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West Valley City Journal

General election candidates are set for West Valley City Council

Oct 12, 2023 03:26PM ● By Darrell Kirby

The field of candidates is set for the general election in November for three seats on the West Valley City Council. 

Results from the primary election in September saw all the three incumbents advance by being the top vote-getters in their respective races. They will face off against the second-place finishers in each of the districts on Nov. 21. 

Two-term councilmember Don Christensen will go against Sophia Hawes-Tingey for the at-large council seat. Christensen grabbed nearly 31% of the vote while Hawes-Tingey had 23% to finish second. 

District 1 incumbent Tom Huynh was chosen by 51% of those casting ballots and will be opposed by runner-up Marni Lefevre, who had 35% of the vote. Huynh is seeking his fourth four-year term. District 1 covers the northeastern part of West Valley City. 

Will Whetstone, who was appointed in January 2022 to fill a vacancy, finished first in the mainly northwestern District 3 with 47% of the vote. He will run against Heidi Roggenbuck in November. She came in second with 25%. 

Several of the candidates expressed their appreciation for the voter support. 

“I am humbled that the majority of the residents chose me as the one they supported. I love our city and will do everything I can to continue to serve the residents of West Valley,” Councilmember Christensen said. 

“I consider it an honor that (25% of the people who voted) have decided that I can best represent their voice in the West Valley City Council,” said Hawes-Tingey, a transgender woman. She cites human rights, affordable housing, and environmental sustainability as some of her issues of concern on her campaign website. 

Whetstone was grateful for the primary election results. “I'm eager to take this momentum and energy into the general election as I work to bring positive change and progress to our community,” he said. His top priorities are responsible management of the West Valley City’s finances, affordable housing and transparency in city government.

His November opponent, Roggenbuck, says her key issues are affordable housing, homelessness and crime. Besides working as a case manager for Salt Lake County, Roggenbuck has volunteered for years at various animal shelters. “(Voters) saw my passion for doing good work in the community and how I can be part of making West Valley City even better as it continues to grow and become more diverse,” she said. 

In District 1, lead vote-getter Huynh felt his connection with residents made the difference. “When my constituents call me, then I am at their door,” the native of Vietnam said. “I consider this a privilege to serve them. They can see it through my eyes when they talk to me.”

Huynh’s opponent will be Lefevre, a former high school biology teacher, who says her vision for West Valley City includes additional affordable housing, expanded social services and programs, and improved transportation. “I am honored and humbled by the primary election results and thrilled to be advancing to the general election,” Lefevre said. “The next few months will be busy and exciting, but I look forward to continuing to share my vision with more voters and earning each vote.” 

The general election on Nov. 21 is later than the usual first Tuesday of the month. Gov. Spencer Cox announced the change earlier this year to combine all municipal elections with a special election on Nov. 21 to fill the seat vacated by Chris Stewart in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District. λ