Lewis leaving mayoral post with gratitude for the opportunityNov 29, 2021 01:24PM ● By Tom Haraldsen
Randy Lewis leaves office with a list of accomplishments from his two terms in office. Photo by Tom Haraldsen
Randy Lewis never had any intention of running for office. Ever. He’d spent most of his professional life in the health industry, as co-owner of a successful laboratory in Bountiful and then as director at the Orchard Cove assisted living facility. But after a lot of urging from friends and a former mayor, he threw his hat in the ring and was elected Mayor of Bountiful in 2013. He finishes his second and final term in the office in December.
“I had several people come to me and say I should run,” he recalled. “I’d never thought of it. Joe Johnson was leaving office after 12 years, and John Cushing, a former mayor, said he had someone who wanted him to support their run. He said, ‘if you’re running I’d support you.’ That’s when I said to him, ‘John, I’m running.’”
Lewis had never been on the city council, though he’d been in leadership in his church, serving as a Bishop for five years and a Stake President for 10 years. He and his wife Melanie also served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Alaska where he was mission president.
“My business partner Dan Hymas and I started a lab on Medical Drive in Bountiful (Biolabs) and we were fortunate enough to run it for 24 years,” he said. “When we returned from our mission, I was hired as director of the orthopedic center at South Davis Community Hospital. Then, at age 64, I became a healthcare administrator.”
He retired from that position in 2018, but was approached almost immediately by Creekside Assisted Living who hired him as their director of public relations, a position he may maintain part time after leaving his political office.
In 2012, he ended up with one opponent for the mayoral seat – then city council member Beth Holbrook. She later dropped out of the race but remained on the council, working with Lewis once he was elected.
“Beth is wonderful – so smart – and perfect for the position as trustee with the UTA,” he said. “I got elected and was kind of a novice – like a first grader. I had little knowledge of what it meant to be mayor.” But he learned quickly, focusing his efforts initially on the development of Creekside Park.
He said there is a pretty steep learning curve for new mayors, especially in cities with a weak-mayor form of government, like Bountiful. “You have to learn the difference between the legislative and administrative side of things. City managers really run the cities, and I had to learn that I wasn’t really in charge of anything or anyone. Gary (Hill, the city manager) taught me how to communicate. He was invaluable in working with me during both of my terms.”
He has loved the challenges of helping prepare for the growth coming over the next quarter century, when it’s predicted that 30,000 more residents will move into south Davis County. Even though “we don’t have a lot of room in Bountiful for new residents, that migration will definitely affect us.”
Besides finishing Creekside Park, Lewis is particularly proud of Bountiful Town Square, the opening of the city’s dog park, and what’s planned for Washington Park. He loves the Veterans Park, even though not directly involved, “but the city did donate the land on which it sits.” Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was his work with former city councilman John Marc Knight on getting the city’s RDA extended. “Without the RDA, there’d be no Bountiful Town Square,” he said.
When he first told Melanie he was running for mayor in 2012, she had a simple request.
“‘Can you make Bountiful more fun?’ she asked. I think we’ve done that, with the park, the town square, some of the things we’ve done on Main Street. My very first day in office, I drove to Farmington to meet with leaders at the Bountiful Davis Arts Center and told them I wanted that organization to move back to Bountiful, and we helped make that happen. And I’m proud that when the Tour of Utah bicycle race came through the city for four years, we had more than 4,000 American flags displayed on the route.”
He’ll miss working with his fellow mayors, as 11 of the 15 cities in Davis County will have new leaders starting in January. “I’ll miss my association with them – we’ve all worked so well together,” he said. “Not sure what’s next, but maybe this is the change of my life that I need, a nice, clean slice of the whole deal and an ability to move on.”
Melanie and their family have been with him all the way, he said.
“I loved what I was able to learn, the education I got while I was here,” he said. “My wife and my children and their spouses, and my 18 grandchildren – they’ve all had experience where they were involved with the campaigns or the process, and I think it’s been really good for my family. Now they’re engaged. They see political things and elections differently than they would have, and so supportive. How can you lose when your whole family is with you.”