Ben McAdams

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Ben McAdams
Ben McAdams 2015.jpg
Mayor of Salt Lake County
Assumed office
January 7, 2013
Deputy Nichole Dunn
Preceded by Peter Corroon
Member of the Utah Senate
from the 2nd district
In office
December 19, 2009 – November 13, 2012
Preceded by Scott McCoy
Succeeded by Jim Dabakis
Personal details
Born (1974-12-05) December 5, 1974 (age 43)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Julie
Education University of Utah (BA)
Columbia University (JD)

Benjamin Michael McAdams[1] (born December 5, 1974) is an American politician and attorney from Utah. He is the Salt Lake County mayor, a position he has held since January 2013. McAdams is a former member of the Utah State Senate, representing the state's second district including Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake City, and a portion of West Valley.

McAdams is running for U.S. Representative for Utah's 4th congressional district against the incumbent, Mia Love.

Early life and education[edit]

McAdams has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Utah and a J.D. with honors from Columbia Law School.[1][2] At Columbia, McAdams was a member of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.[1]

Legal career[edit]

After graduating from law school, McAdams briefly worked in New York City as an associate at the New York law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell.[1][2] McAdams and his family then returned to Utah,[2] where he joined the law firm Dorsey & Whitney in Salt Lake City, working in securities law.[1] McAdams then became Senior Advisor to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.[1]

McAdams has served as a volunteer adjunct faculty member at the University of Utah College of Law.[1]

Political career[edit]

Utah State Senator[edit]

McAdams was elected to replace Scott McCoy as the senator for Utah's second district in a special election on December 19, 2009.[3] He was subsequently elected to a four-year term on November 2, 2010.

In March 2011, McAdams proposed a bill against employment and housing discrimination against gay and transgender Utahns. His motion to hold a hearing on it failed on a party-line vote.[4][5] Salt Lake City passed a similar measure in 2009.[6]

McAdams received a 75% rating from the advocacy group Parents for Choice in Education during the 2012 legislative session[7] and a 77% rating from the National Education Association.[8] He also received an 82% score from the Utah Taxpayers Association, the highest-scoring Democrat that year.[9] The Salt Lake Tribune identified McAdams as the most liberal-leaning member of the Utah Senate in 2011, with a conservative rating of 34.4% that year.[10] In 2012, however, the Tribune identified him as the third-most conservative Democratic Utah state senator (out of eight total).[11]

McAdams voted against H.B. 353,[12][not in citation given], which allows medical personnel to refuse to provide abortions on moral or religious grounds. He also voted against H.B. 461,[13][not in citation given] which extended the mandatory waiting period for an abortion from 24 hours to 72 business hours; this law was later found not to prevent women from having abortions.[14] McAdams has since stated he "believes in the sanctity of life at all stages",[15] "opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother's life, and in certain other rare circumstances",[15] and believes "decisions about terminating a pregnancy should be made by a woman in consultation with her physician, family members and faith counselors she trusts."[14][15]

Salt Lake County Mayor[edit]

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez visit Palmer Court, the Road Home's permanent supportive housing development, in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and then-Secretary of Labor Tom Perez visit Palmer Court, the Road Home's permanent supportive housing development, in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015.

In November 2011, McAdams announced his campaign to succeed Peter Corroon as mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah.[16] On November 6, 2012, McAdams was elected with 54% of the vote, defeating Republican nominee Mark Crockett.[17] McAdams resigned from the state senate after taking office as mayor.

Since taking office, McAdams has been tasked by the Utah Legislature to select a location for a new homeless shelter in Salt Lake County, outside of Salt Lake City. According to the Deseret News, the task was considered a "politically damaging decision",[18] and was met with opposition from Cherie Wood, the mayor of South Salt Lake, where McAdams ultimately recommended the shelter be located.[19] Before making his recommendation, McAdams spent two nights on the streets of Salt Lake City, posing as a homeless person, to "gather information before recommending a new shelter location."[20][21] Although tasked with recommending a site for the shelter, McAdams has pledged to not support the center's groundbreaking unless the Utah Legislature passes a bill to create a pool of revenue from other cities to help fund the centers.[18] McAdams has called for a "radically different approach ... to address homelessness," and has called homelessness a "stubborn and complex social challenge."

McAdams has been involved in the negotiations with state leaders for a proposed inland port in Salt Lake City. In January 2018, he said he strongly believes that land use and zoning decisions should remain at a local level.[22] After the Utah Legislature passed SB023, which created an Inland Port Authority, he said he believes "for the most part the bill is fair".[23]

As Salt Lake County Mayor, McAdams sits on the board of directors of the United Way of Salt Lake County.[24] He has implemented a "pay-for-success" model that "invited third-party investors to pay for preschool and gain a return on their investment when specific benchmarks were met,"[25] for which he received public recognition from the United Way in 2016.[26]

McAdams opposed the proposal for construction of a Facebook Data Center in West Jordan in 2016. His opposition was characterized as key to scuttling negotiations, although other government entities showed resistance as well. The $2.5 billion data center would have received $195 million from the city and county in tax breaks. McAdams characterized the proposal as too expensive, given that the center would have directly produced only 130 jobs "at its peak". Supporters of the data center argued it would have drawn additional development and investment to the region.[27]

In 2014, McAdams supported the renewal of a Zoos, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) tax in Salt Lake County.[28] The ZAP tax amounts to 1 cent on every $10 spent. It partially funds more than 190 county arts and cultural organizations, as well as 30 parks and recreation facilities, including Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, and others. The tax was approved by voters in 2014, with nearly 77% of county voters in favor. [29]

McAdams was mentioned as a potential candidate in Utah's 2016 Senate race or Utah's 2016 gubernatorial race, but did not run for either position.[30][31] He was reelected to a second term as Salt Lake County Mayor in November 2016 with 59% of the vote.[32]

United States House of Representatives Campaign, 2018[edit]

On October 18, 2017, McAdams announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination to oppose incumbent Representative Mia Love, a Republican representing Utah's 4th congressional district.[33] On April 28, 2018, McAdams won the Democratic nomination at the party's convention. With the backing of 72% of the convention delegates, McAdams avoided a primary campaign.[34]

During the campaign, McAdams has described himself as pro-life, referring to his "deeply held beliefs about the sanctity of life", and said Love's charge that he is an abortion advocate is "offensive".[35] McAdams is a practicing Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

McAdams has distanced himself from the current House leadership, saying that he would not support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker if elected.[36][37][38]

In June 2018, CNN reported that the race was considered "consequential to both parties" because Love has "stood up to [President Donald Trump] on immigration" and "because national Democrats see McAdams as one of their best chances to gain a foothold on red turf".[39]

As of August 2018, RealClearPolitics ranks the race as a "tossup".[40] A June 2018 poll showed McAdams six percentage points behind Love, within the poll's margin of error.[41][42] Also in June, another poll showed McAdams had a higher job rating than Love, with stronger support among women and younger respondents.[43] As of July 2017, Love's and McAdams's campaigns had approximately equal cash on hand.[44] Another poll, performed by Dan Jones & Associates and released in September, showed McAdams three points behind Love.[45][46]

McAdams has been endorsed by the Blue Dog Coalition,[47] a House caucus of conservative and moderate Democrats that stresses fiscal responsibility. He has also been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters[48]

Political positions[edit]

McAdams has stated he is a moderate Democrat.[49][50] He has been endorsed by the moderate-to-conservative Blue Dog Democrats.[51][52][53] McAdams has identified himself as pro-life.[54]

McAdams was given a rating of 33% conservative by the Sutherland Institute, a fiscally and socially conservative political action committee, based on his time in the Utah state senate.[55] Also based on his time in the state senate, the Utah Taxpayers Association gave McAdams an 82% rating.[56] He also has a 100% rating from the Utah Sierra Club, which supports greater environmental protection.[57]

McAdams supports same-sex marriage. After the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the right to marry in the United States, McAdams stated: "As Justice Kennedy stated in his opinion, 'The right of same-sex couples to marry is derived from the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.' This decision enshrines what I’ve long believed — that all families should be treated equally under the law."[58]

McAdams has called for Congress to make fixes to the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) instead of repealing it.[59] He has also called on Congress to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) after its funding lapsed in September 2017.[60][61]

McAdams opposed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, citing the expected $1.5 trillion increase of the national debt over 10 years. He also believes it favors the "wealthy over the middle class."[59][62]. He has stated he believes in tax code modernization but that the tax reform bill was "fiscally irresponsible," and that the bill "is borrowed from future generations."[59]

McAdams has called for comprehensive immigration reform that includes secured borders, increased legal immigration, and a permanent solution for participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (Dreamers).[63][59]

McAdams supports increased renewable energy sources and the development of new technologies. He supports a national energy portfolio that is balanced between renewables and traditional fossil fuel sources, as well as reductions in vehicle emissions.[64][59]

Personal life[edit]

