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Democrats will face off in June primary

There will be a primary election in June to decide who will represent the Democrats in November in the race for state House District 25.

The district includes a chunk of the Snyderville Basin and neighborhoods on the east side of Salt Lake County.

Delegates at the state Democratic convention on Saturday picked Joel Briscoe and Anthony Kaye to face off for the party’s nomination in a June 22 runoff. Briscoe received nearly 55 percent of the votes.

"One thing I bring to this race is experience in government and experience in getting things done," Briscoe said.

Briscoe is the executive director of the Davis Education Association, which lobbies state lawmakers on behalf of teachers. The Salt Lake City resident is a former public school teacher who served on the Salt Lake City Board of Education.

The equalization of school funding is the issue that concerns some Snyderville Basin voters the most, according to Briscoe.

Several state lawmakers have pushed legislation that has threatened to siphon millions of dollars away from schools in Summit County to redistribute to poorer schools throughout the state.

"I’ve been following that process for the last two years," Briscoe said.

His experience as an educator will help him fight the attempts by legislators to equalize school funding, Briscoe said.

However, educators in the past have not always accomplished much in their efforts to secure more money for public schools, said Kaye, who is an attorney in Salt Lake City.

"I think somebody with the advocacy skills and negotiating skills of a lawyer has a better chance of finding the money," Kaye said.

Only one Democrat in the Legislature is an attorney, Kaye said.

"I don’t think it’s teaching experience, and experience in lobbying around education issues that is going to make you a successful and effective advocate," Kaye said. "The Legislature’s business is lawmaking and that’s what lawyers are trained to do."

People in the Snyderville Basin are concerned about the impact a new charter school in the Park City area will have on the budget for the Park City School District, said Kaye.

"Charter schools are one of the things that we have to really seriously reevaluate," he said. "People have to start thinking long and hard about whether or not we want to continue funding charter schools. They drain money away from the current system."

The liberal makeup of District 25 means the Democrat who wins the primary election has a strong chance of defeating Salt Lake Republican Rick Raile on Election Day. Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, did not seek another term this year.

"The leadership of Summit County has been very clear. They look to this legislator to help look after their interests, and that’s totally appropriate," Briscoe said. "They want quality public schools, they want quality higher education and they want a more progressive energy grid. They want more money spent on mass transit and less money spent on sprawl."

Other convention news

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon was nominated by the Democrats to take on Republican Gov. Gary Herbert in the governor’s race in November. Democrats picked businessman Sam Granato as their choice for U.S. Senate and Morgan Bowen will face Republican Congressman Rob Bishop in the race in Utah’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Summit County.

Democrats nominated Park City resident Glenn Wright in the race for state House District 53.


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