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Sandy ‘awakening:’ The underdog who unseated the 24-year mayor

SANDY — Marie Bradburn mentioned when her husband first floated the thought of working for Sandy mayor — in opposition to the town’s longest-serving leader in historical past — she wasn’t precisely receptive.

“At first I said, ‘No! No one will take you seriously. That guy’s been there forever,'” she recalled.

“She said I didn’t look like a mayor,” Kurt Bradburn mentioned, chuckling.

The thought got here to him in 2014, when he joined masses of different Sandy citizens to protest a building off Highland Drive and 9000 South that will deliver high-density housing. Despite their efforts, the undertaking used to be authorized.

“We’d go to these meetings, but we just felt like we were being dismissed at every turn,” Kurt Bradburn mentioned. “The developer got every concession they asked for.”

“After talking with our neighbors who felt the same way, I just decided, ‘You know what, we don’t have to put up with this,'” he endured. “This is why we have elections.”

Over the subsequent yr and a part or so, momentum for the marketing campaign began to construct, Marie Bradburn mentioned, and through the time her husband introduced his candidacy in January, she used to be absolutely on board.

More than two years later, Bradburn at the age of 35 would beat six-term Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan, 74, with 58 p.c of the vote to Dolan’s 42 p.c — regardless of the 24-year incumbent mayor outspending Bradburn 10 to at least one, with $300,000 in marketing campaign money to Bradburn’s $30,000.

“It was very surreal,” Marie Bradburn mentioned of her husband’s win. “It took awhile to sink in.”

Sandy’s ‘awakening’

Preparing a snack for his or her 4 kids — ages nine, 7, five and a pair of — at their modest Sandy house on a up to date Monday after the election, the Bradburns mirrored on why electorate preferred a tender state legal professional over an established mayor.

Sandy 'awakening:' The underdog who unseated the 24-year mayor

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Newly elected Mayor of Sandy Kurt Bradburn and his spouse, Marie, get a couple of snacks for his or her 4 youngsters: Jack, nine, Sam, 7, Nora, five, and Will, 2, in Sandy, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.

Perhaps the marketing campaign signal wrap on his previous Range Rover became some heads as he drove round the town. Perhaps electorate liked his on-the-ground manner, for my part knocking on doorways and waving from the facet of the highway.

But maximum of all, possibly electorate have been charmed through an underdog taking over a formidable, 24-year entrenched management, uninterested in yr after yr of the established order, and pissed off with a surge of high-density building.

“The campaign — it became so much more than Kurt,” Marie Bradburn mentioned as she sliced an apple for his or her youngsters crowded round the kitchen desk. “Like it was much bigger than my husband versus the incumbent. It kind of became almost this awakening of a city that’s been asleep for a long time.”

Along the marketing campaign path, she mentioned she and her husband would get emails from electorate announcing, “I swore off voting years ago, but I voted this year because of you,” and “You’ve gotten me excited about local politics again.”

Bradburn mentioned it is as though her husband’s marketing campaign gave hope to these so pissed off with the present political local weather — each in the community and nationally — that they would develop into complacent.

“I think we reminded people of the democratic process — reminded them that you can change things if you want to,” she mentioned.

“I think it restored their faith in the system again,” Kurt Bradburn mentioned.


Bradburn comes from a modest background, no stranger to hardship.

He grew up close to San Francisco, the 2nd youngest of 4 siblings. He did not come from wealth — his father used to be a police officer and his mom labored at a neighborhood faculty district. At one level, his folks ended up submitting for chapter, leaving them not able to possess a house so that they have been steadily transferring from apartment to apartment, he mentioned.

Because he skipped first grade, Bradburn graduated from highschool at the age of 16. But that used to be additionally the similar yr his father died of a center assault, leaving his mom to beef up him and his siblings.

Sandy 'awakening:' The underdog who unseated the 24-year mayor

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Newly elected Mayor of Sandy Kurt Bradburn solutions questions throughout an interview at his Sandy house, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.

“It was a traumatic thing for me,” he mentioned. “I was the oldest one still at home, so it makes you grow up quick. I had to forego a lot of things that most 16 year olds get to do.”

Bradburn mentioned he had a few provides to play basketball for some small, Division II faculties, however he ended up turning the provides down to stick and assist his mom beef up the circle of relatives. He would spend the subsequent a number of years serving to her blank properties whilst he additionally performed basketball at a neighborhood junior faculty.

“That was sort of the end of my basketball career,” Bradburn mentioned, smiling.

Years later, whilst Bradburn used to be serving an LDS project in Chile, his mom moved to Utah, the place a number of of his siblings have been attending faculty. He’s since lived in Sandy for 16 years.

Looking again, Bradburn mentioned he is happy with his upbringing, running arduous to pay his scholar loans as he attended faculty at Brigham Young University and finished legislation faculty at Ohio State University.

“I learned sacrifice at a young age,” he mentioned. “It’s just been that way my whole life. Whatever I’ve wanted, I’ve had to work for it.”

Bradburn attributes his marketing campaign’s luck to that very same mentality.

“You really can make anything happen if you put your mind to it and work hard,” he mentioned. “This was really 10 months of us working our tails off to make it happen.”


After a long time of a “hyperfocus” on building, Bradburn mentioned he hopes to deliver a “refreshing” new standpoint to Sandy.

The mayor-elect considers himself a “moderate” Republican who values fiscal accountability but in addition strongly believes in civil rights and different social problems.

He mentioned he hopes to deliver extra “transparency” and “responsiveness” to the town govt whilst refocusing priorities round financial building, open house and neighborhoods.

“I want to have a long-term view of what we want the health and strength of our city to be,” he mentioned. “It’s not going to be overcrowded, burdened residential neighborhoods where no one can see anything but concrete jungles all around them.”

Bradburn mentioned he’s going to even be taking a look to “rebalance” the town financially, noting that for years Sandy’s basic fund has been padded with cash from charge will increase to application expenses slightly than Dolan and City Council individuals signing off on a assets tax hike.

“Our property taxes have been kept low artificially for a very long time,” Bradburn mentioned. “So in (Dolan’s) defense, the only way to keep Sandy afloat was to keep cramming more and more people and more and more businesses in Sandy.”

“At some point, we’re going to have to look at rebalancing our revenue stream,” he mentioned, including that he would possibly want to have a dialog with Sandy citizens on elevating assets taxes someday in the long term.

“I know that’s like shocking for a Republican to say,” he mentioned, however he added that the cheap that is predicated so closely on companies may just end up to be risky in more difficult financial occasions.

“I’m comfortable with having a conversation with my residents about raising taxes at some point,” he mentioned. “I don’t want to keep them low and have the only alternative as cramming stuff in wherever we can because it’s the only way we can stay afloat. That’s not what I’m about.”

Development has a task in Sandy, Bradburn mentioned, however “it can’t be the only thing we do well because eventually, it’s going to drive people away,” he mentioned. “There’s got to be balance in life, and right now I feel like we’re very out of whack.”

The mayor-elect additionally mentioned he is were given a “laundry list” of projects, from making City Council conferences extra obtainable thru livestreams, to a site the place citizens can observe lawsuits.

Bradburn additionally mentioned he plans to create a historical preservation committee to provide town officers extra concepts about keep neighborhoods.

“There are so many ways I want to get involved to make Sandy leaner, more efficient, more responsive and open,” he mentioned.

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