Strong Woman of Cedar City
Mayor Maile Wilson
Although the path Maile has taken to get to where she is today is not the typical path for a girl from southern Utah, it is her path. Maile comes from a family where gender was never an excuse for what should or could be accomplished. It pushed her to be more driven because she wanted to prove that she was just as qualified and capable as anyone else would be of achieving the goals she set out for herself, especially her three older brothers.
Maile Wilson was born and raised in Cedar City, Utah. From a very young age, her family instilled in her the importance of education and civic involvement, and both have remained as guiding forces in her life. However, it was not until college that she fully recognized her passion for government and the legal profession, and the ability one has to help others through these two professions. With the realization of how she could serve her community while fulfilling her passion for a career, Maile pursued her educational goals and experiences with a new level of dedication. She graduated from Southern Utah University (SUU) with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, followed by a master’s degree in Public Administration. Upon graduating from SUU, she received her juris doctorate degree from Charlotte School of Law in Charlotte, North Carolina where she received honors in pro bono work and nonprofit legal management. As she worked toward completing her educational goals, she continued to focus her attention on public service and policy.
As evidence of her life focus on public service and policy, Maile continued pushing herself to seek out new opportunities and to set goals, even when others told her they were unobtainable. She has a public service record that spans all levels of government, including a White House internship with First Lady Laura Bush, working for the Mitt Romney for President Transition Team in Washington DC, and serving at the United States Department of the Interior. On the local level, prior to her time as mayor of Cedar City, Maile worked for the city manager of Washington City, Utah where she focused on budget, zoning, and policy issues. She also worked in the Charlotte City Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was a legal counsel intern at SUU while pursuing her master’s degree.
As the years progressed, in the back of her mind she always knew that if the opportunity presented itself, she would like to run for public office and serve in the capacity of an elected official. Looking back shaking her head and smiling, Maile reflects on 2013 as the most unforgettable, yet beyond busy, year of her life. She had just graduated with her juris doctorate from the Charlotte School of Law and moved back to her hometown of Cedar City. Barely back in Utah for a few weeks and immersed in studying for the Utah Bar Exam, she made the decision to file to run for mayor of Cedar City. With the Utah Bar Exam being one week before the primary election, Maile quickly realized the challenges that she would face trying to juggle both studying and campaigning. To her relief, she passed the Utah Bar Exam and officially became a licensed attorney in Utah the week before the general election.
Although she never originally planned on running for office, at this point in her life she found herself at a crossroads where she realized that some of the issues she felt were important were not being discussed or addressed by those currently running for office. Maile has never been one to just sit back and complain about the outcome of a situation, instead, she has always believed that if you want to make a real impact you need to get involved in the process. On November 5, 2013, Maile made history when she was elected as the first female and youngest mayor in the history of Cedar City, Utah.
As mayor, Maile gets to help members of her community solve problems and work to make Cedar City the best city possible. She also loves working with the youth in her community and talking with them about the importance of education and following their dreams, no matter how crazy they may seem to others. Beyond the time spent with the residents of Cedar City, Maile strongly believes one of her critical roles as mayor is to promote her community to others throughout the region, state, and nation. This requires building relationships and working with all different types of individuals from all different backgrounds. Through these relationships and working to promote her city, Maile has the opportunity to work with both state and federal legislators to solve issues that people are faced with here in Cedar City.
In addition to the amazing experiences that come from working with our community members and youth, she has also had the opportunity to roll up her sleeves and learn firsthand from the different city departments about their roles within our city. From being attacked by a K-9 police dog, joining the fire department’s annual pack test while running multiple miles with a 45-pound pack on her back, and having lunch at the Cedar City Wastewater Treatment Plant upon its completion, to getting in the trenches during a waterline replacement, and everything in between. She has found it fascinating, educational, and more important to spend time learning from the best.
Maile often remarks at how fortunate she is because, in addition to being mayor, she is also an Associate at Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough Law Firm. Being able to serve her community while also practicing law is truly a dream come true.
While Maile did not tend to emphasize age or gender during her campaign, since being elected both subjects tend to be discussed as she is both the youngest and the first female mayor in Cedar City’s history. Her election has shown individuals of all ages, especially young females, that they can shoot for the stars, and if they want a particular career, not to let a perceived stereotype hold them back. In today’s society, age and gender do not have to be an obstacle for anyone’s chosen career path or life goals. Instead, Maile hopes her story has shown that everyone should go after their dreams and put stereotypes aside. We need to teach and show our youth, especially young women, that it is okay if they want to get an education, have a career, and have a family. There are no limits on what a woman can do merely because of their age or gender.
The Festival City has grown up with Maile, and she with it. She has had numerous honors during her time in office, including being named one of the top five Most Influential Women in Southern Utah; Utah Business Magazine, 30 Women to Watch; Attorney at Law Magazine, Attorneys to Watch in 2017; the Cedar City Area Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year; and Utah National Guard, Honorary Commander of the 65th Field Artillery Brigade.
Overall, Maile is honored to serve the residents of Cedar City as their mayor. She plans to continue her work in reaching out to make Cedar City a better place to live, work, raise a family, and enjoy our beautiful scenic area.