MEET BEN MCADAMS
Ben McAdams is the twice-elected the Mayor of Salt Lake County, a position he has held since January 2013.
McAdams is currently running as the Democratic candidate for Utah’s 4th Congressional District. As mayor, Ben brought Republicans and Democrats together to get things done like addressing homelessness, forming partnerships with the private sector to create jobs, raise salaries and improve education — all while managing a balanced budget. Ben will take these Utah values to Washington and work with parties on both sides of the aisle to support opportunities for all Utahns and find solutions to the nation’s challenges.
Ben will work with both parties to fix the Affordable Care Act, rather than just scrapping it, and he supports allowing parents to keep their children on their policies until they are age 26. He will oppose allowing insurance companies to kick people off for pre-existing conditions or charge women higher premiums. He will also work to lower out-of-pocket expenses and keep premiums down, including supporting efforts to ensure Medicare can negotiate with drug companies to lower medication costs.
Ben believes hard-working Utah families and businesses deserve a fiscally responsible government that is held accountable for tax dollars. Ben supports tax reform that makes the tax system simpler, fairer and more predictable. He criticized the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because it favored the wealthy over the middle class. In addition, it will add $1.5 trillion of federal debt over the next 10 years. Ben supports a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. It would require Congress stop running record deficits that burden future generations with debt they did not incur. As mayor, Ben balanced the budget annually — with bipartisan support — while keeping taxes low. He funded important public safety services; managed critical public health response; expanded parks, trails and open space; and offered countywide access to arts and cultural activities.
Ben believes education is the best investment we can make in children. He thinks every child should have the opportunity to achieve his or her potential — regardless of zip code or economic circumstance. Ben will work to provide equal opportunity to students. He supports access to financial aid through the U.S. Department of Education and wants more transparency and lower overhead costs. Ben led Salt Lake County in a first-in-the-nation partnership to enroll thousands of economically disadvantaged children in voluntary, high-quality preschool. By investing in early childhood development, county taxpayers got a substantial return on investment by avoiding future costs from student delinquency, pediatric health, drugs, gangs and incarceration. High-quality preschool closes the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and their financially stable peers. This leads to higher high school and college graduation rates. The county’s successful pilot program prompted the Utah legislature to expand the initiative statewide.
Utahns’ health and Utah’s economy are stronger with clean air, clean water and solutions to address climate change. Ben supports an all-of-the-above energy portfolio, which ensures affordable, reliable energy for Utah homes and businesses. This approach emphasizes increasing the supply of renewable energy, along with research and development of new technologies. As Mayor, Ben supported constructing energy-efficient county buildings; building infrastructure to support natural gas and electric vehicles; initiating trip reduction plans for county employees to reduce vehicle emissions; planning and building a county-wide network of safe, convenient bicycle routes; and pushing transit “free fare” days along with other initiatives. He partnered with the private sector and the state on projects like solar installations on county-managed facilities and public transit-oriented developments. Ben worked with numerous stakeholders for two years to protect Utahns’ drinking water while balancing recreation, transportation and the environment. He met with businesses, government, private landowners, and environmental groups to produce the Mountain Accord — a consensus plan for the Central Wasatch mountains. Ben has received a 100% rating from the Sierra Club and has been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters.
Ben thinks it’s time for bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. He wants secured borders, higher legal immigration, undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and more recognition of the important role immigrants play in the U.S. economy. Nearly 10,000 young adults in Utah have enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. These youths came to Utah through no fault of their own and are studying, working, serving in the military and contributing to the community. Ben thinks it’s past time for Congress to resolve the uncertainty they face. The approach Ben supports will strengthen and unite families and allow DACA recipients to continue building their futures.
Ben graduated from the University of Utah and Columbia Law School. He practiced law in New York and Utah. Ben was elected to the Utah State Senate in 2008, representing Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, and West Valley City. He and his wife, fellow Columbia Law graduate, Julie, and their four children live in Salt Lake City.