Democrat touts his experience living off the land | ParkRecord.com

Democrat touts his experience living off the land

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A Snyderville Basin Democrat who is vying for a two-year term on the new Summit County Council says he has a rich history of ranching and living off the land.

Having throttled his opponent at the convention last spring, Robinson hopes high voter turnout among Democratic faithful will propel him to victory on Election Day.

"The reason I wanted to do this job is to do something I’ve always wanted to do that, frankly, is a new challenge for me. It’s new territory and it’s outside my comfort zone," Robinson said in an interview in Park City Tuesday. "The whole thing of being in the public arena where every word is parsed and every statement scrutinized, the whole thing is about challenge and I think the experiences I’ve had will be very beneficial in dealing with what may come."

Robinson, who owns an interest in almost 60,000 acres of land in eastern Summit County, has spent his career in ranching and real-estate development. He owns The Ensign Group development firm which is based in Davis County.

" I think my understanding of what it takes to make a buck running cattle and farming land is one of the pluses for my running, because I can understand the East Side of the county," Robinson said.

He faces Park City Republican Alison Pitt and Jeremy Ranch resident Gary Shumway, a member of the Constitution Party, in the race for Summit County Council seat D. The form of government in the county will change next year to a five-member council/manager model after the current three-person County Commission disbands in December.

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With its abundant natural resources, Robinson said Summit County has become a "magnet for a lot of other people and somewhat a victim of its own success."

"The biggest issues have to do with everything surrounding growth. How do we grow in a sustainable way that allows us to keep this great quality of life that we have while at the same time allowing for the expression of private property rights?" Robinson asked. "Some of the adverse byproducts of growth are traffic and congestion."

So plans are needed to expand road infrastructure and bus service in the county, Robinson said.

"Those remain a big issue," he said.

Meanwhile, the national economy is in upheaval and Robinson said his business experience would serve the taxpayers if they elect him Nov. 4.

"I bring to the table years of private business where I have had to operate within my means and have had to meet a payroll to keep progressing," Robinson said. "I’ve had really a very broad experience in business."

And with conservation more important than ever Robinson said his experience handling water rights and studying water law in Utah lends to his expertise.

"I understand water law and I understand the operation of a mutual water company," Robinson said.

The portioning of water throughout Utah has allowed high mountain deserts in Summit County to bloom, he explained.

"Now the paradigm needs to shift to where we need to use our resources much more wisely," Robinson said. "That’s something we need to be mindful of and it’s more and more center plate."

He was a member of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee prior to the 2002 Olympics and has served as a board member at the Nature Conservancy of Utah and Swaner Nature Preserve.

Robinson boasts that a conservation easement held by the state Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands preserved about 10,000 acres he owns in North Summit near Coalville.

Elected officials shouldn’t participate in decisions which could benefit them financially so Robinson said he will recuse himself should conflicts of interest arise in council debates.

"It’s been very humbling to me to see the groundswell of support that I have had," Robinson said. "The public trust is a very sacred thing and it’s an honor to be given a chance to hold that."

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