Shannon Ellsworth to take seat as Provo’s youngest City Council member

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Shannon Ellsworth stands outside of the Provo City Council Chambers on Friday, Nov. 8. (Preston Crawley)

Shannon Ellsworth will be the youngest and only female member of the Provo City Council come January 2020, according to election results.

She will be joined by Bill Fillmore, Travis Hoban and David Shipley as the council’s newest members.

Although Ellsworth was the only woman to win a seat, she was one of three running in this year’s elections alongside Valerie Paxman in District 4 and Janae Moss in the city-wide race.

In addition to being the only woman voted into the City Council, Ellsworth is also the youngest member. At 30, she said she is approximately 30 years younger than the average City Council member. She said this isn’t something that made her any less confident though.

“I was not intimidated,” Ellsworth said.

Ellsworth has worked and served in various departments throughout Utah including the Governor’s Rural Partnership Board and Provo’s Planning Commission. She was also the project manager and policy specialist for Slate County Consulting. She said her various job titles helped her prepare to take a seat on the city council.

Her motivation for running came primarily from wanting to give a voice to communities she felt were being underrepresented.

She said she recognizes that she may not be different from the majority of Provo’s population in terms of race and religion, but that she won’t let that stop her from being a voice for those who are different from her.

“I hope I can help populations that don’t look like me or go to my church,” she said.

Involving students in local politics is another priority for Ellsworth. She graduated from BYU with an MBA in April, and she cited a strong desire to include students in her work.

“We need young people to be involved,” she said. “I really believe (students) can make a difference.”

Robin Roberts, who ran against Ellsworth, said he enjoyed the campaign race. Despite Roberts’ loss to Ellsworth, he said there was no contention and he is content with the decision made. 

“I don’t think there was a bad candidate,” he said. “There (were) all good people running.”

Given Ellsworth’s age and diverse experience, Roberts said he thinks she will adapt well to her new position.

“It’s time for the young people to step up and do their thing,” Roberts said. “She’ll do a great job.”

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