Our DMO of the Month is Dedicated to Development
At DMO, we get to see an unparalleled passion for public service in our members. Local Democrats are uniquely committed to making their cities better places to live. We also see a willingness to adopt new ideas, and fundamentally change how government is practiced. Our final DMO of the Month for 2014 sums up the year as a perfect example of this development mindset; both in transforming his city and in his approach to holding office. Meet Corey Rushton, Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem from West Valley City, Utah, and DMO of the Month for November.
Open government has become a key issue in our cities as technology generates new concerns about privacy, and what information officeholders owe to their constituents. Councilman Rushton supports efforts to increase government transparency. Rushton and the Council have defined a seven point transparency standard that exceeds the legal minimum. He also maintains a blog that details the workings of city government. Police assessment findings, population growth projections, and the cost-benefit of refurbished snow trucks are displayed for anyone to view. Even basic questions of how West Valley City’s government functions are explained in detail. This work can go a long way towards combating disinterest and cynicism on the part of voters. Rushton’s earnest interest in sharing his work shows residents that government is not shadowy and inscrutable, but something that everyone should be encouraged to participate in.
Councilman Rushton is also devoted to cultivating growth in his city. He takes a multi-tier approach, reaching out to every level of government, as well as the private sector, for funding and cooperation to fulfill West Valley City’s potential. He secured $11 million from the Federal government to build a highway ramp into the city, easing congestion and improving access. Rushton's term has seen new developments in rapid transit, pedestrian friendly parkways, and the flourishing downtown. The Councilman's approach also includes tackling crime; coordinating with Salt Lake City to fund a metropolitan forensics lab while promoting the city’s graffiti removal hotline. Development also means moving attitudes into the future, and Councilman Rushton supported a non-discrimination ordinance that safeguards against unfair employment and housing practices. Corey Rushton’s excitement about the future of West Valley City is palpable and easily shared, and his energy towards developing new infrastructure continues to pay off for citizens.
One of the most difficult tasks for municipal officials is how to best cooperate on shared interests with nearby municipalities and the state government. Rivers can easily present a problem, as anything upstream will naturally affect downstream communities. Councilman Rushton chairs the Jordan River Commission, which facilitates use, development, restoration, and preservation of the waterway. Under his charge, a list of best practices for managing the river’s assets was published and put into effect by governments up and down the river. While the Jordan River has been underutilized in the past, Rushton is a driving force to reclaim its recreational and economic value. Restoring and maintaining natural assets is an important part of fully realizing West Valley City’s potential, and Rushton’s efforts with the Jordan River Commission will provide a boon to future generations of his city and other river communities.
This November we take a look at the phenomenal work Councilman Rushton is doing in West Valley City. Committing to new levels of government transparency, expanding economic and cultural development, and taking full advantage of the natural beauty of the area, Rushton’s love for his home town is obvious. Our final DMO of the Month for 2014 exemplifies the heart of local government. We here at DMO look forward to all his future work, and to seeing how West Valley City grows in the coming years.
Corey Rushton was elected to the West Valley City Council in 2007. The Council named him Mayor Pro Tem, and he won reelection to his seat in 2011. Corey is the sixth generation of Rushtons to reside in the area, and his family farm won an Outstanding Business Award in 2003. A member of the Mormon Church, he graduated with a Bachelors in Political Science and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Utah. Rushton chairs the First-Tier Suburbs Council at National League of Cities.