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Nicole Martin, Herriman City Council Member District 4

Hillary Koellner- “Nicole first of all I have to ask what got you into politics, this being your first term in city council?”

Nicole Martin- “I never had any ambitions of running for an elected office, but I had worked for two separate city governments and I had seen what works and doesn’t work and the dysfunction that creeps into the city is a lot of times from elected officials. Working and living in Herriman city I thought I could put the knowledge together and help my community. A mistake now is a 50-year mistake for the city. There wasn’t any better way to have better involvement.”

Hillary Koellner- “So was the first political campaign you ever worked on your own?”

Nicole Martin- “Yes, it was my first time running and it was the first time because I had never thought about it. The elected officials are deciding if Herriman City will keep moving forward and if you don’t have those people willing to make the tough choices then no one else will.”

Hillary Koellner- “And why did you decide to go for city council specifically?”

Nicole Martin- “City government is the most intrusive form of government that we have. It’s the one that tells you that you can’t have weeds this tall, takes your garbage right in front of your house and removes your snow so that you can get to work on time. You really get to see the decisions made on a city council night every single day around your neighborhood and how they are affecting people, for good or bad.”

Hillary Koellner- “What would you say is the most important factor of being part of city council?”

Nicole Martin- “The most important element is that you have to learn to work together. Not one city council member can do everything by themselves. Dysfunction, when someone tries to force their will on the group and this does nothing, it’s a group decision. Recognizing the great wisdom in everyone is so important. People are people and issues are issues. There needs to be political courage to stand up for those ideas. You’re not going to make everybody happy all the time, you were elected to make the best decisions for your community. Whether you get social media attacks, phone calls, or ultimately not re-elected.”

Hillary Koellner- “Nicole speaking of social media, can you share with us how you dealt with attacks through these outlets or any other way during your campaign and even as an elected official?”

Nicole Martin- “I’m in communications, that’s my background. I went into running and serving wanting to be communicative; it’s a different ball game when those attacks are coming at you or your family, it’s misinformed and it’s frustrating. People are willing to use social media to make statements that are untrue. You have to stand firm in your conviction. I take those comments with a grain of salt. You must agree to disagree. Some people are determined to misunderstand you and they won’t believe what you say any way. I make good solid decisions that I educate myself from a variety of sources. I try not to take it personally. People speak from emotion and city government is very personal an intimate. I would say stand on your conviction and not take it personally. I try not to engage in those social forms, if I go out there it’s to put out my view points and I don’t see a lot of benefit going back and forth. Communications is what I love. I seek great value in all the communication channels that we get as elected officials, to share your passion and vision for the community on a website. There isn’t a faster way to get feedback than social media, before a meeting you can check that, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. I like to use a variety of sources that help me decide upon a vote. The calls you receive, those who choose to come out, looking to other agencies to see where your community needs to go and other communities who’ve gone through what you’re going through.”

Hillary Koellner- “Excellent advice, thank you for sharing that, and as you are within the communications field I can assume you stay updated with all media. What are some newspapers or magazines that you read and how do they affect your view of world?”

Nicole Martin- “You can’t possibly communicate effectively if you’re not up to date with what’s happening around you. I tend to look online at a variety of sources and other agencies to see what’s affecting the city and state. It’s important to understand the global view of where our state is and our nation is.”

Hillary Koellner- “How did your family react when you shared your decision that you wanted to run for public office?”

Nicole Martin- “My family was initially a little reluctant. Once I had kind of determined that’s the direction I wanted to go, I had huge support from my family and from other elected officials, one of them shared a quote with me that helped me understand that I’m not the first one who had gone through this and I will make it through. It enabled me to have a sense of humor about it all, having thick skin. The most important thing is standing for what you believe, for me it was to make a difference. Having people on the ground who were helping me with my campaign to give me the advice needed was great support, sometimes you really need that. My support system was vast and contentious.”

Hillary Koellner- “And once your family was on board with you, did they participate in your campaign?”

Nicole Martin- “Yeah and that was fun, particularly for my girls, and that was another factor, it’s that I could show them they could do anything they want to do. One of them still wears my campaign shirt at night and run around with it. They get to see their mom making decisions over the area they live in and they think it’s the coolest thing ever. It’s a proud moment for them that I get to do those things and I want my girls and my son to know that they can do anything they put their minds to. They got to see the struggles I had and surpassed during the campaign, all really important life lessons they wouldn’t of had otherwise.”

Hillary Koellner- “That’s incredible that you were able to have your campaign also be a family activity, not all candidates accomplish that. Although you have already been elected into office, how would you say you handled decisions making before and now?”

Nicole Martin- “I was uniquely qualified to sit on city council. I dealt with city issues 24/7, I bring a lot of expertise from my day job to my night job, and because I work for a more mature city I can bring that back to a younger city. Communications and economic development is what I based my campaign on and still focus on. We have started a city-wide survey. Something that I was able to analyze from my day job. We need to understand what is going right and what is going wrong. It’s something we just implemented.”

