Entering his sixth year on the Summit County Council, Dave Ure announced on Wednesday that he will seek re-election this November. A fourth-generation dairy farmer from Kamas, Ure is also the lone Republican on the current Council and serves as the voice of the East Side.
"It's taken a month to find out if I really have the fire in my belly [to run again]," Ure said. "Even though I represent the entire county, I feel the East Side of the county needs to be represented."
Ure said he opposes the Count My Vote initiative, which provides for a direct primary election for public offices and establishes a signature-gathering process for candidates to appear on a direct primary election ballot, among other things.
"If Count My Vote goes into place, I believe it will hurt rural Utah and the rural part of any county," Ure said. "The [candidate] with the biggest name recognition and money will win. He won't canvass the whole area."
Another issue important to Ure is working to harvest high-wildfire-risk fuels in the North Slope region that have been ravaged by bark beetles. Summit County is working with the state, Uintah County and the U.S. Forest Service to remove dead trees on hundreds of thousands of acres of ground in the area.
"If that area starts to burn, we'll never get it put out," Ure said. "It'll burn so out it'll sterilize the ground and it won't grow back for five to 10 years.
The runoff from a fire in the North Slope would also severely impact reservoirs and thus, part of the local water supply, Ure said. He added the county is applying for $500,000 from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands to start removing fuels there.
On the topic of open space, Ure said he's not sure whether he is "excited" about acquiring more, pointing to the fact that area school districts need a tax base from which to receive funding.
"I don't want to see a business on every square inch, but we do have to provide a way for our schools, for a tax base, that they can have the facilities in place to provide for our kids," Ure said.
Ure also envisions some development on the East Side, and said he is in conversations with residents in Echo to get a business park built. Sewer will also be brought to Echo, as it will be to Hoytsville, where he also sees development potential.
"There will be places for industry [in Hoytsville] and [sewer] will let farmers divide off lots for their kids," Ure said, adding that allowing farmers to continue to use and pass on their land through conservation easements is crucial.
Though maintaining the East Side's agricultural basis is important, Ure said, the idea of expanding tourism there is also gaining ground. He said he has worked with East Side towns to help them realize the importance events like the Tour of Utah can have.
"I've brought more peace to the East Side through the bicycle races," Ure said. "There's starting to be courtesy shown from bicyclists and the people on the East Side."
Ure said he always questions the proper role of government in balancing growth with the will of the people, and added he is confident that his presence on the Council has changed the outcome of many ordinances.
"Even though I'm the lone Republican and person on the East Side, the Council has always shown me great respect," Ure said. "The process of voicing my opinion has changed [the Council members'] thinking and changed ordinances."