Huntington's First Woman Mayor Enthusiastic about Challenges Of Job
The first woman mayor of Huntington is Jackie Wilson. She was sworn into office in early January. Wilson said, "I was born in Price and raised in Huntington all my life. My maiden name was Gordon. I graduated from Emery High in 1969 and married Boyd Wilson in September of 1969. I worked for Walt Mortensen and managed his drug store and cafe.
"I was there for quite a while. We have three children. Cody was born in 1973, Cacey in 1975 and Cheyanne in 1978. I have been working at the Huntington Elementary for 21 years as a teacher's assistant. I love working with the kids. It is a joy to see them excel. I love helping them.
"I served on the planning and zoning adjustment board in 1976. I was interested in the development of the city. I served on those boards until I was encouraged to run for city council. In 1996, I ran for a four year seat and was successful. I also ran again in 2000. The city council seats are staggered so they aren't all up the same year. That way you'll always have some people with experience in there.
"In 2001, I decided to run for mayor and now I have the job. At times I've felt I needed more experience, but now I'm ready and I'll learn as I go. There are many things I hope to accomplish as mayor, I would like to help the town grow and develop. Our economic interests in the county and cities are at a stalemate. We are losing people. We hope to be a town where businesses will want to come and live. I would like to unify the citizens with the city and government.
"We need citizen input. We want to have our citizens involved. We would like to get some things going for the youth and also the needs of the elderly will be addressed. We are working for the people and we need the public interest to hear their voice and wishes. One goal I have is to get the community interested. I feel when we have the public at our city council meetings that issues get resolved quicker.
"We would like to participate in Main Street enhancement programs. We would like to find out where the grant money is and go after some of it. Other communities are doing it and the programs are out there. There is a program from Senator Hatch's office that is also being checked into which makes money available to small cities. Councilman Norm Richardson is over the beautification committee and he does a great job. We are concentrating on completing the curb and gutter for the streets. That will help with the drainage problems we have. That's been a big project. Depending on how the money holds out we have plans for 37 blocks this summer. Ten blocks will also receive asphalt this summer. A few years ago a survey was sent out to city residents and that was one of the things the people wanted and now we are a little over halfway done with the project.
"Councilman Mark Justice has big plans for improvements to our park and the developing of a new park on city property behind the library. He has prepared grant proposals which will go to the Community Impact Board for consideration for funding. Plans are also underway for continued improvements to the rodeo grounds.
"We have so many things to accomplish. We want to beautify our city to make it a pleasant place with a friendly environment where people will want to raise their families. We want to bring businesses into our city. The industrial park outside of Huntington has been a big project. Talon Resources has plans to relocate their business there. We want to have businesses where our kids can work so they can come home. There are many people out there who would love to return to the county, but there isn't anywhere for them to work. We need to develop industry so our children can have jobs.
"We need to look around and see what's out there and make it attractive and enticing for them to locate their business here. Rosann Fillmore, county economic director has been really helpful to us. She helped secure a forest service grant to build the little park up by the cemetery. She has been a real asset.
"The more people you have involved the more you can do. We can work as a team and accomplish a lot. Don't wait for a hot issue to become involved. Come to your city council meetings and see what's going on. We have an item on the agenda for public comments where you can voice your opinion or concern about something that's going on. We can't rule or take action on it at that time, but we can discuss it and put it on the agenda at a later time if it needs further attention. We also have a great Youth City Council who help out in a lot of ways.
"I am excited to be here, it's fun and interesting. I'm going to give it a good run. I love Huntington and living here. We have nice people and a nice community and we have a lot of good people working for the city and in the city council. They keep me in line. I know that with team work, we will be able to accomplish many things," said Wilson.