Park City candidates, in first gathering, could outline immigration stands |

Park City candidates, in first gathering, could outline immigration stands

The Marsac Building.
Park Record file photo

The Park City Council field is scheduled to appear together next week for the first time, gathering for a candidate forum that will be held as the primary election nears but also at a time when it seems the campaign itself has had difficulty seizing the attention of voters.

The seven candidates are competing in an Aug. 13 primary that will reduce the field to six for Election Day in November. There has been limited politicking in the six-plus weeks since the candidates filed required campaign paperwork at the Marsac Building. Campaign signs have appeared recently, but the contest has not yet seemed to reach a critical juncture even with the fate of one of the candidates to be decided shortly.

The candidates are:

The Park City unit of the League of Women Voters is hosting the candidate forum. Each of the seven candidates has accepted an invitation to participate, the organizers said. The event is open to the public.

Jill Lesh, the leader of the Park City unit of the League of Women Voters, said she anticipates issues like housing, transportation and immigration will be addressed.

“See the candidates together. How they respond. How they interact,” Lesh said about the importance of a candidate forum.

Housing and transportation are hotly debated issues at City Hall, and the municipal government regularly addressees those since they are priorities for the current set of elected officials. The candidates have at least broadly addressed the issues of housing and transportation, which are in some ways linked, but the forum could highlight the differences.

The prospects of the candidates addressing immigration, though, could be intriguing to the audience. The municipal government does not have a role in immigration policies since those are set in Washington, D.C., but the issue has long been critical to the community nonetheless. A large bloc of the Park City workforce is foreign, and changes in immigration policies could have broad impacts in the area.

Immigration is typically not an overriding issue in City Hall campaigns, but other topics like housing and the municipal government’s social equity programs are tied at least at some level to the subject. With immigration such a divisive issue nationally, the City Council candidates could win support from some voters or anger others even with City Hall having little role in crafting the policies.

Lesh said the topic of immigration could be broached in the context of the upcoming census in 2020. The crowd may want to learn how the candidates will encourage participation in the decennial count, she said, noting the importance of the census to federal-funding formulas. She said the candidates may address strategies to ensure the census takers find the “hard-to-count population,” such as immigrants.

The forum is scheduled the same day the Summit County Clerk’s Office is poised to send the ballots to registered voters in the vote-by-mail primary election. The ballots are expected to arrive within a few days of the forum.

The forum is scheduled from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday in the community room at the Park City Library. The first 30 minutes are set aside for the crowd to meet the candidates followed by a 90-minute moderated forum. Each of the candidates will be allotted two minutes for introductions and two minutes for closing statements. The audience will have the opportunity to submit questions for the moderator to ask the candidates.

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