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Kelleen Potter concedes Heber mayoral race to Heidi Franco

Kelleen Potter Heber City Leadership Mayor Debate Election 10-21-2021
Ben Lasseter
/
KPCW
Incumbent Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter participates in a forum at City Hall on October 21 ahead of the November 2 election.

Incumbent Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter has conceded the mayor’s race to challenger Heidi Franco.

Franco received 1,664 votes (51%) to Potter’s 1,598 (49%) on Election Day, a margin of 66 votes.

“Congratulations to Heidi Franco, Scott Philipps and Yvonne Barney for their (unofficial) victories,” Potter said in a Facebook post. “I just got an update about uncounted ballots and there aren’t enough to make a difference in my race. I called Heidi and we just had a great conversation about how I can help her transition effectively and I wished her the best of luck.”

According to Wasatch County Clerk Joey Granger, there are 44 county-wide provisional ballots yet to be counted, plus any that come in the mail postmarked by Monday. On Wednesday, only three new ballots arrived.

“I’m just happy that I had the opportunity for eight years to serve as an elected official in Heber City,” Potter told KPCW. “It’s been an honor, it’s been challenging, it’s been time consuming, but it’s been fascinating and really just has restored my faith in the people of this community, in the elected officials particularly, the staff - they work so hard. There’s just a lot of good things happening and a bright future for Heber City.”

Heidi Franco
KPCW
Mayor-elect Heidi Franco

Franco says she’s grateful for Potter’s support and happy that public engagement reached a new high in this election with many debates, media coverage and social media discussion.

“I think that this is the first campaign where the issues have been discussed with the most depth and the most information. It made me really happy that regular citizens could say ‘Wow, here are the real issues; what do I believe?’ I feel like they could make a really informed choice in this election, and that made me really happy. My whole goal was to really talk about the issues and show what I believed about them, and I feel like all the candidates could really discuss the issues and not just base it on personality,” Franco said.

The mayor-elect has two months remaining in her term as councilwoman. Besides those duties, she says she’ll do “a lot of listening” to prepare to take over the mayor’s office.

Franco said some of her first major tasks could involve planning the future of the Heber Valley Airport. Later in the next term, the city and Utah Department of Transportation expect to move forward with plans to alleviate traffic on U. S. 40 and Heber Main Street.

Current agreements between the city and Federal Aviation Administration require the airport to upgrade its safety standards for larger planes than it was built for, or pay a penalty and lose federal airport funding.

A major element of Franco’s campaign platform was that she’ll look for ways to make the airport self-sustaining. That’s in hopes that the city can avoid expanding airport protections to accommodate more air traffic.

Franco said she looks forward to diving deeper into all of the issues, not just the focus on water quality and responsible growth outlined in her goals as mayor.

Franco will take over as mayor at the beginning of 2022.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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