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Meet Kurt Bradburn, Sandy’s first new mayor in 24 years

Dec 01, 2017 08:01AM ● Published by Justin Adams

Kurt Bradburn poses for a picture with his family on election night after defeating Mayor Tom Dolan. (Courtesy of the Bradburn for Sandy Mayor campaign)

By Justin Adams | j.adams@mycityjournals.com    

For the first time in 24 years, Sandy City is going to have a new mayor. On Nov. 7, Sandy residents went to the polls and voted by a 56-43 margin to replace long-time mayor Tom Dolan with Kurt Bradburn, who had previously been working as a state attorney.

Bradburn said he first thought about running for mayor in 2014 when a large apartment complex was being built near his home.

“I participated in a lot of those planning commission meetings at the time and I felt like we weren’t being listened to. I felt like there were a lot of concerns that were being dismissed,” he said.

“I remember one meeting in particular where a lot of residents stood up, but the planning commission ended up voting for something directly in favor of the developer. I came home and told my wife, ‘I think I’m going to do this.’”

While his wife initially said no to the idea (she said he didn’t look like a mayor), Bradburn said she eventually came around to the idea and supported him throughout the election, along with their four kids. Even though their kids are young (ages 2 through 9) Bradburn said they even helped him canvas neighborhoods during the election.

“There were a lot of days during the summer when it was hot and I’d get home from work and I’d tell them we have to go knock doors. I really wanted it to be a family experience because I think it’s good for my kids to see that you can work hard, have a goal, and you can achieve it, but it’s going to take some effort. It was good for them to see,” he said, “but there was a bit of whining.”

Bradburn focused his campaign on issues like slowing growth and development in Sandy, cutting the city’s budget, making the city government more transparent and setting term limits for elected officials.

One of his proposals to make the city government more transparent and accessible is to live-stream the weekly city council meetings so people can watch at home. 

“People want to be engaged with local government and the best way to do that is to bring it into their home and make them aware of what’s going on. Technology has come so far. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be taking advantage of simple things like being able to watch from home, ask questions from home, or go back and watch it later.”

Bradburn also hopes to cut a lot of what he called “wasteful” spending by the previous administration. His campaign website cites things like golf tournaments, office lunches and bonuses for executives in the mayor’s office that he wants to cut. 

Instead, Bradburn’s website says that he will “eliminate all bonuses for the mayor’s office,” “will eliminate the slush fund for entertainment and travel” and “will require a 10% cut in non-essential budget items before any new spending projects can be considered.”

Bradburn said one of the biggest challenges of the campaign was to point out the problems he saw in the current mayor’s office without seeming like he was attacking anyone personally.

“The nature of being a challenger in a political race is I can’t come in and say that Sandy is the best run city, but vote for me over Tom. Everyone will just vote for the guy that made it so great,” he said. “So you have to come in and say, yes Sandy is a great city, but here’s some areas where we can improve and I think I’m the person with the ideas and skillset to make that happen.”

“That was a real challenge,” he said. “Making sure we got that message across without being overly negative and people thinking that we were attacking them.”

Bradburn said he hopes Sandy residents will be patient with him when he takes office in January. “Mayor Dolan did a tremendous job, so it’s always intimidating to try to come in and fill someone’s shoes. He earned a lot of respect from people and I can’t just earn that same respect overnight, so I hope people give me the benefit of the doubt and give me time to adjust and adapt.”  

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