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South Valley Riverton Journal

Meet Andy Pierucci: newest member of the Riverton City Council

Mar 08, 2023 03:43PM ● By Dylan Wilcox

Andy Pierucci was sworn in as the newest Councilman in Riverton. (Photo Courtesy of Andy Pierucci)

Andy Pierucci, the newest member of the Riverton City Council selected to represent District 1, says his background and professional experience have equipped him with the tools to help improve Riverton. Pierucci replaces Sheldon Stewart, who has accepted the position to serve on the Salt Lake County Council representing District 5, which covers Riverton, Bluffdale, Draper, Herriman, South Jordan and West Jordan.

“Sheldon represented District 1 on the council for 11 years. He has a tremendous impact on our city. He was a tireless advocate for his district. He was a tireless champion for economic growth, improved infrastructure, greater broadband access and efficient, transparent government,” Mayor Trent Staggs said of Stewart.

Among Stewart’s accomplishments are being able to oversee the creation of the Mountain View Village shopping center, the opening of a new Costco and increased internet access via Google Fiber within his district.

Now on the county council, Stewart said his focus was always on representing the southwest part of the valley. “As a Councilmember in Riverton I worked hard to build relationships with our neighboring communities. Using those relationships, I will be able to better represent and communicate those needs and advocate for the Southwest.”

On Jan. 3, Pierucci was sworn in to serve as Stewart’s replacement of Riverton’s District 1, which encompasses the western-most side of the city, to fulfill the rest of Stewart’s term which completes at the end of the year. Pierucci hopes to build upon the work that Stewart has done.

“Andy is a fantastic addition to the council…He has a wealth of experience and knowledge that will no doubt help keep Riverton a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Staggs said. Noting Pierucci’s experience in the city serving on various committees and commissions, the mayor continued, “Andy previously served as a member and chair of the Riverton City Historic Preservation Commission and member of the Riverton City Economic Development Committee.”

“Andy has an amazing history with our city,” Stewart said, recognizing Pierucci’s work with the committees and residents “has prepared Andy for continuing to support communication and transparency and understanding both our transportation and digital infrastructure needs.”

After he and his wife relocated to Riverton from Sandy eight years ago, he “wanted to get involved right away.” He saw the opportunity to serve as a member of the city’s Historical Preservation Commission and began assisting efforts in various projects with the city to ensure residents and visitors to Riverton understand the cultural and historical significance of the city.

“I feel it is important to help connect the community with the historical sites,” Pierucci shared. Through the Commission’s efforts, the Old Dome Meeting Hall as well as other prominent places have been better preserved for residents of Riverton.

Pierucci’s focus as a member on the Riverton City Council ranges from a variety of sectors – from economic growth to making government work for the people. “Andy states that his priorities for office include consistent engagement with the community, transparent government, fiscal responsibility and being responsive to the community’s needs,” Staggs said. 

Pierucci sees the unique position Riverton is in geographically, surrounded by other communities, and believes the best way forward is to “strengthen ties and communication” with Bluffdale and Herriman.

“I want to help Riverton become a leader in the state of Utah and develop relationships with neighboring communities,” Pierucci said. He has been able to strengthen ties with various community leaders in the South Valley area through his personable and level-headed approach to shared community issues. “All [decisions made by Bluffdale and Herriman] affect Riverton and affects my neighborhood. I hope my experience in the private sector and in the state will help forge relationships,” he added.

After speaking to some of his constituents and neighbors to gauge what issues are at the forefront of their minds, they shared their thoughts on what would help Riverton to improve. One such issue is reliable transportation. Pierucci says Riverton and surrounding areas would benefit more with enhanced transit services from the Utah Transit Authority. “Riverton gives a lot of money to UTA, but unfortunately we do not see any return on investment from it,” Pierucci said. 

Another issue is keeping up with the pace of growth. Considering that Riverton is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, Pierucci feels that the city can improve in its ability to plan, ensuring that all of the city’s needs are met. “Riverton is in a good part of the state, and one of the fastest growing regions in the state. We are completely built out. What does our future look like as a city? As we do zone and planning, we cannot be arbitrary and capricious about it,” he said. Pierucci wants Riverton to be a place where the next generation of residents can grow and thrive.

Spencer Kellis, a friend of Pierucci, describes him as a “personable guy.” Kellis, a longtime resident of Riverton, has known Pierucci since they moved into the area in 2015. 

“We knew Andy when they first came to the neighborhood eight years ago,” Kellis said. Kellis said that Pierucci has been involved in various positions in their local church helping plan activities for kids to young adults.

Kellis says that Pierucci is perfect for the current role because of his professional and personal experiences. “First, his educational training and background; Andy has gone to college and learned about public administration. The second is he has experience with working in the community as a volunteer and in a professional capacity. Third, he seeks to listen first and then act,” Kellis said.

Kellis actually ran a campaign to fill the seat that has been filled by Pierucci. When Kellis knew Pierucci was running, he was “relieved.”

“When I saw his name, I was relieved, because I knew that he was someone qualified to represent our district. We needed someone that has the experience and comportment for it,” Kellis said.

Recognizing the progress that has been made thus far, Kellis identified some challenges facing the district, namely the distinction of the district and its role in the city.

“I think Andy’s number one challenge will be the identity of our district. Our district sits on the outskirts of Riverton, and it will be important to make sure there’s cohesion with us and the rest of the city. Just to ensure the identity of the district can mesh well with the rest of the city. Another challenge will be continued growth and economic development happening in Riverton – to be able to analyze the growth that’s happening,” Kellis said.

According to Kellis, because this was a midterm vacancy, potential city council replacements are interviewed by the current sitting members of the city council. Two votes went to Pierucci and two votes went to another candidate. After a couple rounds of stalemate votes, Staggs was the tie-breaking vote.

Pierucci describes himself as a “fiscal conservative” which helps to guide what sort of economic policies would most benefit the city. He adopted this economic viewpoint during the 2008 financial crisis while he lived in Stockton, California, where he was born and raised.

He saw first-hand the detrimental effects of the 2008 depression in Stockton, which became one of the regions in the county that faced high unemployment. Even observing his neighbor at the time, who was the mayor, deal with the rippling effects of the financial downturn locally, struck a chord with him. “That experience has shaped my perspective of government and what government should be doing,” Pierucci said. 

As a result of the economic hardships being felt on all sides, city services suffered. Parks and community places were not able to be upkept, even basic civil services were lessened to an extent to stave off expenditures and protect pocketbooks already stretched thin. “The people expect a certain service,” he added. Given the current economic situation with inflation, Pierucci knows that there are constituents in his district that are having a hard time staying afloat.

“The decisions we make today can affect our kids. I want to ensure that our community can live here and afford to stay,” Pierucci said.

Kellis says the best way for the community to support its leadership and continue the progress being made is by being involved.

“Bring ideas and observations to the council members, to themselves directly. Find ways that are appropriate for citizens to be involved through committees. If you simply join a social media group and complain, it doesn’t really help. Join a committee and be proactive in volunteering with the community,” Kellis said.

Pierucci completed his bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Utah. He serves on the Utah Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and as a founding board member for the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association. Pierucci and his wife, Candice, a current Representative of the Utah House of Representatives from the 49th District, have called Riverton home since 2015.