Meet Herriman’s next city council memberNov 29, 2021 11:18AM ● By Justin Adams
Newly elected city councilman Teddy Hodges (pictured here with his family) will be sworn in at the start of the new year. (Photo courtesy of Teddy Hodges)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Beginning in 2022, Herriman’s second district will have a new face representing it.
District 2 includes many of the city’s landmarks, such as City Hall, Rosecrest park, “old Herriman,” as well as the stretch of 13400 South that constitutes much of the city’s commercial property.
The race was left without an incumbent after its current representative, Clint Smith, opted to run for mayor instead. Two Herriman residents stepped into the race: Teddy Hodges and Aly Escobar. Hodges, a regular at Herriman city meetings and local events, came away with the victory, garnering 69% of the vote.
Hodges grew up in Wyoming and spent most of his life there, until moving to Utah when he married his wife. They have lived in Herriman since 2010 and have two girls, ages 5 and 10. He owns his own solar energy company, but also finds time for an occasional light construction job as well as Santa impersonation gigs during the Christmas season.
Hodges said he has always been civically engaged, starting with learning the importance of voting from his parents. In college he was involved in political student organizations and after moving to Utah, was a delegate for the Utah Republican Party for a time.
Eight years ago he ran for Herriman mayor, in an effort that wasn’t quite as successful as his city council campaign.
“It was not something I was ready for. I didn’t make it out of the primary. I think I got 112 votes,” he recalled.
But he didn’t get discouraged. Instead, he decided to get more involved in the community. He began attending city council meetings regularly. He got involved with the Healthy Herriman committee and the Arts Council, using his construction skills to help design and build the sets and backdrops for many of the council’s productions over the years.
“I’ve put myself out there in lots of different situations and got to know a lot of different people.
I try to help where I see the need to help,” he said.
Hodges decided to run for office again—this time shooting for a council seat—because he didn’t like some of what he saw going on in the city.
“I saw the directions the city was going in and I didn’t really like it. I knew I had to run again. We need people who have the ability to make change. I think I have that, and I think voters saw that.”
So he launched a campaign that was much like himself: young, energetic and not afraid to have some fun. From his bright green campaign signs that prominently featured his iconic beard to friendly banter and cracking jokes in the Herriman Happenings Facebook group, it wasn’t the regular sort of overly-serious tone that many political campaigns take on.
For Hodges, running that kind of campaign—one that’s authentic to his personality—was the only way to do it.
“I figured, I was going to be myself. I’m going to be the same person today that I’m going to be tomorrow. If you pretend to be someone you’re not--it’s hard. I impersonate Santa during the Christmas season and after 2-3 hours of doing a gig… it’s exhausting. I can’t imagine doing that throughout my whole life,” he said.
But that’s not to say his campaign was just jokes and laughs. Hodges said his favorite thing about the campaign was being able to have in-depth policy-based conversations with Herriman residents, conversations he was able to have because he has been so actively engaged with all the city’s issues over the last several years.
“It was fun to get phone calls and know what you’re talking about because you’ve been in those meetings,” he said.
One thing that Hodges is looking forward to once he’s been sworn-in, is for the council to take a bird’s eye view of the city and the direction it’s heading in.
“I want to see us develop a clear vision and mission statement. We have some stuff like that from 20 years ago when we first incorporated, but I think it needs an update,” he said.