A Weber State University alumnus was elected mayor of Ogden Tuesday, defeating a fellow alumnus.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the victory,” said Mike Caldwell, the mayor elect. “It’s been a long six months. I mean, to be honest right now, we feel really tired.”
Caldwell, 40, will replace another WSU graduate, Matthew Godfrey — who decided not to run for re-election after 12 years of service — when he is sworn in as the next mayor of Ogden next January. He is currently the Weber County public information officer, and his opponent, Brandon Stephenson, has been a member of the Ogden City Council for the last seven years.
Caldwell defeated Stephenson with 61 percent of the vote. More than 7,000 Ogden residents voted, or 24 percent of the total number of registered voters.
Caldwell credited volunteers and a message that resonated with voters for Tuesday’s victory.
“We’re very, very happy,” he said.
Caldwell graduated from WSU in 1994 with a degree in communications. He spent part of his campaign meeting with WSU professors and administrators.
“I think Weber State’s a great institution, and I look forward to working with everybody there,” Caldwell said. “I think we’ve got some great opportunities in front of us.”
Caldwell said one of those opportunities is to help WSU students become more integrated into downtown Ogden.
“We’ve had some participation in the past, but I think there’s some opportunities to plug Weber State student body into different internship programs and different programs and different job opportunities and some of the economic devlopement that’s going on downtown,” Caldwell said Tuesday night. “I think Weber’s one of the key assets and resources in Ogden, and I think it’s critical that we are chearleading the university and we give all of the students reasons to come downtown and really get involved in and love Ogden.”
Caldwell said his election was helped by his WSU education.
“Weber State is first-class, unique opportunities,” Caldwell said. “It’s a really unique university education and I really appreciated it.”
WSU is unique, he explained, because of how accessible professors are. He said he believes the student-friendly environment helped his two brothers succeed in class and be admitted into medical school.
One student who voted Tuesday, Roseanne Ely, a senior, said it’s important for Ogden to have a mayor who understands WSU.
“Hopefully he’ll represent the needs of the community as well as the needs of the students,” she said. “We have a lot of diversity within our community and then we have a university. I think those things combined, hopefully, that can be reflected in his leadership. I think it’s important because Weber is such an integral part of the community. I think it’s a huge driving force in the community, so I think it’s important to have someone who understands the importance of Weber State and is willing to support that.”