Thursday, March 3, 2011

Get to know your reps - Jen Seelig

I sat quietly in a one of two striped wing-back chairs near a fourth story window that looked over the city. The air was clear by winter standards allowing Mount Olympus and other landmarks to be identified like a life-size "Where's Waldo" page. Another gentleman strolled into the opulent room, fresh from the house floor, speaking so quietly on his cell phone that his presence was soon forgotten. The room was well appointed though surprisingly small. In truth, I was actually impressed by its humble dimensions, recalling far larger and far less comfortable spaces within some of the larger homes I've been in.

After a few more minutes of library-like reverence the massive mahogany door, dividing me from the bustle of the House Floor, opened before a smiling Jen Seelig walked through. She walked through the collection of ornate furniture while telling her aid that she had a 4:30 appointment waiting in her office. I looked at my watch, it was 4:28.

We shook hands, she apologized and informed me we had about 5 minutes. I looked at my list of questions and began trimming off the fat. As a result some of the answers here have been paraphrased.

RPR: "What area makes up your District?"
Jen: "Basically it's west of I-80 and north of I-15 within the boundaries of SLC."

RPR: "And you're a Rose Park resident right?"
Jen: "Yep, I live on Lafayette. I've been there for hmmm... about ten years now"

RPR: "What brought you to Rose Park"
Jen: "You know, I liked it the first time I came through. I bought my first and my second house here. I like how walkable it is. I bought the first place with my friend when I moved here and when I needed a little more space I bought another house in the neighborhood."

RPR: "In the time that you've been here do you feel like the neighborhood has improved or declined?
Jen: "Well I would say improved because of the relationships I have with my neighbors. The longer I've been here the more people I know and interact with and that makes it better. So I would say improved"

RPR: "Do you see yourself an an ambassador of the West Side and if so, what message do you send to those you interact with?
Jen: "Sorry what?" (she stares at her phone for a few seconds reading something before dismissing it. - I repeat the question)
RPR: "Do you see yourself an an ambassador of the West Side and if so, what message do you send to those you interact with?
Jen: "Absolutely I do. I love my neighborhood and that's what I tell people all the time. Sure there are things like health disparities that I'm concerned about but as a whole it's a great place. I love my neighbors, I can walk to Chubby's (restaurant), Smiths, its great."

RPR: "Without elected officials or any structured political pull, what role does our community council play in the decision making process and is the system still relevant?"
Jen: "Actually, this is basically what my dissertation is on. I'd love to talk to you more about this when we have more time. As for being relevant I think its still relevant, it just needs to adapt maybe."
RPR:"So... broken but not obsolete?"
Jen: "I wouldn't say broken because that infers that it doesn't work. It works but it needs to adapt a little in order to be more effective."

RPR: "If you had unlimited funds and an army of workers what would you change about Rose Park."
Jen: "You know, I'd like to see more community shopping opportunities, like the 10th North and 9th West area. There is a little there but it seems like we could do more with that space.
RPR: Like restaurants or shops?
Jen: "Yeah, I mean, we have a few things already like Chubby's which I love, but as a community, we could use a few more options that are within walking distance.

Jen: "I'm sorry, I've gotta go."

I ask her a few more questions as I snap a few pictures and collect my things.

RPR: "Favorite movie?"
Jen: "Wow, man. It's been since December that I've seen one."

RPR: "Trib or Des News?"
Jen: "Trib"

We both stood up, she shook my hand, said thank you, and escorted me through a few corridors I could no sooner find again if I had to. We soon reached an elevator which presumably led to her next appointment. I looked to my right amidst a sea of white marble and found the stairs I walked up on my way in. I said thank you once more as I walked away, listening to the nearby conversation of three men as it echoed off the walls. The man in the middle was Governor Herbert.

Watch for our next installment of "Get to know your reps" in the months to come. I wonder who the next one will be?

Photo Credit: Kevin Rogers

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