Lawyer says Democrats need stronger advocates on the Hill
The liberal makeup of state House District 25 gives the Democrat who wins the June 22 primary a strong chance of defeating the Republican candidate in November.
Democrats Anthony Kaye and Joel Briscoe are facing off in the runoff election this month. The winner will go up against Salt Lake City Republican Rick Raile in November.
Kaye, 45, said this is his first time running for political office.
"District 25 is a complete Democratic stronghold It’s an extremely liberal district," Kaye said. "It puts a big responsibility on whoever wins this race to be a really big advocate for getting other Democrats elected to office."
Kaye pledged to campaign hard for other Democrats if he receives his party’s nomination next week. He supports Democrat Peter Corroon in Corroon’s quest to become governor.
The state Legislature is largely Republican; and about four more Democrats in the House of Representatives, and two more in the state Senate, would let Democrats overcome Capitol Hill’s powerful GOP super-majority, Kaye said.
"If Corroon gets elected, that would mean Republicans could not override a veto by Corroon," Kaye explained in an interview over coffee at Kimball Junction. "When you have a Legislature that’s overwhelmingly dominated by one political party, it creates polarization and it enables the party in control to try to do whatever it wants without giving much thought at all to how it impacts the people."
In Summit County, he said, the
political boundaries are some of the most "gerrymandered" in the state.
Republicans, a decade ago, weakened the influence of the liberal-leaning community on state politics by slicing Summit County into two House districts, Kaye said.
Some people who live in the Snyderville Basin are in District 25, which also includes neighborhoods in Salt Lake City. Other voters in Summit County are in District 53, which is a more conservative place that includes areas of Rich, Morgan, Wasatch and Daggett counties.
"I’ve been doing a lot of canvassing in Summit County," Kaye said. "A lot of people are concerned about gerrymandering."
Gerrymandering occurs when members of a dominant party have enough influence over state politics to approve political maps that help them get re-elected, Kaye said.
"People in Summit County don’t feel that they are getting a fair shake when it comes to having a representative in the Legislature," Kaye said. "Our maps look ridiculous District 25 is predominantly in Salt Lake City."
State lawmakers will change the political boundaries in Utah after the 2010 Census.
"When we go through that process, I would advocate very strongly that Summit County be a community of interest and that it have its own representative," said Kaye, who is an attorney.
With only a small handful of lawyers serving in the state Legislature, voters would benefit from having his strong advocacy skills, Kaye said.
"The Republicans have passed a lot of unconstitutional message bills," he said. "I am a trained advocate I would try to prevent legislation that is vague and ambiguous from becoming law."
"I’ve obviously got a deep understanding of the law, how it works and how it gets used on a daily basis," Kaye said.
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Sen. Allen Christensen, one of the two men to represent Summit County in the State Senate, announced he will not seek another term after 16 years in office.