Democrats rip the GOP at Park City convention
April 20, 2010
Democratic candidates at the county party’s convention on Saturday delivered a strong message to delegates about what they believe is wrong with government in one of the nation’s reddest states.
But no local races were being decided that afternoon.
"Our Legislature is led by a group of people who are power hungry and corrupt," Summit County Democratic Party Chairman Glenn Wright told convention-goers, referring to the overwhelmingly Republican body.
Wright is campaigning this year to represent District 53 in the state House of Representatives. The seat, which includes most of Summit County, is currently held by North Summit Republican Mel Brown.
The state needs stricter campaign fund-raising rules for candidates vying for state offices, Wright said.
The nominating convention for the Summit County Democratic Party was held at the Legacy Lodge at Park City Mountain Resort.
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"It is going to be a good year for Democrats in the state," Wright said at the meeting. "The Republicans are in the process of self destruction."
The convention crowd also heard from Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, a Democrat who is campaigning for governor. Corroon is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Gary Herbert. He said Herbert is the most conservative Utah governor ever.
Corroon criticized Herbert for getting chummy with members of the right-wing Tea Party movement at political rallies this month.
And fixing the troubled economy has not been a priority for state leaders, Corroon added.
"We’re in the worst economic shape that we have been in in decades," Corroon said.
He blasted state lawmakers for the time they spent debating so-called message bills at this year’s legislative session when shoring up the economy should have been on the front burner.
"We have foreclosures," Corroon said. "The first-quarter filings are up 75 percent from last year."
Meanwhile, this year the state Legislature ignored the needs of public education by refusing to provide funding for new students who will enter the school system next year.
"We need a strong education system," Corroon said.
Republicans in Utah are also weak when it comes to protecting the environment, he said.
"Our state leaders are not planning for our future," Corroon said. "That is not something we should accept."
As governor, Corroon pledged he would not allow Utah to become the nation’s dumping ground for radioactive waste.
"We need to create a renewable-energy economy in Utah," Corroon said. "It’s time to get out of Fantasyland. It’s time to get back to reality. It’s time to get back to basics."
Other candidates at the convention took shots at the federal government. Christopher Stout is a Salt Lake City Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah.
"I’m running to get the special interests out of the U.S. Senate," Stout said. "I will end ‘too big to fail.’"
Salt Lake City Democrat Sam Granato is running against Stout for the Democrat’s Senate nomination.
"The whole situation in Washington has gotten out of hand, let alone our own state and the stuff that goes on there," Granato said.
When Congress passed the health reform bill they took only "baby steps" toward fixing health care in the United States, Granato said.
"The insurance premiums are breaking the back and pretty much crushing small business throughout this nation," Granato said.
According to Wright, Stout or Granato would "be an improvement over the nominee we are going to get out of the Republican state convention in a few weeks."
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, represents Summit County in the 1st Congressional District. Bishop faces a challenge this year from Morgan Bowen, a Democrat from Hyde Park.
"Our congressman, Rob Bishop, is the earmark king of Utah," Bowen said.
The corporations that donate the most money to Bishop’s campaign receive the best treatment from the congressman, Bowen said.
"That’s what I call ‘paying to play,’" he said. "Let’s take [Bishop] and throw him overboard this time."
In the race for state Senate District 26, Park City Democrat Paul Dowland is challenging incumbent state Sen. Kevin Tassell, a Vernal Republican who represents the Park City area.
The state convention for the Democrats is scheduled at the Salt Palace Convention Center May 8. Democrats are poised this year to do well in the elections because Republicans have been dishonest with Americans, said Wayne Holland, chairman for the Utah Democratic Party.
"The absolute lies [Republicans] will tell, straight-faced, is amazing," Holland said.
Democrats at Saturday’s convention also nominated their candidates for the Summit County offices on the November ballot. Candidates vying for the elected offices in the County Courthouse include:
— Summit County Council seat D: Chris Robinson
— Summit County Council seat E: KayCee Simpson
— County assessor: Steve Martin
— County auditor: Blake Frazier
— County clerk: Kent Jones
— County Recorder: Alan Spriggs
— County sheriff: Dax Shane
— County treasurer: Corrie Kirklen