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South Valley Journal

LIVE with the Mayor: a new way for Riverton residents to stay informed

Oct 01, 2018 04:39PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Mayor Trent Staggs’ new LIVE with the Mayor feature will bring a different community leader in for a 30-minute livestream interview each month. The first guest? Congresswoman Mia Love.

By Mariden Williams | [email protected]

In keeping with Riverton officials' campaign to foster engaged and informed residents, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs has been dramatically increasing the city's official social media usage, most notably through use of Facebook's livestreaming capabilities and the production of numerous informational videos. 

It started with the Mayor's Minute, a weekly one- to two-minute video where Staggs gives residents a quick briefing on current city events. But August also saw the introduction of LIVE with the Mayor, a longer 30-minute interview between Staggs and a local leader, livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube to all the city's followers. 

"We hope to do one per month with a business or community leader to talk about issues that might impact or be of interest to folks here in Riverton," said Riverton Communications Director Casey Saxton. 

"We've been doing mayor's minutes for the last few months,” said Staggs, “and we felt like it would be a great idea to invite some business and community leaders into the mayor's office and just have a conversation about some of the things they're doing and how they might impact all of our residents." 

The very first guest to be LIVE with the mayor was Congresswoman Mia Love, who represents Riverton City and all the other residents of Utah's 4th congressional district. 

Love was elected to Congress in 2015 and served as the mayor of Saratoga Springs for four years before that. She has three children, ages 18, 15, and 11, who watch her every move on social media. "I told my kids I would be doing this, and they were like… 'Don't embarrass me!’” Love laughed on the video interview. "I guess it's better that they're watching me than anybody else in Washington." 

Prior to the interview, which took place Aug. 28, residents were invited to submit any questions or concerns that they would like Staggs to present to Love, a practice that will be continued with future installments of LIVE with the Mayor.  

In the 33-minute interview, Love and Staggs touch on issues ranging from budget issues and the homecoming of Riverton resident Josh Holt, who was held prisoner in Venezuela for two years, to the current bitter political climate in Washington.

"We see such a partisan divide right now,” Staggs said. “It's kind of interesting being an elected official in a city—it's a non-partisan election. But in congress, it's just vitriolic."  

Love agreed with this statement. 

"We need to get back to the place where we can say, 'Look, we disagree on specific things, and that's OK. We can talk about those things,’” she said. “Gosh, I disagree with my husband, maybe 50 percent of the time. He'll tell you that. But, you know, we have a family together. We love each other. We make it work. And that's what part of this is about. We're not supposed to have a single-party system. We're supposed to be able to debate and talk about different ideas. And maybe, just maybe, if we're able to have a conversation where two adults get into a room and they talk about what they’re for, maybe we'll witness American democracy at its best.”

Two adults in a room having a civil conversation is exactly what transpired in the first episode of LIVE with the Mayor. 

In fact, some residents thought that the conversation between Staggs and Love was perhaps a bit too civil, criticizing the interview as playing more like a campaign ad for Love than anything, and remarking that the questions they submitted—especially the numerous questions regarding why Love does not hold in-person town hall meetings with her constituents—were largely ignored. Whether this pattern will continue with future iterations of LIVE with the Mayor remains to be seen.