Meet Councilmember Claude Wells
Feb 05, 2020 01:04PM
● By Kirk Bradford
Troy McDougal, Claude Wells and Sheldon Stewart sworn into Riverton’s City Council Jan. 6. (Kirk Bradford/City Journals)
By Kirk Bradford | [email protected]
Riverton residents elected Claude Wells to the City Council as a representative for District 5.
Wells joined the city council and was sworn in during the annual Oath of Office ceremony during the Jan. 6 regularly scheduled meeting. Wells was joined by Troy McDougal, also new to the council and Sheldon Stewart returning.
“I grew up in the Millcreek area but have lived all over the valley for most of my life,” Wells said. “I went to Olympus High School and studied business and economics at Westminster College and the U of U.”
Wells continued his education through the study of federal acquisition regulations at George Washington University, which is a government program for defense contractors. Wells spent most of his career in flight simulation and its navigational equipment before moving into management.
Wells was president of the local Rocky Mountain Region for the American Fence Association as chairman of fundraising and is currently on the membership committee for the Rotary International (South Valley Rotary) Community Charity Organization. Wells’ passion includes classic automobiles; each year he participates in two local car shows.
“I am self-employed and was regularly attending the council and commission meetings as well as other community events,” he said. “I was already heavily involved in community events, experienced through working on a mayor political campaign and got to know some city leaders. Neighbors in my district asked that I run to fill a seat where the council member incumbent was not seeking reelection. After three tries, I finally agreed because I love and care what happens in our community. I wanted to help shape the future in our city with controlled growth and smart development.”
Wells is happy with his current position.
“I don’t have any future political aspirations, but I didn't to start with either,” he said. “I wanted to serve because I have the time to serve the citizens of Riverton City and district five. I consider myself a public servant rather than a politician.”
In the short time Wells has spent working with the council, he expressed how much he enjoys continuing to talk to residents and “working with city leaders on new initiatives, improvements on infrastructure and economic development.” The continuous learning curve is also something that he finds although difficult at times, it is something he enjoys.
Wells said there are satisfying and challenging parts of the job.
“It’s hard to please everyone,” he said. “It can be a thankless job at times. People don't have any idea on how much time elected officials and city leaders and employees put in to help their city. I do enjoy getting to know all the city resources and talking to business owners and how we can help them succeed. I like learning history from long-time Riverton residents and also like promoting good businesses in our city.”
Wells said the areas he feels Riverton needed attention and improvement include the city’s infrastructure and the need for upgrades, cleaner water and improving the recycling methods and process.
“We need smarter development to help increase sales tax revenue base and better upscale restaurants and businesses to keep business in our city,” he said. “We need continued fiscal responsibility and accountability at all levels and city departments, water conservation, preservation of RDA area of our city and smart development of our Redwood Corridor based on input from residents on the Master or General City plan. We need better communication to our residents about hearings, changes and allowing more input from residents by walking the city talking to the people about what they want in our city. Active Code enforcement needs improvement.”
Wells enjoys his role as a family man too.
“I love being a father and grandfather and spending time with my family,” he said. “I’m very proud of my kids and family for the people they are and what they are accomplishing. We have five kids and three grandkids that live in Riverton or in the Salt Lake Valley.”
In addressing some of the major issues Riverton faces, Wells praised areas like Healthy Riverton and putting together programs for people with drug dependence, suicide awareness and other health programs in the city. Wells acknowledged the plans for teaming up with the state to have a drug disposal program of unused opioid prescriptions as well as those residents who are spreading the word about available city resources to help the residents or are volunteering to serve on committees help make an impact to help solve issues and be part of the solution.
Along with being with family, Wells enjoys being in the outdoors hiking in the mountains, walking and enjoying the family cabin. As automotive enthusiast, breaking away for a motorcycle ride or attending a car show are just a few of the ways Wells likes to decompress.
Wells gave more insight into being on the council.
“Most Council members work full time, although it is considered a part-time elected position,” he said. “The city council members all serve on additional boards to help manage different city, county and state entities. As a Council Member in an assigned district, you really represent all the residents. It is a non-partisan position, and that means Council members don't represent a political party but all of the residents. One Council member gets one vote on each issue. That is why it is important to work together with other Council members to work for the good for the good of our city.”