Aimee Winder Newton, District 3, Salt Lake County Council
Hillary Koellner – “Aimee, first of all, I would like to know what was it that sparked your interest in politics?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “From the time that we were young, we were taught to give back to the community. My parents were great examples of getting involved to try to make the community a better place. My family heritage includes many relatives and ancestors who were in public office and who worked to improve the lives of people in Utah. Because of these role models, I grew up believing that I had a duty to give back. I was involved in student government in junior high and high school and from there found other ways to be involved.”
Hillary Koellner – “When was the moment that you decided to run for office and why?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “I had been approached by people to run for the county council, but initially said, “No.” When I realized there were no women on the nine-member council, and very few council members from the west side of the valley, I felt like I should at least consider it. My husband is the one who said that he thought it would be a good idea, so after a lot of thought, I decided to put my small business on hold and run for office.”
Hillary Koellner – “How did your family take the news about this decision?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “My husband was supportive from the get-go. My kids thought it sounded fun, but I’m not sure they really understood the commitment. My extended family was very excited about it.”
Hillary Koellner – “Where they supportive of your choice?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “Absolutely! It was a decision we made as a family.”
Hillary Koellner – “and how involved were they during the campaign? Did they make calls or canvass with you?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “My kids helped make phone calls, participated in honk n waves, walked in parades, and worked at my booth at events. My husband was so awesome to help place signs. I remember one Saturday he drove around my district and knocked on doors to find great sign placements along busy roads. There was another day that I was pretty discouraged and he drove me around as I knocked on doors.”
Hillary Koellner – “Seeing the great family unity you all have, what would you say was your family dynamic before and how do you feel it has changed after being an elected official?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “I stepped away from my career to run because I wanted to just have two things to focus on – my family and public service. Serving in this position has been good for my kids – they have a better understanding of government now. I hope to be a good role model for them and show them that they can make a difference.”
Hillary Koellner – “What about your relationship with your grandparents? What life lessons did they teach you?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “I have one set of grandparents who live in Seattle. Grandpa and Grandma Jepson would come babysit us when our parents would go out of town, so I got very close to them. Grandma is a fantastic writer and I always wanted to learn to write well like her. She is easy to make laugh, and I still love to visit her and hear her laughter.
My other grandparents, Ned and Gwen Winder, were great examples of service in the community. They served several LDS missions, and my grandpa was very involved in all kinds of boards and commissions. They were good examples of serving others and being kind to all.”
Hillary Koellner – “What personal trial have you had that made you the person you are? How did it change you? What did you learn about your self?
Aimee Winder Newton- “One of the most life-changing things I’ve ever dealt with was when my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 2. We went through several brain surgeries, dozens of eye surgeries, and because she had physical disabilities from the brain surgeries we had years of therapy. It was a hard thing to deal with as a 25-year-old young mom. I learned a lot about trials and how they teach us. I learned to rely on instincts and to trust God. It gave me a greater appreciation for my husband and children. Since she only had a 40 percent chance of survival, I learned to be grateful as she has grown into a beautiful young woman. Aubree is now 19 and serving an LDS mission in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a walking miracle and still teaches me very valuable lessons.”
Hillary Koellner – “Aimee, I have to ask, how do you handle trolls, angry letters, etc. constantly being in the public eye?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “It depends. Sometimes if I’ve had it with mean people, I write out a snarky response and say what I really want to say. Then I delete it and write a nice, measured response. Most of the time, though, I try to have empathy for the person and write back explaining my position as politely as possible. Sometimes it’s a fun challenge for me to see if I can become friends with the person.”
Hillary Koellner – “What is something about political campaigns that has surprised you as you have been involved in them for yourself?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “Paranoia. I have managed many political campaigns and until I was actually a candidate, I had no idea how paranoid you feel. I’ve learned that it’s good to have someone to help you make decisions and stay on message. It’s equally important to have family and close friends who can always keep you grounded – both during a campaign and once you are in office.”
Hillary Koellner – “What college experiences do you have that made you the person you are today?
Aimee Winder Newton- “I spent a year at Ricks College obtaining my Associates Degree. I served as the College Republicans Secretary, and I was involved in Student Government. Living away from home for the first time was a great learning experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. After that year I got married and then finished my bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah.”
Hillary Koellner – “What would you say was your first official job when you were perhaps just a teenager, and what would you say you took from it for the rest of your life?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “When I was 16 I worked as a runner for a title company. I had just gotten my drivers license and I had no idea how the freeways and addressing in Salt Lake worked. It was a valuable summer to learn how to find addresses anywhere in the valley. (We didn’t have GPS back then.) I remember the first place I had to drive to was on 100 S. State Street. Our title office was on 7200 S. State Street, so I assumed I could just take State Street north to get to 100 South. My boss wondered why it took so long to deliver the paperwork, and that’s when I started learning about the freeways. LOL! I’ve had many other interesting jobs throughout my life – working in the office at Winder Farms, selling cemetery plots, starting an advertising agency with college friends, selling Discovery Toys, doing mortgage loans for nine years, cooking on ABC4’s “Good Things Utah” for a year, doing public/media relations for several clients, and now working for the county. My favorite and most important job has been raising four kids.”
Hillary Koellner – “If you were to look back through your education, is there a teacher that perhaps made an ongoing impact on you?”
Aimee Winder Newton- “My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Watkins, was so good to me. That was the year that Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale were running for president. Mrs. Watkins had us learn the issues and do debates as if we were the two candidates. I remember one time she sent us home with a Scholastic Weekly Reader that talked about the presidential candidates. I came back the next day, went to her desk and told her that I was frustrated that the article seemed to be more biased against Ronald Reagan and I actually started to cry. I stayed in from recess as she talked to me about my frustrations with “the media,” but mostly just listened. It cracks me up now to think of how passionate I was about that election even though I was only 10 years old.”
What is the one thing you would make sure people know about you?
Aimee Winder Newton- “I’m just a regular person. I have things that make me happy – spending time with my family, traveling, Leatherby’s Toasted Almond ice cream. I have things that make me sad – losing my mom suddenly in a car accident, seeing people on the street who struggle, watching family members deal with mental illness. I have had times in my life where I’ve dealt with financial worries, post-partum depression, and health challenges. I drive a mini van. I eat peanut butter sandwiches (with a cold glass of Winder milk, of course). I hate thinking up what to make for dinner, but I don’t mind cooking it. I’m impatient sometimes – it’s something I’m working on. Basically, I’m just an average person who wants to try to make a difference. I love people and I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to be a public servant at this time in my life. It’s helped me to grow more than anything else I’ve ever done.”
Currently, Aimee Winder has not yet officially established if she will be running for re-election during 2018.
By Hillary Koellner