This month, we met with Larry Mullenax and Jeff Kooring of the Utah State Fairpark for our West Side Spotlight! Larry is the interim Executive Director and Jeff is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Utah State Fair Corporation. As we have previously reported, this was a very successful legislative session for the Fairpark. With the help of the Fairpark Community Council and other west side leaders, legislation was passed that effectively resolved the lease issue, made changes to the governing structure and appropriated funding for deferred maintenance. One positive piece of the legislation is that the new Board overseeing the Fairpark will include a member who lives in the neighborhood who will represent the viewpoint of the community. The City and State have shown serious commitment to keeping the Utah State Fairpark where it is for years to come.
“This summer, we are looking forward to lots of fun events at the Fairpark, in addition to the Fair in September (9/8-18),” said Mullenax. Kooring added, “We’ve got great events coming like the Artists Blacksmiths Association of North America biennial conference which will have thousands of international metal artists, educational events and markets (7/13-16). The Vans Warped Tour (7/30) is coming back and will bring thousands of concert goers. The Utah Beer Festival (8/27) will move from Washington Square to the Fairpark this year and the proceeds will benefit the Utah Humane Society.”
Representative Sandra Hollins, D-District 23
Fairpark Gazette: Thank you so much for sitting down to visit with The Gazette! What would you like to tell the residents of Fairpark?
Rep. Sandra Hollins: First, thank you for having me! Well, let’s start by talking about voting. I just want west side residents to know that this is a very important election and I want them to come out and vote because their vote equates to their voice. I saw it in the mayor’s election and I want to make sure they show up for this election as well. I was so proud during our caucus night. I was very proud to see the lines and the amount of people who came out for caucus night, and so I want make sure those same people come out to vote. I want to make sure that those who aren’t registered to vote get registered and that their voices are heard. We could really turn this state people! There are so many democrats and if you count all the democrats who think their voices don’t matter, and they get together, you find it DOES matter. When I’m out campaigning, I hear of so many people who say, “I don’t vote because I don’t think it will make a difference, and it does make a difference. It makes a HUGE difference!” One of my concerns is the number of young people who have no interest in voting, but I noticed in the last caucus night the number of young people who are excited about this presidential race and who are out and interested in politics, which gets me very excited about politics. I met a number of young people who have never voted before who said this was their first time participating in the political process. I met a young man who was a refugee and he got his citizenship last year. That this was his first time to vote. And not only did he register to vote, but he became a delegate! He came and sat by me and we talked and talked. He had a lot questions about the process and what needs to be done, and who’s running… He was just so curious. He just jumped in with both feet! I loved that.
FG: We just made it through the legislative session. We didn’t have a lot of wins, but one of the things we were happy about was the Fairpark Bill coming out.
Visit Representative Hollins Legislative website here.
“We all have a story, and America loves stories — stories of success, humbleness, working hard. I am the epitome of the American dream. It doesn’t mean I’m a rich guy, on the contrary, it means that the more I have, the more humble I become.”
As a 30 year resident of Utah, Jorge Fierro has become a respected leader in both the Latino and business communities and is a proud homeowner in Fairpark. We were able to sit down with him for our February edition of West Side Spotlight. Jorge serves our community on several non-profit boards including Locals First, the River District Business Alliance, and the Burrito Project. He is very proud of the fact that volunteer members of the Burrito Project have been delivering hand rolled burritos to the homeless for over four years. Jorge is also on the board of the Lowell Bennion Community Center for the University of Utah, the Utah Microenterprise Note Fund, and American Heart Association Go Red Por Tu Corazón. “This is a cause that I’m very concerned about. Latinas are dying and we need to do something to raise awareness,” he said.
“One of the things I love about living on the Westside is the diversity. I LOVE how diverse it is. It makes me feel comfortable, like home,” he said. Jorge is very passionate about ensuring that the Latino population on the west side is involved.
“I would like to specifically tell the Latino community that the main reason why I’m so involved in non-profit organizations and volunteering projects is because we Latinos need to be MORE involved in our community. This is OUR community. Even though we may not have been born here, this is where we live; this is where our kids go to school. We NEED to take care of our community. In the morning when we wake up, we wake up here; and at night when we go home, we come home here. This is our home and we need to take care of it. I’m always looking for a place where I, Jorge Fierro, can make a difference. There is always more to be done. America has offered and given me so much. What I do, I do it because I have to share the success and I feel very strongly about making sure there are no injustices that happen and that everyone has a fair shot to a good life and a good education.”
We couldn’t agree more!