A Hildale native from birth, Maha Layton is running for a City Council position in the upcoming election. After moving to northern Utah for a short time to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Weber State University, she settled back in Hildale with her family. She met her husband, Kyle, while living up north. They have four children. “One thing that we love and have in common,” says Layton, “is small towns are the best! He was happy to follow me home, and now it’s home to him, too.” Most of her work experience is within the field of education. She has worked as a teacher’s aide, in administrative capacities relating to budget and finance, and as a teacher of middle school aged kids.
Her motivation for running for elected office is, at its core, patriotic. “When I left this community, I had a patriotic sense inside of me.” This sense of patriotism was fostered by the community she was raised in combined with her educational experience. “I remember the first time I heard the national anthem after leaving, and it moved me. I remember waking up to the lights and sirens at the 4th of July.” Many who were raised in Hildale and Colorado City can relate to this since the 4th of July parade and festivities were (and are again) one of the main public events each year. The seed of patriotism planted by her community and upbringing were nurtured to maturity by her education in criminal justice. “Through my college courses and through criminal justice you start to understand the system that you belong to.” She continues, “You take an American history class and the meat of it is that if you care and want to make a change, you get involved in local government. That’s where change happens.” She sees this election as an opportunity as well as a responsibility to bring about change.
There are three themes that animate her campaign: education, culture, and community. Three “bullets” she calls them. “My three bullets on my campaign are truly my passion. They are things that I actively pursue.”
The first bullet in her campaign is education. “I believe in education. I believe that if you empower someone’s mind, you empower a community.” As an educator, she sees the power that it holds and believes that it is central to the maintenance of any thriving community. “I live it. I teach every day, and I believe in it. I believe that I am altering their lives for the better.” The city is a valuable tool for fostering education. She pledges to provide support for any business that seeks to foster education. “I can vote yes to any business plan that promotes education.” She continues, “As a city, we can initiate those conversations. We can pull in those kinds of things.”
Community is the next item on her agenda. “It’s important that we develop a welcoming sense.” She has expressed support for building a welcoming center to facilitate potential tourism traffic, investing in the appearance of our streets and other infrastructure, and supporting businesses that help build a cultural identity. The city government can also be helpful to plan and initiate local events that foster and portray to visitors and potential newcomers that we have a culture that is valuable, that we want to share, and that is a benefit to the community and others. “It’s important that we start those, that we are known for something. I don’t know what it is, but I plan to create it with the help of our community.” She continues, “Hurricane does Peach Days. What does Hildale do?” Building a sense of community is important, says Layton, “So that outsiders, people that live here, anybody that travels here know this is a cool place to be.”
The third theme of her campaign is budget. “The budget is a huge responsibility. Incorporating as a city gives us the right to tax. When you’re spending someone else’s money, I think you have to have a concept for money.” She plans to implement a two-pronged approach of increasing revenue and frugal spending. “Decrease debt, increase revenue. Right now, Hildale city doesn’t have a lot of revenue.” The first two elements of her campaign culminate in this final piece. Initiating projects and events that foster education and culture will drive spending our way and help provide more tax revenues that we can use to better our city and positively benefit the citizens. This combined with careful budget management and investment will create a positive economic cycle.
With the community changing as rapidly as it has, Layton sees some challenges that will require our attention as citizens. The first is understanding what the citizens are interested in and who they are. “There’s a huge portion of my campaign that is research. What do we care about? A large portion of our community is new.”
For more information on Maha Layton’s campaign you can reach her by: