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Angel Castillo announces bid to become Ogden's 1st Latina mayor

Angel Castillo announces her bid for Ogden mayor on Monday at the Marshall White Center in Ogden.

Angel Castillo announces her bid for Ogden mayor on Monday at the Marshall White Center in Ogden. (Sydnee Gonzalez, KSL.com)


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OGDEN — Angel Castillo announced Tuesday that she is throwing her hat in the ring for Ogden's 2023 mayoral race.

The city planning commissioner and marketing consultant would be Ogden's first female and first Latino mayor if elected. This is Castillo's second bid to become mayor after failing to defeat Mayor Mike Caldwell in 2019. Caldwell, who is in his third term, was not available to respond to questions about whether he plans to run for reelection.

Castillo said her first actions as mayor would include right-sizing the city budget, cutting taxes within the first year and establishing equitable access to capital and home ownership.

"We have a minority-majority population in our Ogden School District. We have over 32,000 folks that are residents of this great city in Ogden that are Hispanic, Latino and those folks are not always given access," Castillo said at her campaign kickoff event. "I want to make sure that no matter where you live, what your zip code is, what color your skin is, what's in your wallet, that you have equitable access to capital and opportunity so that we all have the freedom to thrive, to breathe clean air, to make a good living and to pursue our dreams."

That message of equity seemed to resonate with Castillo's supporters. Grounds for Coffee co-owner Suzanne Dailey cited Castillo's views, such as with a lens of equity, as well as her "fresh" ideas, as things that earned her support.

"Angel is going to try to bring a fairness to everybody," Dailey said. "As a business owner I have seen how easy it has been for me, a white upper-middle class person, to conduct business, to get funding, to purchase our real estate, to do the things that we've needed to do and that I know other people don't have the same opportunity to do. I've benefited from the system, but the big picture for me is we're not creating a kind of society that I think is best for all of us."

Flor Lopez, an Ogden resident and coordinator at the Suazo Business Center's Ogden office, said Castillo has been an advocate for the small businesses with which she works.

"She is very fearless to raise her voice and say 'No, this is not correct,'" Lopez said. "She is an example for me and for others that it doesn't matter if you are Latina or another culture, if you imagine yourself doing something, you can do it."

Becoming the city's first female and first Latino mayor would be meaningful for Castillo. She confirmed her campaign will do outreach in Spanish to ensure that the city's Latino voters are included.

"You can't be what you can't see; representation matters. Little girls everywhere, no matter what the color of their skin, deserve to see women in leadership positions because we are capable, passionate, creative and result-oriented," Castillo said. "It is important that we have representation so children everywhere know that they can do anything."

Castillo will run against at least one other challenger, Taylor Knuth, who announced his candidacy Monday. Knuth has served on the Ogden Diversity Commission and unsuccessfully ran for the Ogden City Council in 2017. He currently serves as deputy director at Salt Lake City's Department of Economic Development.

"For 12 years now, I've worked in both my personal and professional endeavors to build a more inclusive, sustainable and engaged city," Knuth said Monday, according to the Standard-Examiner. "I'm running for mayor to ensure our city gets back to the basics — cultivating a vibrant community, focusing on creating meaningful connection with our neighbors and building the character in our young people."

The two candidates said their experience with poverty as children help shape their perspective. Both were raised by single mothers, who often worked two jobs to make ends meet. Castillo grew up in Chicago, while Knuth grew up in Utah.

Both Castillo and Knuth have served as community activists, advocating for the city to invest in the Marshall White Center. The community center is located in the heart of the city's historically Black and Latino community and is one of the only buildings named after a Black Utahn (Marshall White, a World War II veteran, mentor and Ogden police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1963.) But the decades-old building is in dire need of repairs and upgrades.

Knuth declined to comment Monday on the Caldwell administration's $240 million WonderBlock downtown development proposal. Castillo said she is not necessarily against the project but does not believe the city should be taking out bonds for a project that can't stand on its own without government subsidization. Both candidates stressed their desire to connect with residents of all backgrounds in a meaningful way.

More information about the candidates is available online, at taylorforogden.com and angel4ogden.com.

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Multicultural UtahUtah governmentUtah electionsUtahWeber CountyPoliticsVoces de Utah
Sydnee Gonzalez is a multicultural reporter for KSL.com covering the diversity of Utah's people and communities. Se habla español. You can find Sydnee at @sydnee_gonzalez on Twitter.

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