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Shireen Ghorbani currently serves on the Salt Lake County Council as a member at large, representing every constituent in the county. Before taking on her role as a council member, Ghorbani ran an unsuccessful campaign for congress and lost a special election for Salt Lake County Mayor. Despite two failed runs for office, Ghorbani was dedicated to fighting for the future that she saw for her community and she ran for a third time, winning her current seat on the county council. Ghorbani is up for reelection this fall and after seeing her dedication to her constituents and addressing the issues that affect us, I feel confident casting my vote for her.

A People’s Politician

Ghorbani is the daughter of an immigrant and an addict, having the first-hand experience with some of the issues faced by members of our county. She felt compelled to run for office after seeing her mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer and realizing how the high medical costs from one diagnosis had the potential to financially destroy families. She felt that she could not let politicians shoot down solutions at every turn while their constituents were struggling to get affordable and accessible healthcare.

Though she lost her bid against Congressman Stewart, she knew that her ideas resonated with many in the community so she ran and ran again. Throughout all of this campaigning, Ghorbani was knocking on residents’ doors at all corners of Salt Lake County, listening to their ideas, and learning their values. For a year of her campaign, she spent six days a week going door to door, holding town halls and neighborhood gatherings, and engaging with her community face to face. Ghorbani learned our values, our common ground and our disagreements through a year-long, hands-on education.

Looking at her past and what she did to earn her position, it is clear that Ghorbani is someone who not only understands the issues we are facing as a county but has seen many of them first-hand. She has invested her time into learning who we are. I think I can trust a politician who has demonstrated such a willingness to listen and care for important issues.

A Local Focus

At a time when many politicians are still denying the reality of climate change — and the changes to our climate that are set to occur at a rate ten times faster than any change recorded in the past 65 million years — Ghorbani stands out as a politician willing to fight against climate change. Our planet is rapidly heating, presenting a challenge to the survival of some species and a huge danger to humans.

In a special for the Salt Lake Tribune, Ghorbani wrote about the possibility of a greener future for our county. She expressed the importance of making positive changes for our climate as well as how feasible those changes are. Specifically, she wrote about a plan developed by the House of Representatives that could help make positive change at the national level as well as a plan developed by the Gardner Policy Institute containing state-specific solutions to the climate crisis.

A bad environment has always affected Utah and Salt Lake County in a unique way. Polluted air gets trapped in the valley, creating unsafe breathing conditions for the residents of the county. Bad air can exacerbate health problems like asthma or heart disease, and some studies have shown it can even be linked to higher death rates among seniors. It is an issue that Salt Lake County residents take very seriously — Salt Lake City residents say it is their most pressing issue.

Ghorbani has shown her dedication to tackling this problem. Immediately after taking her oath of office, she jumped into a meeting and spoke on her support for bills that would address air quality in the county. Ghorbani has also listed the expansion of mental health and addiction resources as well as responsible growth as priorities. Utah has an incredibly high suicide rate, with suicide being the second leading cause of death in our state. Utah also has a rapidly increasing population. Salt Lake County, already the largest county in the state, is projected to have nearly 21% of the state’s population growth between now and 2065.

Ghorbani has demonstrated a commitment to making our community better from repeatedly running for office, to spending nearly a whole year knocking on doors, to focusing on the issues most pressing to our county. Her dedication to learning our values during a long campaign and fighting for them from the moment she took her oath of office has convinced me that she is a leader I can trust. I know she will fight for the values of my community and use her voice to keep us safe.


The post Cushman: Shireen Ghorbani for Salt Lake County Council appeared first on The Daily Utah Chronicle.

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