Buroker returning as District 4 councilmemberJan 03, 2022 03:42PM ● By Travis Barton
Riverton City Hall will have a familiar look in the council chambers. (File photo City Journals)
The Riverton City Council will look quite familiar in 2022.
Tish Buroker, councilmember for District 4 the northeastern portion of the city, is one of three returning elected officials this year after her, Councilmember Tawnee McCay and Mayor Trent Staggs all ran unopposed in the 2021 election.
For Buroker, it means entering her second term having initially won in 2017 garnering 53% of the vote. Running unopposed made for a different kind of campaign.
“This campaign was so much easier than the first time,” Buroker told the Riverton Journal. “I had many people ask me if I needed donations (which I didn’t) which did not happen the first time because no one knew me. The first time you run you really need to be all in financially and emotionally.”
She added it also helped writing articles for the city’s newsletter (found in the Journal) that allowed for residents to get to know her better.
“Many people stop and talk to me regarding the articles,” she said. “And I now know many more residents than I did the first time.”
Many of those residents turned out to vote for Buroker as well. In a race where she ran with no opponent, simply one vote would have won her the council seat. But almost 25% of registered voters still cast ballots.
“I was so pleased,” Buroker said of the voter turnout, noting one reason is due to the large number of seniors, “and historically seniors consistently vote.”
“However, I also believe it demonstrates strong support for the agenda I have championed,” she added. “If people have neutral feelings they are less inclined to actively engage in the voting process.”
The lack of candidates wasn’t limited to just Riverton. Taylorsville saw three incumbents of their four races run unopposed. South Jordan and Holladay both went two for three.
Buroker felt there could be a couple reasons.
“I believe that with such strong political emotions at the national level they have made residents more reluctant than ever to become actively involved,” she said. “And COVID has certainly impacted involvement in so many events from group exercise classes, church attendance, school attendance etc. Running for office has also been negatively impacted.”
Buroker even wrote about civic participation in the city’s November newsletter encouraging all residents to still vote quoting Thomas Jefferson who said, “We in America do not have government by the majority—we have government by the majority who participate.”
She took that one step beyond voting asking residents to contact their councilmembers to “let them know of your most pressing concerns or to share ideas for the coming four years.”
Each January, elected officials and city staff sit down for a strategic planning meeting (this year takes place on Jan. 22). Buroker solicited feedback from residents on some topics to be discussed in that meeting such as: maintenance or expansion of parks and trails, quality of the roads, the storm water system, or the city’s IT connectivity.
“These issues and more will continue to engage and challenge your elected officials and city employees,” she wrote.