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In State Of The City Address, Salt Lake City Mayor Looks Forward To 'More Equity, More Opportunity’

State of Salt Lake
Ross Terrell
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall gave her State of the City address Tuesday.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall gave her second State of the City address Tuesday night.

Mendenhall reflected on the challenges of 2020 — from the earthquake in March to the windstorm in the fall and the impacts of the pandemic.

But even though a lot has changed, she stressed that life shouldn’t go back to how it was.

“We can do better than the old ‘normal,’” Mendenhall said. “The pre-COVID status quo was not good for everyone. It wasn’t just for everyone. It wasn’t safe for everyone and it wasn’t fair for everyone.”

She said the city still grapples with housing affordability, air quality issues and managing growth.

Additionally, Mendenhall addressed the capital city’s continued struggle with homelessness. She said the state and other towns across Utah need to help come up with a solution.

She also asked that community members “reset the rhetoric” around that issue.

“The public servants from the city, the county and the nonprofits who try to help the unsheltered do so because we care deeply,” she said. “The assumption that we are indifferent or worse, ill-intentioned toward people who don’t have a home is the furthest thing from the truth, and it divides us in working toward the result we’re all trying to achieve.”

Mendenhall closed by saying the city’s government and its residents need to move forward.

“I invite you to embrace this new year in our dear capital city with the earned confidence that we can get through anything, together,” she said. “We have. And the future we’re building now is informed by what we’ve learned and what we’re still learning from each other, every day. More equity, more opportunity, more accountability and more well-being, for all.”

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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