Salt Lake City Council makes leadership change in new, diverse era

The exterior of the Salt Lake City and County Building on Sunday, Oct. 24. Members of the Salt Lake City Council elected Dan Dugan as the chairman on Tuesday.

The exterior of the Salt Lake City and County Building on Sunday, Oct. 24. Members of the Salt Lake City Council elected Dan Dugan as the chairman on Tuesday. (Carter Williams,

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SALT LAKE CITY — There's a new top dog within the Salt Lake City Council, as Utah's capital city enters a new and more diverse era in 2022.

Members of the Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday voted to make Dan Dugan the new council chairman, replacing Amy Fowler in the role. Darin Mano was elected the council's vice-chair. Dugan represents District 6, which includes areas by the city's east bench, while Mano represents District 5 and areas like the Ballpark neighborhood.

The council rotates chairs every year. Part of the responsibilities includes running all council meetings.

"I would say congratulations to both of you. I look forward to a year of not being in leadership, and passing the baton on to you," Fowler said, cracking a smile before the council voted on the measure.

The leadership changes also came a day after Mano, Fowler and three other members of the council were sworn in for their current terms. Mano was sworn in to his first full term, while Fowler was sworn in to her second.

Victoria Petro-Eschler, representing District 1, was originally sworn in in November to close out the final weeks of James Rogers' term after he resigned last year. Alejandro Puy was sworn in for the first time Monday to represent District 2. Both districts cover neighborhoods on the city's west side.

Chris Wharton, representing District 3, was sworn in to his second term. His district includes Capitol Hill and the Avenues.

The shift in seats ushers in the most diverse council in city history. The 2022 council includes a majority of members of color and members who identify as LGBTQ.

"I'm an immigrant with a thick accent, but I feel like I'm a son of Salt Lake City and the west side," Puy said after taking the oath of office Monday.

Over one-third of the entire population of Utah's largest city fall under race and ethnicity categories outside of "white alone, not Hispanic or Latino," according to the Census Bureau. The agency does not have data regarding sexual orientation.

But Salt Lake City Councilwoman Ana Valdemoros, one of just two members whose seats weren't up for election last year, said she believes the council's diversity is symbolic of the changes residents want to see in their representation.

"Having such a diverse council, specifically people of color, was a wish that came true sooner than I had ever dreamed possible," she said. "(It) shows how the constituencies desire to be represented by people that look like them and share similar experiences like them is important. I look forward to 2022."

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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for


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