One of the candidates running for city council in the upcoming election is a relative newcomer to the Hildale community. Jared Nicol, originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, has lived here for two years. He developed a love for the community after coming here to engage in volunteer work with Safety Net of Utah. Over the course of several visits to the area to distribute charitable contributions, he developed a love for the area and the people. The small-town atmosphere and the unique dynamics of the community convinced him to move his family here. He is married with 4 children. “We loved the scenery. All the people we interacted with were kind and nice, and it was very different than the media portrayal of the community,” says Nicol. He continues, “With the small-town environment, it’s been nice for our kids, for us, and my wife’s parents that have moved down here with us.” Many of the values, held deeply by the community, were the motivation for him to transplant his family. “I like living here because of the rich history of family, community, and togetherness that everybody talks about.”
Nicol quickly became involved in local community functions and has been an active participant in city council meetings. He has a deep love for community and civic engagement that stems from his experiences as a child. “Growing up, in Midvale, Utah, my dad was on the city council,” says Nicol, “I attended a lot of city council meetings as a kid.” These experiences instilled a love for the civic process and the exercise of our rights and responsibilities as citizens. “I remember, when I was younger, putting out signs and flyers, talking to people, and helping my dad run for city council.” It didn’t take long, however, for him to realize that things operate a little differently in his new community.
“When I first started going to meetings, I felt like there was an openness that needed to be there that wasn’t.” While he sees room for improvement, he also acknowledges the good work that the current council does. “I’m very respectful of the mayor and the councilmen. I know that they work hard; they’re intelligent, and they do good things.” There has been an increase in diversity, not only with an increase in people who have historically been unaffiliated with the community but a lot of individuals returning to their hometown. Nicol sees this changing dynamic and wishes to be a voice for all people and a bridge toward their common ends. One of his primary goals is creating a situation where “everybody who lives in Hildale believes they can go somewhere to voice their concerns and be heard and considered.” He is going to focus on community outreach and provide specific times when individuals can meet with him and voice their concerns with an “open door” policy. He sees this as crucial to having a dynamic of trust, not only for the sake of accountability but functionality.
Nicol recounted a time when his boys (aged 13 and 10) were picked up by the Marshal’s office on a curfew violation. In Salt Lake City, curfew is 11:00 p.m., but it is 10:00 here. Jared saw an opportunity to work with the Marshal’s office, conveying the words of his son who considered running from the Marshal, due to stories about the Marshal’s office being unfair to certain segments of the population. Although his son did not run, Jared saw an opportunity to express to the Marshal’s office the need to have accountability and work to build trust between the police and the citizens. Jared believes that more outreach by the Marshals to schools, and the community in general, will help build a level of trust that will make the job of the Marshals easier. He hopes to represent the views of all segments of the society and help build a sense of trust in our local government. Communication and openness are crucial to that process.
Another focus of his is in rebranding the city. “Tourism is a huge potential draw for the community.” “It seems that the current government is not okay with drawing that traffic.” Nicol points to situations like the fourth of July celebration that has been put together by private citizens and believes that with the support of local government, celebrations like that could be much more successful. The benefit is to draw tourists to our area and our businesses. “It could really help with rebranding and drawing business.”
He has met some criticism, however. That criticism is that his status as a newcomer inhibits him from understanding the community well enough to bring about his goals. While he acknowledges this criticism, he views his status as a newcomer as an asset saying, “I don’t claim to understand everything, but I do know what community pride is. I’m fully invested in this community. I am all in. I moved my family 300 miles and left a job that I had been at for 20 years.”
For more information regarding Jared Nicol’s campaign you can reach him by: