MEET BILLY PALMER
Raised on SLC's westside, Billy Palmer is running for City Council to serve our neighborhoods by empowering our community, building bridges, and amplifying voices across the westside.
Born on Salt Lake City’s westside, Billy was raised by a single mother in a black, mixed-race family of six. Billy and his family struggled financially, facing poverty, evictions, and homelessness several times during his formative years. A number of times, Billy and his family lived in their car until they could find their next home.
Billy began working at sixteen to help his family pay household bills. He obtained his first job through a NeighborWorks prevention program for at-risk youth called YouthWorks. Billy's first job carried the title “Community Builder” and in that job Billy learned the professional skills used to revitalize and beautify neighborhoods through various home building and renovation projects. A strong believer in giving back, Billy still serves on the Steering Committee for YouthWorks.
Billy attended South High when the district closed the school and he graduated from East High (where most students from the Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods have been attending ever since). After high school, Billy found work in construction and odd jobs for the next few years.
In his late twenties, Billy began two new career paths at the same time: one as a business owner, promoting live music and dance, and the other working in film and television production. While his business only lasted five years, his work with the SLC-based “Touched by an Angel” TV series gave him a new set of skills. In addition to the technical production work that would serve him in his own film making and later in radio, he also developed skills as a liaison between the film crew and the community.
As Billy settled into his film career and family life, he also decided to renew his role as a community builder. He returned to volunteer with NeighborWorks and their YouthWorks program, serving in several leadership roles over the past twenty years. Whether it was working to develop youth intervention strategies or increasing homeownership throughout the Westside, Billy has continued doing this work because it has improved our neighborhoods, inspired our young people, and empowered our community.
Billy also considers social justice advocacy as part of the work to empower our community. He has co-chaired the Utah Poor Peoples Campaign, organized for Racially Just Utah, and worked on many community-based advocacy efforts focused on poverty, violence prevention, and equity issues over the years.
Beyond volunteer service and advocacy efforts, Billy has devoted years working on city issues and policies that impact our neighborhoods. He served on the city’s Westside Master Plan Steering Committee (2011-2012), a process that outlined a vibrant future for the westside. Billy also represented westside neighborhoods for six years on the city’s Community Development Capital Improvement Program Citizen Advisory Board (2012-2017). Billy also served in leadership roles on the Glendale Community Council (2016-2019).
Those that have worked with Billy know that he works to find common ground and always puts our community first. In widely celebrated community projects, Billy’s work has been well known, like the 2013 Sandlot & the Sandlot event, which brought Billy’s passions of film and community together.
Other efforts were done out of the spotlight, however, such as Billy’s role pressing the city to invest in our westside neighborhoods. Billy pushed the city to make repairs and improvements in the Peace Gardens and Jordan Park. Billy ensured the Sorenson Multicultural Center had a new HVAC system and backup generator. Billy fought for the TRAX line to run down North Temple (originally it was planned to use existing rail lines along the Union Pacific routes).
Billy could not do this work alone, of course. Relationships matter. Billy has been building bridges both within our community and across our city through his years of devoted service to our westside community.
After years being a voice for the community, Billy found a way to lift other voices that needed to be heard. With his production experience and his history of community involvement, Billy found a role as host and associate producer of KRCL’s RadioACTive, a community affairs program.
The radio show allowed Billy to amplify community voices that often go unheard, partner with westside advocates to strengthen their causes, and include westsiders in serious conversations about our city. The show resonated with the community and was awarded the Best Public Affairs Show on Radio by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Now, Billy is running for City Council as a greater way to amplify voices, build bridges, and empower our community. If you don’t already know Billy, we’ll be campaigning hard to meet as many community members as we can. You can also reach out to the campaign on this site or on our social media. Billy would love to hear from you.