To 'make Sam proud': Ann Granato sworn in to fill late husband's spot on the Salt Lake County Council

Ann Granato said even when her husband, the late Salt Lake County Councilman Sam Granato, was diagnosed with cancer m...

Posted: Jun 11, 2018 5:10 AM
Updated: Jun 11, 2018 5:10 AM

Ann Granato said even when her husband, the late Salt Lake County Councilman Sam Granato, was diagnosed with cancer more than two years ago, he remained "the most optimistic person I had ever known."

"It had never occurred to him he wasn't going to be cured," she said.

But as the fight dragged on and his health continued to fail, she said her husband of 43 years eventually came to realize what was coming. But in the final days, he wasn't thinking about himself.

"The day before he died, when he finally accepted that he wasn't going to beat it, he just looked at (his senior policy adviser) and I and said, 'I need you two to take care of my people in my district,'" Ann Granato said.

"And we said, 'OK, Sam. Whatever you want.'"

So that's why Ann Granato says she sought the interim appointment from Democratic delegates, who on Monday chose her over former congressional candidate Darlene McDonald to fill the councilman's vacancy.

She was sworn in Tuesday by Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen amid an already busy week of meetings.

During the ceremony, Granato said she was thinking about her husband "every minute."

Later that same afternoon, she voted for the first time on a controversial zoning change that allowed a hotly contested development of nearly 8,800 homes near Herriman. Like the majority of the council, Granato voted to approve it, citing needs to accept higher density to be ready for rapid population growth over the next few decades.

Granato said she's "digging in" - though she already got her feet wet with county business when she began helping her husband print off materials and go over agendas through the last several months of his life.

Her goal: "Keep boots on the ground" and stay in touch with constituents, just like her husband did, she said.

"Serve, serve, serve," she said. "And make Sam proud."

But Granato's time in public service is just starting. Her interim appointment will run out at the end of the year - so she filed as a candidate Wednesday to face another election when the Democratic central committee will pick its party nominee for the Nov. 6 ballot.

The nominee will run against whatever nominee is picked by the GOP. Whoever wins the general election will serve out the remainder of Granato's term, which ends in 2020.

Aside from helping her husband, Granato hasn't served publicly, but she attributes her "lifelong" residency in Salt Lake County to her ability to "know what it takes to serve this district."

In addition to helping the Granato's family business chain of Italian delis and food imports, Granato has worked in health care, including for the University of Utah blood bank and Intermountain Healthcare. She currently works in Medicaid management care at the Utah Department of Health.

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