‘An absolute honor:’ Jackson steps down to focus on health
May 21, 2018 11:27AM
● By Travis Barton
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
In what Alan Jackson described as “one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” he resigned from his Bluffdale City Council position on April 11.
Jackson, 49, was honored by the Mayor Derk Timothy and the city for his service during the May 9 city council meeting.
“I just love Bluffdale,” Jackson said. “It’s been an honor serving, and I wish I could have continued. I would have preferred to continue, but (these are) tough decisions in life.”
His difficult choice comes after 4 ½ years battling Lyme disease and being reelected for a third term last November.
Deciding in 2017 to campaign for reelection was already a hard decision for Jackson due to his “health and the challenges” he was having. But he hoped with his new treatments that they “would help [him] prepare and be able to serve.”
Unfortunately, he said, his condition worsened over the last few months, and it was time for him to concentrate his efforts elsewhere.
“I just have to focus on trying to get better and tackle that challenge in my life right now,” Jackson said, adding he still has hope in his current treatments.
Jackson’s wife, Tish, said it was an emotional time for her husband, but “family always comes first and his health. I’m very proud of him and all that he’s done.”
Urged by his friend and then-mayoral candidate Kim Fuller to run for city council in 2009, Jackson—a Bluffdale resident since 2007—had always had an interest in politics. Combine that with the city’s troubles at the time—council infighting, lawsuits—Jackson decided to run. “The city was in the news far too often at the time.”
Jackson arrived with two other newcomers: Timothy, who was elected as mayor (and still serves), and former Mayor Noell Nelson. All three replaced incumbents marred by years of council infighting.
Though Timothy defeated Jackson’s friend, the two came to be integral parts of Bluffdale’s growth over the past decade with a mutual admiration for each other.
“Mayor Timothy has just been amazing,” Jackson said. “He’s the right man for the job, that's for sure. We’re lucky to have him.”
Timothy was emotional as he presented a plaque to Jackson recognizing him for his eight years of service.
“Alan really brought a lot to the city,” Timothy said. “He's leaving it a lot too. I don't even know what to say, because you've been so valuable to the city.,”
He described Jackson as quiet, but “when he spoke, the things he had to say were meaningful, and they were really well-thought out. I believe Alan has been a very, very, very important part of our city and certainly an important part of our city council.”
Both Timothy and Jackson noted the amount of work and projects put into the city over the years. Jackson highlighted Porter Rockwell Boulevard, the developments and the schools that have come in over the past eight years as important matters he’s dealt with.
“It’s amazing, when we were elected there wasn’t one home in Independence (Village) and now you look at it and its crazy,” Jackson said.
Serving on the council can almost feel like a graduate program with the amount of information members absorb. Jackson noted how much he learned about city codes, state laws, bureaucratic process and the limited power of the city council at times.
But he emphasized his interactions with residents as being the most pleasant experiences. That includes the big issues such as meeting with neighbors around the Maverik gas station and the Smiths grocery store that never arrived.
“Those experiences will always be with me, and just interacting with the citizens has been great,” Jackson said.
Now the father of five children and two grandchildren (one of which was born in May), plans to focus on getting healthy and spending time with his children. But Jackson will always cherish his time serving the city.
“It’s been an absolute honor for me to serve on the council,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous blessing in my life. I think that’s what made the decision so difficult because I truly will miss it. I’ll miss the interaction with the council—amazing, amazing council—and staff. The staff is just the best the state has. Those are things I'll miss.”