Candidates line up to vie for county offices
February 15, 2008
Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer says he is leaning toward campaigning for a seat on the
new Summit County Council Nov. 4.
"If I run, it would probably be for one of the two-year seats," Richer said in a telephone interview.
"With the change in form of government coming on, it’s very important that it’s implemented properly, and I have been involved with that since day one."
The three-person Summit County Commission will disband this year after voters elect five people to serve on the new County Council. The form of government in Summit County will change after voters elected to pick five partisan councilpersons who will hire a manager to oversee the government’s executive functions.
"It will become a reality and I think everyone should hope that it is successful. If I run again, it’s largely because I want to spend the next two years doing what I can to make it successful," Richer said about the change.
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Richer is in his second term and strongly supported enacting the council/manager form of government.
"We need that professional expertise and we need more help at the top of the decision-making pyramid," Richer said. "No one likes big government. You have to be cognizant of what has occurred in the Snyderville Basin, but also what will be occurring in the Kamas Valley and other parts of the county."
Richer lists helping to stabilize the county’s Mountain Regional Water Special Service District among accomplishments during his eight years in office.
"The construction this year will be complete for the pipeline into the Basin, and that gives us a supply of water looking 10 to 15 years into the future," Richer said.
Long-range transit and transportation plans were also adopted on his watch, Richer said.
"We are doing something, it’s just the fixes take a long time," he explained about reducing traffic gridlock.
Richer said he was also instrumental in forming the Basin Open Space Advisory Committee and passing a bond to purchase land to preserve as open space.
"It’s been a tough market and the market may be changing," Richer said about real estate in Park City. "We’ve got some offers out there and we hope that we’re successful this year spending some of the bond monies."
Council seats A, B and C are four-year terms. The winners of seats D and E will each serve for two years.
Summit County Democratic Party spokesman Patrick Cone said about five people have shown interest in running for council.
"We’ll see where that goes," Cone said in a telephone interview.
Democratic Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said she will run for another term. But County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme, a Democrat, says he retire from the board.
Meanwhile, on the state level, Rep. Mel Brown, the incumbent Coalville Republican who represents District 53, says he plans to seek re-election this year. Summit County is split between two Statehouse districts, with District 53 encompassing most of the county. State representatives are elected to two-year terms.
"I would like to see somebody run [against Brown] who would represent our needs better," Cone said. "I don’t know who that is. I don’t think it’s me."
Rep. Christine Johnson, a Salt Lake City Democrat who represents parts of the Snyderville Basin in District 25, said she will seek a second term in office.
And most voters in eastern Summit County will elect a state senator for District 19 this year. The seat is currently held by Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. will run for a second term in office, Huntsman spokeswoman Lisa Roskelley said.
"I don’t think we have any opponents right now, so his focus right now is just on governing," Roskelley said. "He certainly does enjoy the benefit of being an incumbent."
Election Day Utah voters will also choose a lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor and treasurer.
Federal offices on the ballot in November include president and vice president and the 1st Congressional District seat belonging to Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.
Bishop spokesman Scott Parker said the congressman will campaign for another term.
The filing window to run for office is open March 7-17.
For more information, call Summit County Clerk Kent Jones. From the West Side his number is 615-3203. From North Summit, the number is 336-3203. People in South Summit can call 783-4451, extension 3203. Additional information is available on the County Clerk’s section of Summit County’s Web site, http://www.summitcounty.org/clerk/elections.html