February 23, 2008
Judging by the unusual level of interest in this year’s presidential primaries, it looks like Americans finally are shaking off layers of political apathy and skepticism.
We are hoping their newfound enthusiasm filters down to the local elections, too.
In two weeks, the Summit County clerk will begin signing up candidates to run for all five seats on the new county council. But the filing window is only open for a short 10-day period.
Granted, March is not a time of year when citizens are normally tuned in to politics, but this year may be different. After all, more than 7,000 Summit County voters trudged to the polls in February to be counted in the Western States Presidential Primary. If just a sliver of those citizens stay involved over the next few weeks, residents will have a worthy bunch of candidates to chose from in November.
Summit County policymakers have the potential to influence the health and welfare of every community in Summit County – perhaps more so than ever, as those elected next fall will set the tone for the new form of government. They will be the first to select a county manager, to forge a relationship with elected department heads and to split up responsibilities five ways rather than three.
Like the presidential candidates, the county council candidates will have to define their differences, debate and argue and then, once elected, pull the electorate back together.
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Because Summit County’s races are partisan, it is likely that local party leaders are already scouring the landscape for candidates. But entrenched politicos may not be looking in the right places. It is critical that residents of all party persuasions, including Independent, Green, Libertarian and unaffiliated turn up their political radar and encourage qualified friends, neighbors and family to consider running for office.
Interested candidates who do not want to run on the Republican or Democratic ticket will also need to submit a nominating petition within the filing window to qualify for the ballot.
On March 7-17 the Summit County clerk will also accept filing applications for several seats on the North Summit, South Summit and Park City school boards.
For more information, call Summit County Clerk Kent Jones, (435) 615-3203.