Senate District 26: challenger stumps on clean air, clean water |

Senate District 26: challenger stumps on clean air, clean water

Wayne Stevens spent his career working on federal lands.

And issues related to the environment are important planks in his platform as he seeks the seat in District 26 of the state Senate.

Stevens, who is 60 years old and lives in Vernal, is the Democratic candidate in District 26, which runs from the Park City area to the Uinta Basin. He is retired from the federal Bureau of Land Management. He was a land manager and a law enforcement officer for the bureau. He has never sought elected office.

His top issues include protecting drinking water and ensuring clean air. Stevens said he wants the Utah Legislature to give local governments more authority to protect drinking water. He also wants state leaders to allow local governments to more strictly regulate air pollution than Utah does.

"It’s all about the air and water," Stevens said.

Stevens has monitored the discussions about a proposed oil pipeline in the region. Tesoro Refining and Marketing LLC wants to build a pipeline from the Uinta Basin production facilities to refineries in the Salt Lake Valley. Some in Summit County are concerned about the potential impacts on the environment of the Uinta Express Pipeline.

He said he prefers a pipeline over other delivery options like a railroad or trucks, which would use U.S. 40. The pipeline is the best option, but a route should not travel close to a water source, he said.

Stevens, meanwhile, said he wants to reduce the number of students in each classroom in the state. He said he would like the ratio to be 20 students for every one teacher or lower. He acknowledged he is unsure how to fund the hiring of more teachers to reach to the 20-to-1 ratio he desires.

He said his campaign and background align well with the Park City portion of the Senate district. He said land management is important as communities attract visitors, whether it is skiing in the Park City area or hunting and fishing in the eastern portions of the district.

"I’m more in line with the tourism economy because people need space to recreate," Stevens said.

Democrats running in state Senate districts that include Park City and portions of the Snyderville Basin typically perform better in those parts of the district than elsewhere. The Democratic candidates, though, have difficulty elsewhere in the district in contests that tilt Republican. Stevens is seeking to unseat Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, the incumbent Republican.

The Summit County precincts in District 26 are: Thaynes, Upper Pinebrook, Deer Valley North, Deer Valley South, Francis, Highland Estates East, Highland Estates West, Kamas, Lower Pinebrook, Oakley, Old Town North, Old Town South, Park West, Peoa, Park Meadows North, Park Meadows South, Promontory Ridge, Prospector, Quarry Mountain, Ranch Road South, Ranch Place, Sidewinder, Silver Springs, Snyder’s Mill, South Summit East, South Summit West, South Summit South and Weber Canyon.

Outside of Summit County, the district stretches across all or parts of Daggett, Duchesne, Uintah and Wasatch counties.

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