OGDEN — The 2019 General Municipal Election is still a half-year out, but Ogden City already has a mayoral race.
Incumbent Mike Caldwell, who has been Ogden’s mayor since January 2012, announced earlier this week on Facebook he plans to seek a third term. He will have at least one challenger, as Ogden Planning Commission member Angel Castillo has also tossed her name in the hat.
Caldwell and Castillo both say their love for Ogden drives their respective decisions to seek the office, but their backgrounds and stated approaches to running the city represent a clear divide.
While Caldwell is an Ogden native, Castillo is a newcomer to the city. She’s from Chicago but most recently lived in Los Angeles. After almost two decades in L.A., she moved to Ogden just over a year ago. About a month after relocating here, she landed a spot on the city’s planning commission.
“I came to Ogden in 2014 to race in the USA Cycling Masters Nationals,” Castillo said. “And I immediately knew I wanted to live here. I fell head over heels in love with this town.”
If elected mayor, Castillo said one of her biggest priorities would be Ogden’s expanding housing needs. As a former resident of Los Angeles, she said she knows first-hand that if Ogden doesn’t create housing affordability solutions, “housing will become a prohibitive obstacle for our children, grandchildren, and aging parents within 10 to 15 years.”
Retention and recruitment of high-quality, experienced Ogden law enforcement officers and reducing absenteeism and improving performance at Ogden schools are also among Castillo’s prime concerns.
As for Caldwell, economic development has been at the forefront of his agenda for much of his tenure. The mayor said seeing the Ogden Bus Rapid Transit project through, as well as several city-initiated redevelopment sites, would pressing matters if he were reelected.
The proposed BRT line would begin at the transit center at 2350 Wall Ave., head east on 23rd Street to Washington Boulevard, south to 25th Street, then east up 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard, connecting to Weber State University and a planned transit center at the Dee Events Center.
McKay-Dee Hospital would be the final stop on the line.
The project is expected to cost $79 million, which will come from a mix of local and federal funds. Proponents of the project, like Caldwell, say it will drive economic growth in Ogden for years to come.
“I think consistency and stability are important and I want to make sure we keep building on what we’ve done so far,” Caldwell said.
Traditionally, Ogden has been the only Weber County city with a full-time mayor. North Ogden’s mayor position has been a full-time job since 2015, but the city is considering a proposal that would shift the position back to part time.
Ogden’s Municipal Primary Election is set for Aug. 13. The General Election will be Nov. 5. For more information, go to elections.utah.gov.
Both Caldwell and Castillo say they look forward to a constructive campaign and hope to engage Ogden citizens regularly.
“Having choices is good and I encourage an open and robust debate,” Caldwell said.