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Sugar House Journal

After four years of service, Lisa Adams steps down

Jan 01, 2018 11h57 ● By Natalie Mollinet

For the past four years, Lisa Adams has worked tirelessly to help her district including Sugar House. (Courtesy Salt Lake City Council)

“When asked about my service on the City Council, I tell people that I feel like I have been in a four-year graduate program called, ‘Salt Lake City Studies,’” former Salt Lake City councilwoman Lisa Adams said in her monthly email. Now, after four years of working on the council and doing her unofficial “Salt Lake City Studies” degree, she has decided not to run for another term and move onto the next chapter in her life. 

In 2014, Adams ran for city council after having lost before. But this wasn’t her first time working with the city. Adams worked with the Salt Lake City Planning Commission from March 2012 to January 2014 and also served as a trustee for Utah Dispute Resolution from January 2013 to January 2015. When she saw the opportunity to run for City Council, she felt that her background working with the government and also as an attorney might help her on the council. 

“I just saw that there was a need for a council member in the city,” Adams said. “I felt my background as an attorney and being really involved in schools and knowing the community well, I felt I’d do a good job on the council.” 

When she first ran, she didn’t get the votes and lost, but when the opportunity came again, her family rallied around her and pushed her to run again in 2014. This time she won. 

Adams grew in up in Salt Lake City in The Avenues, graduated from East High School and went onto the University of Utah to get her B.S. in Mass Communications and B.A. in English, and later getting a certificate from Stanford University’s Mass Media Institute. After working with words and literature, she went on to graduate from the University of Utah Law School in 1986, something different from her previous degrees. 

“I thought it would be an interesting thing to pursue,” Adams said when talking about going to law school. “I probably had watched too much ‘Law and Order’ and I really was interested in doing legal things in helping family and children.” 

Adams was actively involved in Salt Lake City’s schools as a volunteer, worked as a PTA board member, served as chair of a school community council, and president of the Salt Lake City Secondary Schools PTA board. She has four children, two boys went to East High School and two girls who went to Highland High. When she attended games, Adams would wear both school colors and sit right in the middle of the parent section and cheer on her East High football player in the field and her Highland High Pep Club president in the stands. 

She’s been a longtime resident of the neighborhood near Parley’s. 

“I love representing Sugar House because it’s a vibrant community and we have really different parts of Sugar House who have different opinions,” Adams said. “It really required a lot of balancing and being fair and representing what my community cares about.” 

Adams said one thing she learned while being on the council is not only being balanced but working to get the information out to the community on issues. She said that sometimes if she felt differently about an issue than most in the community, she needed to work to put her district’s wants before hers and understand that’s what she was elected to do. 

“I have tried to have an open door and listening ear to various issues,” Adams said. 

As she reflected on her time on the council, some of her greatest accomplishments have included putting the Salt Lake City Police Bike Patrol back into Sugar House, improving Fairmont Park, demolishing the Ute Car Wash, rezoning of 2100 South and 700 East, finding a home for “Candy Cane Corner,” and helping fund Parley’s Trail and “Sego Lily” in Sugar House Park. 

After four years of working with the city, she felt like it was time to move on. Now that all four kids are out of the house, she and her husband are moving to New York City to represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United Nations. 

“This will be about an 18-month to two-year assignment,” Adams said. “We’re responsible for looking at legislation policy for refugee families and religious freedom and build bridges.” 

She said she is thrilled to move to New York City and before she leaves will run her 10th half marathon in San Diego in honor of her 60th birthday. Adams also wants to catch up with reading, watch her favorite old movies as well as go skiing. 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to represent you on the Salt Lake City Council,” Adams said in her monthly email. “Thank you for entrusting me with making decisions for you and the rest of our great city. I loved having the opportunity to get to know so many of you, one-on-one, and being able to help you with issues and concerns.”