POLITICS

Utah County Elects First Female County Commissioner

Apr 24, 2021, 8:31 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2021, 11:09 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Members of the Utah County Republican Party have elected Amelia Powers Gardner to fill the vacated seat on the Utah County Commission, making her the first woman in history to serve in that position.

It was announced Saturday afternoon that Gardner, who currently serves as the County Clerk/Auditor, won 54.7% of the vote in the special election, beating out eight other candidates.

“I’m really excited to get to work,” said Gardner. “I’ve worked at the county for several years now, so I know the scope and I have a lot of ideas.”

Results of the special election for the vacated seat on the Utah County Commission. (Utah County Republican Party Facebook)

Pending official action by the county’s board of commissioners, she will fill the seat vacated by Tanner Ainge, who left the position in March after he accepted a job on Governor Spencer Cox’s Economic Development Board.

“I’m beyond grateful for the support that we’ve received,” Gardner said in a press release.

She went on to say the results were overwhelming and she thanked every volunteer and supporter for the work they did, adding that it was a team effort.

“Utah County is really home to some amazing women, some amazing trailblazing women — former speaker of the house, Becky Lockheart, Congresswoman Mia Love and our current Lt. Governor Diedre Henderson,” she said. “Just the idea that I’m joining the ranks of them is really overwhelming and exciting.”

She joins commissioners Bill Lee and Tom Sakievich at the table.

“I’m really excited to show the young women of this county that a millennial and a woman has a seat at the table with everybody else,” said Gardner.

Gardner was coming off a rocky month that called into question her behavior as County Clerk/Auditor, following allegations that she harassed a former employee over his sexual orientation.

Gardner said the former employee is a close friend and they have moved on.

“My friend and I and human resources, we absolutely worked that out, and I used that as a growing opportunity and as a learning opportunity,” she said. “I’m one who believes that once we stop growing and stop earning, we stop living, so I really embraced this opportunity to do better, to learn better. I recognized the difference between a personal relationship and letting that flow over into the workplace.”

Gardner said the first thing on her agenda is addressing growth in the county.

“I want to start creating a strategic plan for the county to work with Silicon Slopes and the Chamber of Commerce, the universities and the state, get UDOT involved and recognize that at the rate we’re growing, we’re going to be the largest county in the state in about a decade and a half,” she said. “So let’s start preparing for that now.”

Lt. Governor Diedre Henderson also tweeted her congratulations to Gardner.

Gardner will hold her appointment to the County Commission until the term ends in 2022.

During the virtual convention Saturday, the Utah County GOP also elected new leadership:

  • Chair: Skyler Beltran
  • Vice Chair: Mac Sims
  • Secretary: Karen Ellingson
  • Treasurer: Kirby Glad
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Utah County Elects First Female County Commissioner