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Sarah Young is appointed to fill the Salt Lake City Council District 7 vacancy

Sarah Young (left) takes the oath of office in the Salt Lake City Council chambers, July 13, 2023.
courtesy Salt Lake City Government
Sarah Young (left) takes the oath of office in the Salt Lake City Council chambers, July 13, 2023.

The Salt Lake City Council appointed Sarah Young to fill the vacancy in District 7 that covers the Sugar House area, including the Brickyard area south of I-80.

Young emerged from a field of 15 applicants after three rounds of voting by council members.

“I'm committed to working with the council to create coherent policies and systems that improve opportunities for all members of our community while still honoring the local control that's essential to city residents,” Young told her new council colleagues.

Young has worked for the Utah Board of Education since 2016 and is the organization’s chief of staff. She likened what it takes to run a school system to what it takes to run a city.

“I've been involved in public service in Utah for the past 11 years,” she said. “I support the personnel, policies and resources for Utah public education systems. But more importantly, I also support the future leaders of Salt Lake City who are currently students in our classrooms today.”

During questioning by the council, Young leaned heavily on her experience working in education and demonstrated her commitment to ensuring all residents will have a say on important issues.

“Most people are going to look at [issues] through the lens of what's best for me, what's best for my family, and what's best for the greater community,” she said. “I feel incredibly strongly that it's important for all of those voices to have an opportunity to be heard.”

In a 4-2 vote, the council chose Young over former Summit County sustainability program manager Lisa Yoder before unanimously approving her appointment in a formal meeting afterward.

The appointment comes after two-term Council Member Amy Fowler resigned on July 3 following a DUI arrest in May. Fowler postponed her resignation until July so District 7 could have representation during the city’s budgeting process, which was completed in June. State law specifies that a council vacancy must be filled within 30 days of a resignation.

Because there are more than two years left on Fowler’s term, which started in 2022, Young’s appointed term ends on Jan. 2, 2024. She and other candidates will need to run in the Nov. 21 municipal election to serve out the remainder of Fowler’s term, which ends in 2026.

Council members were encouraged by the amount of participation the appointment process attracted and urged all of the applicants to stay engaged as the municipal election season progresses.

“[The appointment process] is in one way, the most unfair thing [we do] because the people that are choosing who's going to represent District 7 are six people that don't live in District 7,” said Council Chair Darin Mano.

“The amount of passion and energy and love for your community that you exhibit here is humbling, and I love it,” added District 2 Council Member Alejandro Puy. “I hope that you … decide to stay involved.”

The filing period for Salt Lake City’s municipal election is Aug. 8-15.

Sean is KUER’s politics reporter.
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