Cedar City voters elect first woman as mayor

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CEDAR CITY - Residents in Cedar City elected a new mayor Tuesday night, and made history.

Maile Wilson, 27, is the first woman elected to that office, and quite possibly the youngest the southern Utah town has placed there.

Wilson beat out challenger John Black with close to 56 percent of the vote. Unofficial results posted late Tuesday night have Wilson with 2,175 votes and Black with 1,685.

“When they posted them on the internet, we started getting phone calls non-stop,” Wilson said. “And everyone was jumping around and screaming.”

Wilson, a Cedar City native, said Wednesday it was still a bit of a surreal experience, even giggling when being addressed “Mayor Wilson.”

She ran on a five point platform of providing better government transparency through technology, increasing economic development in the area, continued efforts to deal with prairie dogs in the city, and expanding water and sewer systems to meet growth demands.

“I absolutely love government,” Wilson said. “And this is a way to give back to my hometown and serve the people.”

Wilson will start her term Jan. 1, 2014, and recognizes there are some big shoes to fill. She said while many voters she talked to were a bit skeptical because of her age, she’s proved to the majority that she’s got what it takes to run the city.

“Each mayor has something different that they’re passionate about, something different they bring to the table, “ Wilson said. “I obviously have something different than any of the previous mayors.”

Residents say it’s that young, female perspective that they look forward to seeing in action.

“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for this town to have someone who is young and fresh, and I think she’ll do a good job,” Cedar City resident Maladie Winters said. “I’m excited for her.”

“I think it inspires young people to be more involved in the political process, which is important,” resident Tom Jett said. “And I believe it inspires young ladies to be involved in the political process, which I think is equally important.”

Wilson said her family has been a major support throughout the campaign, and she draws support from knowing her grandfather, Loren Whetten, served as Cedar City mayor from 1966-1974. She said if he were alive today, she knows he’d be proud.

Wilson said she plans to take a few days and let the reality of the win sink in, but already has plans to meet with civic leaders and organizations to prepare for taking office.