Mike Winder: Hooray! We survived Election Day and even pulled out a victory. I am so grateful to the many people who made this campaign a success. Grandma Gwen Winder's garage was "campaign headquarters", and she was great to put up with hundreds of yard signs there for months. Mom (Sherri) and Dad (Kent) were the volunteer coordinators, getting people and supplies together for numerous honk-and-waves and placing hundreds of campaign signs throughout the 35 square mile city of West Valley. Councilman Corey Rushton was a terrific strategic advisor throughout, and Rep. Ron Bigelow was a stellar finance chairman. Sen. Karen Mayne and Lila Wright, my two other campaign co-chairs, were also very helpful in spreading the word and building support for the race. My sister (Aimee Newton) helped with some of the media relations. Many other volunteers, neighbors, family and friends also played key roles in helping the campaign build and keep momentum.
My kids were good sports through it all, even helping with a simple honk-and-wave at the end of our street on election night. But most of all, I am grateful to Karyn, the next First Lady of West Valley City. She has been phenomenal at keeping our household running smoothly throughout the campaign chaos, and has been my rock and anchor throughout all the stress. This is not my victory, this is a team victory, and I appreciate all the members of the Winder for Mayor Team.
A campaign wouldn't be complete without a worthy opponent-the loyal opposition. Before this began I merely knew Kevin Fayles' name and who he worked for. In the recent months I have come to know Kevin, and my respect for him continues to grow. He is a class act and a true gentleman, and also sincerely passionate about making our city a better place. In many ways, it is difficult to run against such a likable guy, but I know that I will be a better mayor for having had the experience to learn from him and be sharpened by him.
Kevin's wife Wendy is a dedicated workhorse, and I know toiled endlessly for the cause. She, too, cares deeply about our city, especially the young people in our community. The children of Kevin and Wendy Fayles should be incredibly proud of the fine people their parents are, and should appreciate how well respected they are by so many in our city, including myself.
At the end of this experience the best words I can use to describe what I feel is genuine love for people-for the many, many good people who make up our city. For the great campaign volunteers who donated time and money to see my election; for the good people in the camps of the various candidates all intent on improving our city; to the many people facing challenging times who need an advocate to make sure their community gets a fair shake.
On election night, Kevin approached me with his gracious congratulations and admonished me to lose myself in serving the people of West Valley. Well said, I thought. This is what public service is really all about. And isn't serving people and finding ways to make their life better why we are all in this business of politics anyway? Hopefully so. Best of luck to each of you, UPD readers, who are looking for ways to improve the lives of YOUR neighbors by shaping public policy.
Kevin Fayles: Well, I lost. Even though I figured winning was a long shot, it's still painful. But what a journey it has been!
I began my mayoral candidacy in April because I felt my professional and community service experience would benefit the residents of West Valley City. My campaign experience only confirmed that to me.
I feel pleased that I ended up with almost 24% of the votes despite being outspent more than 5-1 and going up against an opponent with almost insurmountable name recognition. (My wife, after noticing how close the other West Valley City races were, said, "I wonder what the results would have been if we'd been running against someone named Jones?")
If I had the chance to do it over again, I would. There are many things I have enjoyed about this campaign. It's been fun to knock and doors and meet residents. I've enjoyed meeting with city employees and officials. I've learned the nuts and bolts of running for office. And my wife has lost five pounds without even trying, although she's not sure if it's from the stress or the endless walking.
There have also been some things that were not enjoyable. The other day as my wife and I were getting ready for another round of door-to-door campaigning, I was sitting with one foot in a bucket of cold water and an ice pack on my knee, while she was taping four of her toes. We just looked at each other and said, "This is really pathetic."
Probably the hardest thing about this campaign was seeing the emotional toll it took on my wife when she would call friends to ask for their help and get turned down. Or when someone kept repeatedly destroying the campaign signs we had posted on our fence and our neighbor's fence. (Actually, that didn't make her sad-it made her angry. So if you were the one who did it, I recommend moving out of state before she finds out.)
I think being on the receiving end of rocks, fruit and insults as a young missionary helped me not take disappointments quite as personally. In any political campaign, one has to decide how to respond to setbacks and challenges. My wife's response was to cry it out, eat chocolate, and lose herself in "Castle" every Monday night. My response was to "get back on the horse." For example, the day after the disappointing Primary results, I did an early "honk and wave." This brought me back to being mentally focused and hopeful.
In October, I sent out my first mailing to the 4600 households most likely to vote. In hindsight, I wish I had mailed something before the Primary, especially to the absentee/mail-in voters. I did not reach many of these voters so I think they voted for my opponent more because they knew his name versus making a choice based on our backgrounds and experience. Overcoming my poor results in the Primary was very difficult. Still, hope springs eternal -even when running against a Winder in West Valley City!
Will I run again? I don't know. What I do know is I care deeply about West Valley's future. For the sake of the city and its residents, I hope our new mayor and the City Council will not be afraid to make hard decisions, versus politically expedient ones, when it comes to positioning the city for the future.