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South Valley Riverton Journal

Elected officials start new year as former Councilmember Wells bids farewell

Feb 09, 2024 02:30PM ● By Travis Barton

Claude Wells represented District 5 for four years. (File photo courtesy Claude Wells)

Winners in the city’s November election were sworn into office Jan. 2 for the Riverton City Council’s first meeting of the year. 

Councilmembers Andy Pierucci, Troy McDougal and Spencer Haymond took their oath of office with each facing different circumstances to win their elections. 

District 1 saw Andy Pierucci elected to his first term after he was selected to replace former Councilmember Sheldon Stewart, who departed after winning a seat on the Salt Lake County Council last year. 

Pierucci initially took office Jan. 3, 2023—almost a year to the day prior to being sworn in again—before running unopposed for the District 1 seat. 

District 2 had one-term incumbent Troy McDougal run against challenger David Gatti, with McDougal squeezing out a victory 51%-48%, winning by 43 votes. 

In District 5, two new challengers vied for the council seat after incumbent Claude Wells decided not to run again. Spencer Haymond defeated Steven Winters with 62% of the vote to represent their district. Haymond was endorsed by Wells to replace him. 

But for Wells himself, who entered office a few short months before COVID arrived, he reflected on his time in office with a farewell message in January’s city newsletter. 

“I am humbled to have had the privilege to represent the great residents of our city,” he wrote. 

When first sworn into office, Wells told the Riverton Journal that neighbors asked him to run and after three tries he finally agreed because “I love and care what happens in our community,” considering himself a public servant rather than politician. 

In his message he described diving into different experiences, actively visiting all 32 water pump houses and participating in the first Citizens Police Academy. As well as doing a ride-along with the snowplows to “see what challenges our snowplow drivers encounter when cars are parked on narrow streets or in small cul-de-sacs” or watching Old Liberty “get built in the middle of the night to see what goes into building a road from scratch.”

Wells also highlighted no tax increases during his four years as well as participating in city events like the parade, rodeo, car show, serving breakfast during Riverton Town Days, countless ribbon cuttings and the city’s Veterans Day programs. 

When Wells was elected, he had two grandkids. Now there are 10 with eight under the age of 5. 

“I am grateful for the confidence residents put in me to represent their values and goals for our city,” he wrote. “There is a lot I will miss, but it is time for me to spend more time with our growing family.” λ