I don’t remember my childhood in much detail. Sure, I have scattered memories that vary in importance and clarity, but generally speaking, the reality is that my childhood was difficult, to say the least.
For example, I vividly remember the night I walked out of my childhood daycare into the cold, dark winter air. I remember jumping in the back of my mother’s beat-up silver Ford Taurus to sit next to a white paper box filled with trinkets and my award-winning Arbor Day coloring page that I I gave to my mother in fourth grade sitting on it, an unknown passenger and confusing for my 9 year old child.
On that unforgettable night, a single mother responsible for four young children was fired without warning or reason. Even as a 9-year-old who was all too familiar with desolation and financial hardship, the presence of this white box further raised the already brutal stakes for our little family. I still remember how my body and mind felt in that moment as the indescribable pain and worry emanating from my mother seeped into my little body. We rode in silence for what seemed a lifetime without a single word being spoken.
I tell this story because it’s not hyperbole for me to say that people like me aren’t supposed to run for office. In fact, people who grew up like me are statistically more likely to fail to graduate from high school, experience domestic violence, remain stratified in poor economic circumstances, and generally struggle to survive. access quality housing, food and educational opportunities.
So, today, I sit in my historic 133-year-old home, in the heart of our great city of Ogden, with sincere and humble gratitude for the countless ways our city has shown up for me.
I want to share with you some commitments that will remain true for me, regardless of the outcome of this November 21 election.
First: building community requires constant and contagious courage.
We must continue our efforts to continually build community in and throughout the City of Ogden in a way that it is visible and inspires others to action, especially when the issues we engage in are high stakes high and have very real impacts on the lives of our residents. In my years of experience in public service, I have countless examples of the ripples created in our community that have propelled positive changes of varying magnitude and impact. My story is just one of those examples. I believe great things happen in Ogden when people come together and that’s exactly why, as Mayor, I’m committed to putting the community back at the center of our local government.
Second: Creating connections changes life for the better.
Throughout this campaign, almost every conversation I have had demonstrates how each Ogdenite cares for those “in their own backyard.” We live in a city that gives more charitable money per capita than any other metropolitan area in the country. Caring for and connecting with our neighbors are not only essential to any thriving city, but they are inherent traits of Ogden City and traits that will endure long into our future.
Third: Preserving and protecting the character of our city begins and ends with you.
During our nearly year-long public campaign for Ogden City Mayor, I met the most incredible people. From Fred, a 93-year-old retired aerospace engineer whose 40-year career involved investigating Air Force accidents around the world. To Sharon, a grieving mother whose son died from a dose of fentanyl-laced heroin seven years ago and who has since played a leading role in our community on opioid use as a volunteer dedicated to this issue. These Ogdenites and their stories, along with the thousands of others I have learned from, should be at the center of every decision made here. It defines our character.
Running for Mayor of Ogden City with so many Ogdenites at my side over the past 11 months has been the honor of a lifetime. Ogden City and the Ogdenites who fuel this city with our ideas and passion have always been there for me on my journey to build a family, a career, a home, and ultimately, a community. The challenges our community faces today and those looming on the horizon will not be solved easily.
In my campaign kickoff speech, I shared the words of Ady Barkan, a disability justice leader who recently died from complications related to ALS. Ady said: “When speaking alone, my voice is weak. But when we come together, our voices resonate so loudly. Sitting in the backseat all those years ago with my siblings, my mother and the enormous weight of that white box, my voice was weak. In the decades since, my voice has grown louder and louder as our community consistently shares our message of getting back to the basics of good local government by putting people at the center, where we belong.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, our message continues to “ring so loud.” For this, I thank you and close this essay by sincerely asking you to vote for Mayor of Ogden City on November 21st. Please visit my website. TaylorForOgden.com for more information on how to vote, who I am and what our plan is for Ogden City, or call 801-332-9871 to speak with me directly. Thank you for your voice, your support and for your presence in this community.
Taylor Knuth is running for mayor of Ogden City.