Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker gave a lesson in civics and fairness to a group of students at Whittier Elementary School for his annual State of the City address on Wednesday morning.
Becker told the pack of fidgety fourth through sixth graders he chose them to hear his speech because “adults aren’t always the best listeners” and they might be a better audience.
“This city is yours,” the Mayor said. “I’m the caretaker right now. You will live and work here long after I’m done being Mayor.”
Becker spent most of his speech talking about fairness – something his young audience could relate to.
“How many of you have tried to be fair to a brother or sister, and they still felt like you weren’t being fair?” he asked. “Welcome to my world!”
Last year Becker spent his entire State of the City Address focusing on air quality, urging the Utah Legislature to take action or let cities take the lead.
“Air quality is not going to improve on its own,” he said. “We have to take action. Air is one of the few things that does not live in one neighborhood. I need your help. Pitching in to do your part is one of the best ways to clean up air.”
Becker also teased a new housing program for low-income residents that he plans to unveil in the next few weeks.
“We will make ruse housing is available for those who need a home. This program is important to me because it keeps people living in the city.”
Additionally, Becker said he would work with the Salt Lake City School District to make sure there are a number of school options for people who live downtown.
“Families will no longer have to move away from downtown in order to be closer to a school.”
As he closed, Becker challenged the students to take ownership of the future.
“Take pride in this city as if you were going to be mayor one day.”
Here’s video of Becker meeting with the media following the address: