Jeffs’ former nemesis announces candidacy for Hildale City Council

SHORT CREEK — The woman instrumental in the conviction of Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is running for public office in the same city in which she grew up.

Elissa Wall is one of four candidates who have submitted their applications to seek four-year terms on Hildale City Council.

Wall said there were a variety of things that went into her decision to run for public office.

“I have been very active as a citizen since I decided to move back into the community,” she said. “It was just the next step for me to be involved.”

Wall said she feels that Short Creek, the combination of communities from Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona, is in the perfect place to “plant the seeds for an amazing future,” and she would like to be a part of it.

Wall was the state prosecutor’s key witness in the 2007 case against Jeffs. A jury found him guilty of being an accomplice to rape after performing a marriage ceremony between Wall – who was 14 years old at the time – and her 19-year-old cousin.

Just a month after the 2008 raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Schleicher County, Texas, William Morrow published Wall’s autobiographical novel, “Stolen Innocence.” In 2017, Jeffs was ordered to pay Wall $16 million in punitive damages. He is serving time in a Texas prison.

Despite the nationwide coverage of Wall’s past and the city of Hildale, she said she doesn’t concern herself with what people outside of the community think they know about her.

“For the people in this community, that’s where I put my attention,” Wall said.

For those who have already drawn conclusions of Wall, she said she hopes that one day they will have the chance to work with her and get to know her personally.

She said the biggest thing she wants people to know is that she “is just like them.” Wall lives in Hildale with her two teenage children. She also owns a children’s clothing company based in Arizona.

“Our narrative is changing very quickly,” Wall said. “We are not the past. We are right now and this incredible, progressive future that myself and hundreds of thousands of different people are working on creating.”

In mid-May, the nation’s largest manufacturer of X-ray protection gear, Infab, announced it is expanding its operations to Hildale, which brings with it nearly 100 new jobs and an economic boost. Since 2017, the demographics of Hildale have also seen a dramatic shift as more non-FLDS individuals migrate to the area.

Wall said she hopes people will understand that the community she hopes to represent is not defined by the “travesties of the past.” She said the Short Creek community is resilient and is rebuilding to work toward “an incredible future.”

Of the four candidates for City Council, Hall is seeking election to public office for the first time, while Lawrence Barlow, Stacy Seay and JVar Dutson are seeking re-election.

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