Hobson announces intent to run
Chef can add a ‘non-windshield perspective’ to conversation
May 19, 2017
Josh Hobson says he has felt the effects of local growth in different ways from current Park City council members, and representing that experience has moved him to declare his intention to file.
"One thing that is immediately occurring in my work is the attrition rate due to the lack of [affordable] housing," he said. "I know a lot of people talk about it, but these are friends and coworkers of mine that do not live here anymore because they're paying Manhattan rents on a one-bedroom condo."
Hobson says he agrees with the city's current priorities of affordable housing and expanded transportation, and he chose to run to ensure Cindy Matsumoto's open seat could be filled by someone who upholds the same values. Although, as someone who rents an apartment, and has not owned a car since 2003, he said he probably has a "more intimate knowledge of the buses than council members do," and would rather see city plans on a more accelerated timeline.
"For a long time, I have advocated that buses should run longer into the night," he said. "All of the people in the service industry who work early morning or late nights miss that last bus, or are on the city-wide bus that takes 45 minutes to get them across town… which is three miles away."
Hobson grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, graduating from Lawrence University in Wisconsin and the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. He is a six-year resident of the area, living the last two years within Park City's boundaries. His professional life has been largely in the service industry, working as a chef at local resorts and restaurants, and currently as a chef and consultant on a freelance basis. He is a volunteer music host for KPCW Radio and organized the Park City March for Science this spring. He is also the secretary for the Summit County Democratic Party.
Getting out from behind the windshield of a car has exposed other challenges. "I'm a big proponent of things like public benches to help as Baby Boomers lose a little bit of mobility; [amenities like this] can help keep them healthy and active," he said.
Hobson also wants to be an ally to underrepresented populations in the community, specifically citing the 30-and-under and immigrant residents.
"I saw a lot [of people under 30 years old] show up for the caucus last year, and the voting rate in this county showed that a lot of them voted, but I don't see them engaged. I want to bring the process to them," he said.
Again, Hobson cites his service industry experience as the source for his interest in the immigrant population's role in the community. At his last restaurant job, he was only one of two native English speakers on the kitchen staff, and employed an interpreter during staff meetings.
"I really want to make sure the immigrant population, regardless of where they come from, are comfortable here. And that they don't feel they're targeted or that they exist outside of the community, but really are a part of what makes this town work," he said.
Hobson will cut back on an extended multi-state cycling trip to make it back in time to file. The official filing window opens June 1 and runs through June 7. Participating now is a high priority for him.
"This is the time to take our citizenship seriously," he said. "You don't have to be a superhero in order to run for city council; it just takes being a citizen."