‘Freshman’ Mayor Dawn Ramsey—ensuring South Jordan always has a seat at the table
Oct 14, 2019 12:01PM
● By Jennifer J Johnson
By Jennifer J. Johnson | [email protected]
“My biggest accomplishment has been having South Jordan have a seat at the table—at a lot of different levels.”
Such is South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey’s seemingly rightful summation of a freshman term as mayor of South Jordan that has included everything from sharing stories on a dais with some of the most powerful women in politics and business at the National Governors Association meeting, to receiving honors from the governor at the state level and representing the city on nearly 20 boards, to playfully “outing” a resident crush from a young teen who has an image of her emblazoned on his skateboard.
The mayor has it right—the job involves communication on a lot of different levels.
Honing communication skills—yes, the college experience, but real-world experience
Communication comes naturally to this mayor, a woman who studied public relations at the collegiate level at Brigham Young University and who has spent much of her adult life in volunteer roles as well as, surely, what all are beginning to understand is the most challenging role requiring the best communication skills of all—as a parent.
In July, Ramsey was invited by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to represent Utah women as part of a high-profile panel. The panel paid tribute to the upcoming 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The 19th Amendment is what constitutionally provided American women the right to vote.
Ramsey shared how she had carved her unique way into leadership with the audience of governors across the country, their chiefs of staff and other high-profile, high security-clearance officials at the kickoff panel of the conference.
For the SoJo mayor, leadership in the home as first a parent and then as a highly engaged volunteer for the PTA gave her not just the connections but the problem-solving and communications skills that are serving her well as mayor of the 12-fastest-growing city in the county. It is also the fourth-best small city for business, and the city this year repeating as one of USA Today’s 50 best cities to live in.
Members of Herbert’s staff depicted the governor as saying Ramsey had “hit it out of the ballpark” and had done a more-than-honorable job representing not just South Jordan but the whole state.
More VIP connections
In September, Ramsey was again honored by Herbert—this time for SoJo’s receiving the inaugural Water Efficiency Award.
A month early, in August, saw Ramsey and other members of the SoJo City Council attending Vice President Mike Pence’s fly-by tour through Utah at the Merit Medical facility.
Ramsey, members of the city council and city administration all received clearance to attend the vice president’s speech at Merit, one of a few stops on Pence’s two-day stop to Utah.
“Mr. Lampropoulos and his Merit Medical team were the perfect hosts,” Ramsey told the South Jordan Journal. “As a city council, we are grateful for all those who work with and represent our community so well. It was an honor to welcome the vice president, the governor, members of congress and other elected and appointed officials to South Jordan. It is a rare opportunity for a community that isn’t the capital city and who has not had a disaster or tragedy, to receive such a visit.”
It is not rare at all, though, for SoJo’s first woman mayor to meet with VIPs on the national and statewide level.
One month after hosting the vice president and the cadre of state officials, Ramsey was a right-hand woman to Rep. Ben McAdams, University of Utah President Ruth Watkins and other officials as well as Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox.
All in one day, Ramsey was on a panel with McAdams, Watkins and other officials to address the Hinckley Institute about affordable housing and participated with the lieutenant governor as a core component of the “Declaration on Idle-Free Cities” event, encouraging the state’s newfound commitment to clean air with an anti-idling press conference on the Capitol lawn.
“These are complex challenges, but I’m grateful to represent South Jordan in these important conversations as we seek to improve quality of life for all Utahns,” Ramsey posted on Facebook.
The freshman at the head of the class
Cameron Diehl, executive director of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, knows a lot of mayors. In fact, Diehl works with elected leadership from 245 incorporated municipalities in Utah.
The ULCT has a created a video series, featuring a select few mayors, with SoJo’s Ramsey being among those “freshman” mayors profiled.
According to Diehl, 2017 represented “a historic turnover” in municipal leadership in Utah, with 75% of mayors and council members being “new faces.”
In recognition of this turnover, he ULCT “Meet the Mayors” video series features Ramsey, as well as freshman mayoral colleagues from Park City, West Jordan, Kaysville, Provo and Payson.
Diehl playfully refers to Ramsey as a “rockstar mayor.”
“She stepped into a city that was in transition and immediately put her mark on the city,” Diehl said. “In the case of Mayor Ramsey, she took office and hit the ground running.”
Less on the VIP side—more on the flip side
What came to light through the ULCT video is that Ramsey is often unintentionally hitting the ground—but more like grinding or gliding instead of running.
Showing her candor and playful side, Ramsey reveals to ULCT and YouTube viewers that a neighborhood youth seems to have a crush on her, having an image of her adorning the belly of his skateboard.
Perhaps that time of exposure to Generation Z voters will come to play in 2020, if Ramsey elects to rerun to continue as SoJo mayor.