat in the Utah Senate, as announced in a statement from her campaign Thursday.

The Ogden School Board member seeks to “bridge the gap between residents’ personal experiences and political action being taken, emphasizing a commitment to service, resilience, and fairness,” per the release. She could not be reached for comment for this story.

Bernal had announced plans to run for the seat as a Democrat in November.

“I feel like we need a representative who brings a little bit of a different perspective,” Bernal said at the time. “I want to uplift our families and our residents.”

According to the release, Bernal’s foray into public service was inspired by an encounter with a single mother as part of her work with the school board in 2022. Amid a $2 million budget shortfall affecting special education funding, the board implemented a tax raise. Bernal connected with the woman during a public comment session.

“I saw myself in this woman,” Bernal said in the statement. “Our residents and families are rightfully concerned with real issues — paying bills, feeding their kids, and keeping their families safe. They’re not concerned with political points or culture wars. They deserve better.”

The District 3 seat is currently held by North Ogden Republican John Johnson. According to the release, Bernal’s personal experience stands “in stark contrast” to that of Johnson, mirroring “those of the families she seeks to represent.”

“I know what it’s like to have struggled as a single mother, working multiple jobs to support my family. I actually understand the experiences of the voters and families in our district. My experience is not unique, but in the legislature, it would be,” Bernal said in the statement.

In addition to her work on the school board, Bernal has held a position as the diversity, equity and inclusion manager for the Utah Jazz professional basketball team. For his part, Johnson has worked to pare down such DEI programs at the state’s public universities.

Bernal, who has an autistic son, also founded Awesome Autistic Ogden in 2018 and, per the release, collaborated with the Ogden Police Department in 2022 to implement an autism registry database.

District 3 roughly covers the area north of 21st Street in Ogden, extending beyond North Ogden, Pleasant View and Harrisville, in addition to eastern Weber County, including the Ogden Valley, and portions of Morgan and Summit counties, including Morgan, Coalville and Wanship.

Before redistricting last year, Johnson represented Utah’s 19th District.


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