ST. GEORGE — St. George Mayor Michele Randall was at her sister’s house watching the World Series when the 2021 municipal election results started rolling in on Nov. 2.
After the votes were tallied in Randall’s favor, she said they flipped the channel back to the World Series, but the Atlanta Braves had already clinched the title in game six with a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros.
So it was a good night for her husband, Tony, on several levels, Randall told St. George News.
“He’s a Braves fan,” she said and laughed. “I get it.”
She tried to call St. George City Manager Adam Lenhard but got no answer.
Lenhard told St. George News that he saw her name flash on his phone’s screen.
“But there was a lot of screaming and cheering,” he said. “I wanted to let that die down before calling her back.”
Though Lenhard said his wife questioned his judgment in ignoring his boss’s call, he knew Randall would understand.
“I’ve worked with her for four years now,” Lenhard said. “She’s straightforward, honest and passionate about serving our city.”
Lenhard said Randall has built a good rapport with City Council members – it probably helps that she used to be one — as well as city officials.
“Not all votes are unanimous,” he said, referring to City Council meetings, “but she still maintains respect for both parties and both sides of an issue. That’s a credit to her. Running a city can be difficult without that.”
‘Service, generosity and helping one another’
Wednesday was busy for Randall, but she still made time to meet with the grassroots City Women group to help hang Christmas lights.
She walked from City Hall to the Art Museum at noon. As she strolled along, enjoying the warm sunshine, she noticed a discarded coffee cup, lid and straw near the curb at 100 East and 200 North.
“See, I don’t understand why people do this,” she said. She stooped down, picked up the litter and dropped it in a nearby garbage bin. “I wish we could get more volunteers to help with this kind of thing.”
When she arrived at Pioneer Arts Center, there were about 10 people wrapping strands of Christmas lights around the trunks and branches of the trees. After greeting everyone, Randall was handed a strand of Christmas lights from Shirlayne Quayle, the city’s director of economic development and housing, and asked to wrap it into a ball so that it could be stored.
Randall smiled, unwound the cord and then began wrapping it neatly. For Randall, the first woman to be elected mayor of St. George, service is part of being a citizen. That’s why, in addition to being elected mayor, she was also given the DAR Women in American History award by the Color Country Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
“That’s part of what the Dixie Spirit means,” she said. “It’s service, generosity and helping one another. The Dixie Spirit is inside each of us. So it’s up to us to carry it on.”
That’s one of many things she learned from her family, she said, who were among the 309 pioneer families that left Salt Lake City to settle “Utah’s Dixie.”
“They were blue collar types, farmers,” Randall said. “The women … never would have imagined that I’d be mayor one day.”
Randall said she raised her own daughters to believe they can do anything they want to do as long as they put in the work.
“They’re strong, independent women,” she said. “And like me, they’ve had so many great role models.”
While Randall said there are more female St. George city department heads now than at any time in the past, she didn’t want to “run on gender.”
“I’m qualified to do this job,” she said. “I’ve got the time to do it, and I love to serve this community.”
That was a breakthrough for Randall. When she first considered applying to be interim mayor after Jon Pike announced that he intended to vacate the seat to join Gov. Spencer Cox’s cabinet, she wasn’t so sure she could do the job.
“When women go out for a job, they need to check every box,” she said, adding that she was grateful to be ultimately appointed mayor in January by City Council.
But the fact that voters in Apple Valley, Springdale, Hildale, Hurricane, Parowan and Rockville elected female mayors in this year’s municipal elections means the tide may be turning. That’s not only a sign of the times, Randall said, but a testament to how hard those women worked to clinch those victories.
Since the election, Randall said she’s recuperating, but she’s not slowing down.
“Serving as mayor is a lot of work,” she said, “but doing so while also campaigning is hard. I’m thankful for the voters’ confidence in me. Now that the election is over, I’m looking forward to serving this community as mayor.”
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