City and newspaper team up to offer tips on civic participation
Voters typically don’t pay much attention to the political process until after Labor Day when candidates start campaigning in earnest. But those who are close to the process know that the groundwork for November’s general election is laid in the spring.
This year, those who want to run for municipal or special service district elected positions must officially declare their candidacy between July 1 and July 15. That means citizens should start thinking now about whether they want to be on the ballot in November.
To help local residents make that decision, The Park Record and Park City Municipal Corp. are offering a seminar entitled Public Service 101 this Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at The Yarrow. The goal is to help regular citizens understand the political process and to encourage them to be more involved in their local government.
This year, three seats on each of the town councils in the county and several spots on each of the elected special service district boards, including the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District, the South Summit Fire District and Special Service District #3, are also slated for elections.
In small cities and towns like those in Summit County, these elected posts are generally held by regular citizens who are driven by interest in particular issues or by a sense of civic duty to their communities.
But committing to launch a campaign and to make decisions about potentially controversial issues can be daunting. On Thursday a panel of experts will discuss some of those challenges and how to meet them head on.
Shauna Kerr, who has served on both the Park City Council and the Summit County Commission, will talk about the emotional aspects of being in the public eye and Christa Graff of Graff Public Relations will offer some basic strategy tips on how to run a locally-based campaign.
For those who are already thinking about next year’s county and state elections, Henry Glasheen and Glenn Wright, who head up the county’s Republican and Democratic parties respectively will dissect the partisan process, including how to navigate neighborhood caucuses and the county and state conventions. Also, Summit County Clerk Kent Jones will outline the requirements for filing to run for office and some of the rules regarding campaign contributions and disclosure requirements.
The event will also highlight a wide array of other ways citizens can participate in local government such as serving on advisory boards and commissions. Park City Manager Tom Bakaly and Summit County Manager Bob Jasper have assembled a list of appointed posts and will explain some of their eligibility requirements and responsibilities.
Some of those positions, which include seats on the influential city and county planning commissions, can serve as stepping stones for future political involvement while others, including participation on recreation and art advisory boards, allow citizens to help shape programs and facilities that impact their neighborhoods.
Participants will have a chance to talk to the panelists in smaller groups at the end of the evening.
The event is free. Political newcomers or people who just want to find a way to be more involved in the community are encouraged to attend.
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