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CEDAR CITY — Maile Wilson has been busy since being elected as Cedar City's first woman mayor.
At age 27, she may also be the youngest mayor ever elected in Utah. Wilson said she fell in love with city government while working for the city as a student at Southern Utah University. She earned a masters in public administration and then went to law school in North Carolina.
“The decision to run for mayor kind of went along with the fact that this is the community I’ve grown up in and have always been involved in, and now I have the background in government, policy and law to be able to better serve our community,” Wilson said.
She said she didn't think her age would be an issue, but that it was really wonderful to see a younger generation become involved in the election. Even parents of elementary students would come up and tell her their children were excited about the election, she said.
“It has been really rewarding that it not only got the city kind of engaged, but also got a younger generation and these little elementary kids realizing that there is an election, that this is how the process works," Wilson said. "Their parents go out and vote. There’s an option of who is in office."
Even though Wilson said the primary election was a little chaotic because she was busy studying for the Utah bar exam at the time, she loved the whole election process. She said she particularly enjoyed the opportunity it gave her to talk with people in her community about their concerns.
Running for mayor also helped her feel more connected to her grandfather, who served as mayor in Cedar City for two terms from 1966 to 1974.
“(I) always heard the stories about different things that he did, different things he was involved in," Wilson said. "Especially now, when I can look back and realize he went through an election night just like I did — he went through the campaigning, he went through the period between when you’re elected and sworn in — it’s neat to realize that although he isn’t alive right now I automatically have that connection of (knowing) he’s done these things that I’m now going through and experiencing.”
On election night she said she sat around a computer with her family and friends, waiting to see the results. After she won, texts and phone calls of support started coming in.
Wilson ran on a five-point platform focusing on economic development, city beautification, prairie dogs, water and the city's use of technology. She said her time working for the city as a student taught her that government was a career path she could enjoy while giving back to her community.
"With the city you just never know what will walk into your office that day," Wilson said.