Future Park City invites young adults to Summit County Council candidate forum
October 25, 2016
As a local watchdog organization Future Park City has delved into several community issues including the trademark conflict with Park City Mountain Resort and the proposed Treasure development, co-founders Angela Moschetta and Sarah Berry say they have noticed a trend emerging at most of the meetings.
"It is really the same people who seem to be showing up and expressing opinions and sharing in the conversations," Moschetta said. "We thought: how do we engage a younger audience, especially when you consider our group is called Future Park City? We would like young adults to have a more active role in local politics because they seem to affect our lives more than those on a national level do."
To encourage a broader participation in local politics among young voters this election, Moschetta and Berry decided Future Park City would host a Summit County Council candidate forum Park City-style: at a bar on Main Street with Halloween costumes and cocktails.
Doors for the Spooky County Council Candidate Forum and Voter Registration event are scheduled to open at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Flanagan's On Main, 438 Main Street. The event is free and open to anyone 21 years and older.
Beginning at around 7 p.m., Moschetta and Berry will moderate a panel discussion with the candidates before opening the forum up to questions from the audience. Organizers are expecting more than 30 people to attend.
"I think this is where we will see their (candidate) personalities come through as much as their politics," Moschetta said.
This year, four seats are open on the five-member council, including the seats currently held by incumbents Roger Armstrong, Kim Carson, Claudia McMullin and Tal Adair. Armstrong and Carson are running unopposed.
Republican Colin DeFord and Doug Clyde, a Democrat, are contending for the seat currently held by McMullin, who decided not to run for a third term. Summit County Democratic Party Chair Glenn Wright is challenging Adair for the remaining two years left on former councilor Dave Ure's term. All of the candidates are expected to attend and were encouraged to wear costumes.
Moschetta and Berry will ask the candidates about several issues, such as affordable housing, transportation and sustainability.
"Younger people are reluctant to participate because they feel the system is so broken and nothing can be done," Moschetta said. "We have a lot of people who are really vocal about what happens in town and we would love to see more people actually get involved in the conversation. It blows my mind that the people who are really advocating for a better Park City on behalf of future generations are retired and well into their 60s and 70s.
"I think it would be really inspiring and good for everyone to get a younger demographic as involved as some of our long-term citizens," she said.
The event will also provide an opportunity for on-site voter registration. Sarah Scott, a representative of Voterise, a nonprofit organization committed to increasing voter registration and turnout among 18 to 29 year olds and other underrepresented groups, will be available to register new voters online. Voterise co-founders Dick and Elsa Gary live in Park City, along with several other board members.
"Voterise started in July of this year, where we decided to use Utah as our starting point and will be focusing on growing nationally after this presidential election," Scott said in an email to The Park Record. "Statistically speaking, Park City has the highest concentration of registered voters in the state.
"But Utah has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country and only 8 percent of individuals under 30 turned out to vote," Scott said. "One of the major factors of low-voter turnout, is our polarizing political scene. People tend to take things as they are without questioning issues deeper, which is why we so desperately need these candidate forums."
Many mail-in ballots were delivered to voters who have already registered. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Nov. 1. The return ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 7, the day before the General Election.
"We are really excited for this event. Any time we can get a group of different perspectives, together in one room, you can guarantee there will be a good discussion," Scott said. "Voterise will be helping out because it is non-partisan and because we need to not only promote discussion, but awareness of getting out to vote, starting with voter registration."
Doors for the Spooky County Council Candidate Forum and Voter Registration event are scheduled to open at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Flanagan's On Main, 438 Main Street. Costumes are encouraged. For more information, visit Future Park City's Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/200370983728338/