Hillary Koellner- “Being an elected official, how would you say that this has affected your family dynamic?”

Nicole Martin- “I would say that you have to find your new normal and be flexible an okay with what that looks like. Cast down your traditional roles. I‘m not a cook, I didn’t have much time before I have less time now, this is where my husband steps up and we manage things. You just have to trust that everything will work out and it does. I have tons of dropped balls and I’ve learned to be okay with that because I will pick them up again. Sometimes I ask myself, should I have not done this, but I know in my heart that my serving needed to happen for Herriman. And that’s what it’s about, to serve. In order to serve well you need a great support system from your family, friends, and employer.”

Hillary Koellner- “What have you learned from working with elected officials in the past?”

Nicole Martin- “I have been surrounded by elected officials my entire career and by enlarge those who are serving for the right reasons. To be staff in a city and on the flip side as an elected official, it’s so interesting to switch roles from staff seeing elected officials make decisions and backwards. Being able to see those who chose to work in a city environment helped me learn a lot.”

Hillary Koellner- “If you were able to change one policy, whether it was in the city, state or nation; what would it be?”

Nicole Martin- “Civility. I don’t know that that’s a policy, but it’s one of the most frustrating elements from a national level to a local level that we have such lack of respect for other human beings and differences of opinions. If we could sit down and talk and help each other, it would make a great difference. Another thing would be engagement, more engagement, less complaining and actually diving into how to find a solution. Yet, from a local stand point, I would say city-growth, helping residents understand the importance of the growing cycle of the city.”

Hillary Koellner- “Who would you say is the smartest person you’ve met in your life?”

Nicole Martin- “…Ooo that is a tough question, I think I’m going to have to come back to that one!”

Hillary Koellner- “haha….that’s totally fine. Now, going back to family dynamics, what were your experiences as a child or young adult that helped shape who you are today?”

Nicole Martin- “My parents were divorced, I grew up watching my mom struggle, not able to go to college, working long hours trying to make end meets by herself. I remember her wishing that she had gone to college. She wanted to more for her life and she felt she had already passed the opportunity. I looked up to my mom, there was no one I admired more than her. One thing I noticed was regret, and I didn’t want to have regret in my life. I decided to take every opportunity so I never felt in a trapped situation. I went to college, I’ve always tried to be proactive and assertive so at the end of the day if I was ever in a situation of just me, I could do it. My dad was also really supportive that I could achieve anything I wanted to achieve. I saw both sides of the role modeling, from my mom’s perspective she was everything I could want to be as a person.”

Hillary Koellner- “Definitely an inspiring to touch for many young women out there, and what about your grandparents, was there any wisdom that they were able to pass on that perhaps you’d like to give to your grandchildren one day?”

Nicole Martin- “Sadly my grandpa had Alzheimer’s really young, I only remember some fun memories of sitting on his lap. My grandma on my mom’s side was closer, my dad’s parents died when I was younger. From my grandma on my mom’s side, I learned kindness, the general stability she and my mom both had. They are just the type of people who are just kind they don’t’ say or think unkind things, they were just good people. It’s not always about the quote on quote accomplishments, it’s a lot about their souls and their hearts, what I learned from those two women in particular. I hope that I’m that kind of person.”

Hillary Koellner- “Thank you for sharing that, and can you think of a time where you encountered failure, and what it taught you?”

Nicole Martin- “You always have elements of small and large failures, I have been blessed with people around me who encourage me to try whether or not failure is a possibility. I don’t like to fail, I am my biggest critic, but I am surrounded by people who will pick me up if fail. I’m not afraid to fail, I just don’t like.”

Hillary Koellner- “Now to finalize, what is one thing you want people to know about you that perhaps they don’t?”

Nicole Martin- “I hope that in all of the capacities I serve, whether it’s as a councilwoman, deputy mayor, mom or friend, that people feel better after being around me and walk out with a smile. We have a short time on earth and it should be spent smiling and enjoying.”

Hillary Koellner- “Well thank you so much Nicole for opening up and sharing your story with us.”

The phone interview with Nicole Martin concluded, but just a minute after we got a call back.

Hillary Koellner- “Hi Nicole!”

Nicole Martin- “(excitedly) Okay! I have an answer for the smartest person I’ve met, I couldn’t let that one go.”

Hillary Koellner- (both in laughter) “Perfect, so who would you say that special person is?”

Nicole Martin- “The smartest person would be everyone I’ve met. I think that there is something to learn from everybody, not one person, but you will learn an immeasurable amount if you’re willing to open your heart and learn from them and their different experiences, there really is always have something to learn from every single person you meet.”

By Hillary Koellner

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