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Joshua Hoggan has had a lot of news coverage lately, because the 18-year-old Weber State University freshman was a running candidate for Roy City mayor. However, he failed to make it through the primary election held in the beginning of this month.
Hoggan’s campaign battled negative media attention over his 2012 bomb threat to Roy High School, which landed him in juvenile detention for six months and a felony charge of Utah Code 76-10-402, being “a person who without lawful authority intentionally or knowingly . . . solicits the use of, or conspires to use a weapon of mass destruction” (quoted from Utah.gov).
Megan Wehrman, one of Hoggan’s best friends and the person who turned him in to the police, said he started texting her the evening before his arrest. She thought it was just two friends talking about the difficulties of life until Hoggan’s texts started getting more detailed and she decided to go to the authorities, not just to keep Roy High students safe but to help her friend.
Hoggan said it was not his intent to scare anyone, but that he was trying to bring awareness to the security issues schools face and how easy it would be to make Roy High a target for terrorism. Jeff Caralle, a longtime friend of the family, said he believes everything was blown out of proportion, but that it’s always better to be safe.
“I am a supporter of Josh,” Caralle said. “Josh is just more intelligent than most people know . . . he’s just got a personality that is different than you and I . . . he doesn’t accept no, he will never accept no; he wants to know why.”
Even with his campaign plagued with bad publicity, Hoggan said he won’t be discouraged from working toward his dream of being mayor.
“When I was young I told myself, ‘When I turn 18, I’m going to make BIG changes, and I’m going to be the mayor of wherever I am living.’”
Even though he lost the primary election, Hoggan said he feels his 45 votes were a push in a positive direction. Wehrman said she thinks the younger population is still struggling with what Hoggan did, but that the main view among older people in Roy is people make mistakes, especially young people.
“I may have been the one to turn him in, but I will support him in any forward movement he tries to achieve,” Wehrman said. She said she wants people to know Hoggan is trying to make positive progress from his mistakes.
Hoggan and Wherman are now teaming up to develop a nonprofit organization, the National School Violence Prevention Group.
“This is an issue we all feel strongly about,” Hoggan said. They are still in the beginning phases of the project but hope to launch it by the summer of 2014.
Hoggan said that, growing up in Roy, he realized how diverse the city is and would like to see the city strive for acceptance for all community members by implementing diversity and equality classes for everyone interested, but focusing a lot of attention toward the youth population.
When discussing his intentions for if he had been elected mayor, Hoggan talked about the city of Roy going green, and said he still wants to work toward such a movement.
“There is no reason our city should not follow that standard,” he said. “There’s no reason Roy can’t be the first in Utah.”
Hoggan’s dreams of becoming mayor might be on hold while he gains some age, life experience and employment experience. However, he has a tentative plan to run for Roy City Council in 2015, although his main focus at this time is the prevention group.
“I just want to see changes made in the city,” Hoggan said. “Change is good for a society.”