District 54 campaign: Glenn Wright says climate change is ‘no myth’
Glenn Wright’s Republican opponent in District 54 of the Utah House of Representatives often talks of being a reformer at the Statehouse and someone who does not always fall in line with the GOP.
But Wright, the Democratic candidate in District 54, does not agree with Kraig Powell’s assessment. Wright said Powell portrays himself as someone who is a moderate, but that is not the case. Powell, Wright said, has a voting record that is more conservative than the incumbent claims.
"He succumbs to pressure," Wright said about Powell, indicating the pressure comes from the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.
Wright, 66 years old and a Prospector resident, is the chairman of the Summit County Democratic Party. He has not held public office. He campaigned in District 53 in the House of Representatives in 2010, losing to Mel Brown. Wright now resides in District 54 as a result of the legislative map being redrawn after the 2010 census.
Wright said the Legislature has failed on various issues, including education funding, the environment and the expansion of Medicaid.
Wright said he wants the state to put 100 percent of the income taxes Utah collects toward education between kindergarten and 12th grade, returning to the funding in the 1990s.
He said he wants the state to pass legislation to more tightly restrict air pollution, preferring that Utah adopt regulations that exceed those mandated by the EPA. He said the state has not properly addressed the idea that the planet is warming. There could be devastating impacts in the legislative district, he said. There are concerns that a warming planet could someday impact the ski industry, which drives the Park City-area economy.
"Our policies on climate change are abysmal," Wright said, adding, "Climate change is going to destroy the economy of the Wasatch Back."
He also said climate change could harm the agriculture industry, another notable sector in the legislative district.
"It’s not a myth, no," Wright said about climate change.
Wright said the Legislature has left some Utahns behind, pointing to education funding and a failure to raise the state’s minimum wage.
Wright has generally fared better on Election Day in the Park City area, which has long supported Democratic candidates more than other parts of legislative districts. The Republican candidate, though, typically wins on Election Day with overwhelming support elsewhere in a district. District 54 includes Park City, a section of the Snyderville Basin and Wasatch County.
Wright said the campaign is winnable in 2014, explaining that turnout will drop since it is not a presidential-election year. Wright said he wants to give Democrats a reason to go to the polls this year. He said he is stumping in Wasatch County, the home county of his opponent. Wright said he is campaigning door-to-door in Wasatch County and has had information published in a newspaper there.
The Summit County precincts in District 54 are: Deer Valley, Old Town South, Prospector, Thaynes Canyon, Park Meadows South, Quarry Mountain, Upper Silver Creek, Highland Estates West, Ranch Place, Deer Valley South, Old Town North, Sidewinder, Bitner, Park Meadows North, Ranch Road South, Highland Estates East and Lower Silver Creek.
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The Summit County unemployment rate dropped slightly in October, the state Department of Workforce Services reported.