Erin Mendenhall is the Mayor-elect of Salt Lake City. She is a two-term city councilwoman, chair of our state’s Air Quality Board, co-founder of Breathe Utah, and vice chair of the Utah Quality Growth Commission.
Erin Mendenhall decided to enter public service 13 years ago when she learned that the air quality in Salt Lake City was so bad, it could take two years off the life of her newborn son. Instead of walking away, Erin decided to get to work.
She joined Utah Moms for Clean Air and started as an activist, soon recognizing the potential in moving from activism to having a seat at the table where decisions were made. Erin was determined to bring scientific understanding to air-quality discussions in the state legislature, our schools, and our community.
Erin co-founded a new non-profit organization, Breathe Utah, in 2010 and shifted from advocate to leader. Breathe Utah has created long-term change by teaching tens of thousands of Utah students about the importance of air quality, and how they can play an active role in improving it.
After being appointed to our state’s Air Quality Board in 2014, Erin was elected and re-elected as its chair. The Board is the state’s top air-quality regulator, working to balance Utah’s growth and development with the protections for the air we breathe.
Air quality is the lens through which Erin views every issue. No one will work harder in City Hall to clean our air, and no one is better qualified to deliver actual results for our city.
Erin has represented District 5 on the City Council since 2013, serving the Ballpark, Central 9th, Liberty Wells, East Liberty Park and Wasatch Hollow neighborhoods.
She has worked hard to earn a reputation as a policy wonk, ready and eager to get into the weeds of an issue, roll up her sleeves and get to work.
Erin scoured the city budget to find $21 million for an innovative affordable housing partnership program. The program incentivized private developers to include affordable units in their housing projects, and is on track to result in produce over 3,000 new units of affordable housing in the city. Erin and her Council colleagues also found an ongoing funding stream for the Housing Trust Fund, which, as a result, has built, renovated, or converted another 833 units in just the last three years.
Erin’s work on the Council is why there are twice as many road crews fixing our badly neglected streets today. She also led the creation of the city’s first women-only homeless resource center and expanded bus routes in the city.
As chair of the City Council in 2018, Erin stood up to state leaders who stole the city’s tax revenue and land-use authority to build an Inland Port in the city’s Northwest Quadrant. She reopened negotiations with state leaders and won valuable concessions to protect the city’s health and long-term interests.
Erin has a vision for a better Salt Lake City: one with cleaner air, stronger neighborhoods, and wider access to economic opportunities for all its residents. She will work hard to make it easier and more affordable for residents to calls Salt Lake City “home.” She will build a tech ecosystem in the city so innovative, high-paying jobs stop slipping away to the Silicon Slopes, and she will make it easier for residents in every neighborhood to access the opportunities, the services, and the resources Salt Lake City has to offer.
Erin has lived in Salt Lake City for more than 20 years and she knows how important it is for the community to work together. She has cultivated deep relationships with the heads of our community councils and leaders in the business, academic, and faith communities.
Erin earned a bachelor’s degree in gender studies and recently earned a master’s degree in science and technology, both from the University of Utah. She and her husband, Kyle LaMalfa, are the proud parents of three children, Cash, 13, Everett, 9, and Milå, 3.