McAdams is a seventh-generation Utahn, and one of eight children.[65] He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church),[2] and served a mission to Brazil in the mid-1990s.[66] He is married to his wife Julie; the couple met in high school.[2] They have four children.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Benjamin Michael Adams: Volunteer Faculty, University of Utah College of Law.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Roche, Lisa Riley. "New Utah state senator Ben McAdams is youthful but not naive". Deseret News. Deseret News. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  3. ^ "Democrats tap McAdams for Seat in Legislature"
  4. ^ Editors, 'Utah: No Hearing on LGBT Rights', in The Advocate, March 2, 2011
  5. ^ Robert Gehrke (28 February 2011). "Senate: No hearing for anti-discrimination bill". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  6. ^ "Senator introducing statewide nondiscrimination bill". Daily Herald.
  7. ^ "Rating Group: Parents for Choice in Education: 2012 Positions". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  8. ^ "59th Utah State Legislature - 2012 Voting Record" (PDF). National Education Association.
  9. ^ "2012 Utah Taxpayers Association Legislative Scorecard" (PDF). March 2012.
  10. ^ "Info" (PDF)., see also the accompanying Tribune article located here: "Scorecard: Utah lawmakers lean right, far right".
  11. ^ "Info" (PDF)., see also the accompanying Tribune article located here:"'Hatch effect' hurting Utah's most conservative lawmakers".
  12. ^ "HB0353".
  13. ^ "HB0461".
  14. ^ a b Richards, Connor (July 27, 2018). ""Utah Democrat insists he's just as anti-abortion as his conservative opponent"". Salt Lake Tribune.
  15. ^ a b c "Holly Richardson: Abortion is a nonnegotiable for many voters". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  16. ^ "State Sen. Ben McAdams officially enters race for Salt Lake County mayor"
  17. ^ "Ben McAdams wins Salt Lake County mayor's race". Salt Lake Tribune.
  18. ^ a b "Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams renews pledge to pull support of homeless site if revenue bill fails". Deseret News. February 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "Mayor calls plan for homeless shelter a 'lethal blow' for South Salt Lake". Deseret News. March 31, 2017.
  20. ^ "Mayor Ben McAdams posed as a homeless person for 3 days and 2 nights. Here's what he saw".
  21. ^ "'I didn't feel safe': Mayor Ben McAdams describes secret nights on street, in shelter". Deseret News. August 6, 2017.
  22. ^ "Land deal for inland port in Salt Lake in process". January 30, 2018.
  23. ^ "Governor to sign controversial Utah inland port bill despite city outcry". Deseret News. March 8, 2018.
  24. ^ "Board - United Way Salt Lake". Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  25. ^ "Mayor Ben McAdams: Working Hard In Public Service". Attorney At Law Magazine. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  26. ^ "2016 Changemakers:Mayor Ben McAdams". United Way. May 12, 2016.
  27. ^ "West Jordan blames Ben McAdams for losing out on Facebook data center". Salt Lake Tribune. September 25, 2016.
  28. ^ Sara Jarman (October 29, 2014). "ZAP tax on the 2014 ballot".
  29. ^ "S.L. County OKs ZAP tax funding for 25 organizations". Deseret News. December 28, 2017.
  30. ^ Riley Roche, Lisa (April 8, 2015). "Poll: Josh Romney would be a tough opponent for Sen. Mike Lee". Deseret News. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  31. ^ Cheney, Kyle (December 29, 2014). "16 in '16: The new battle for the Senate". Politico. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  32. ^ "Official Election Results 2016 General Election". Salt Lake County. November 22, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  33. ^ "Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams running for Congress |". Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  34. ^ "Utah Democrats Nominate McAdams for House Race Against Love". U.S. News. April 28, 2018.
  35. ^ "Utah Democrat insists he's just as anti-abortion as his conservative opponent".
  36. ^ "Love campaign says if Dems win, so does Pelosi, but McAdams says he wouldn't support the minority leader".
  37. ^ "Democrats opposing Pelosi". August 10, 2018.
  38. ^ "Democrat McAdams Won't Support Pelosi for Speaker". May 3, 2018.
  39. ^ "The real race to watch in Utah this November is not Mitt Romney's -- it's Mia Love's".
  40. ^ "Utah 4th District - Love vs. McAdams". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  41. ^ "Rep. Mia Love leads Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams by 6 percentage points — a too-close-to-call margin".
  42. ^ "Poll: Love-McAdams race in Utah's 4th District may be too close to call".
  43. ^ "4th District voters give Love, McAdams high job approval ratings, but McAdams's ratings are much higher". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  44. ^ "Mia Love, Ben McAdams running neck and neck in money chase as Utah's hottest campaign gears up for stretch drive".
  45. ^ "Poll: Mia Love has a 3-point lead over Ben McAdams in 4th District matchup". 9 September 2018.
  46. ^ "Democrat Ben McAdams gains ground on Republican Rep. Mia Love in new poll". Salt Lake Tribune.
  47. ^ "Blue Dog Dems". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  48. ^ "LCV Action Fund Endorses Ben McAdams for Congress". June 15, 2018.
  49. ^ "Utah Democrats nominate McAdams for House race against Love | WTOP". WTOP. 2018-04-28. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  50. ^ "McAdams, Wilson, easily win nominations at Democratic state convention". Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^ "Utah Democrat insists he's just as anti-abortion as his conservative opponent". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  55. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  56. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  57. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  58. ^ "Mayor Ben McAdams 'pleased' with Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling". GOOD4UTAH. 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  59. ^ a b c d e Lisa Riley Roche (October 14, 2018). "Ben McAdams: Democratic challenger disappointed with tone of race". Deseret News.
  60. ^ Ben McAdams. "Ben McAdams: Congress to Tiny Tim: 'No health insurance for you.'". Salt Lake Tribune.
  61. ^ "Health Care". Ben McAdams for Congress. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  62. ^ "Budget & Taxes". Ben McAdams for Congress. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  63. ^ "Immigration". Ben McAdams for Congress. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  64. ^ "Energy & Environment". Ben McAdams for Congress. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  65. ^ "Meet Ben McAdams". Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  66. ^ "There's a Reason He's the Highest-Ranking Dem in Utah".

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Corroon
Mayor of Salt Lake County