Statehouse competitors prepare for first Park City appearance together |

Statehouse competitors prepare for first Park City appearance together

Democrat Rudi Kohler, left, and Republican Tim Quinn are competing in District 54 of the state House of Representatives. The two Wasatch County residents are scheduled to appear at a candidate event in Park City on Friday. It will be the first time they share a stage in Park City.

The two Wasatch County politicians campaigning in the state House of Representatives district that includes Park City are expected to participate in a candidate forum in the city on Friday, the first time they will appear together in front of a Park City crowd.

Tim Quinn, the Republican nominee, and Democrat Rudi Kohler are competing in District 54, which stretches through Park City and Heber City. They want to succeed the retiring Republican Kraig Powell. Quinn and Kohler are campaigning throughout the district, but the Friday event offers a rare opportunity for Park City voters to see them at the same time.

Their appearance is part of a candidate forum hosted by the Park City Board of Realtors. It will also include candidates for the Summit County Council. The event runs from 11:45 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library. It is a public event. Bob Richer, a Democrat who has held elected office in Park City and Summit County, will moderate the forum.

The two House of Representatives candidates are not widely known in the Park City part of the district. Neither of them hold elected office and neither has a history in Park City. The Park City area leans Democratic, but GOP voters in other parts of District 54 have long kept the seat Republican. Quinn is seen as the front-runner while Kohler would likely need to win the Park City side of the district by a wide margin in addition to securing solid returns in Wasatch County to win on Election Day.

The two anticipate addressing issues of importance to the real estate community on Friday since the audience is expected to be heavily weighted toward that industry.

Quinn said in an interview he does not intend to present himself differently in Park City than he does elsewhere. Quinn secured the Republican nomination by outflanking Powell to the right, a move that could have left some voters in Democratic-leaning Park City even less likely to support him.

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"I'm the same person in Wasatch County that I'll be in Park City," Quinn said, adding, "I'm not going to pander to the crowd."

Quinn described himself as a strong supporter of property rights, saying, as an example, there are "very few instances" when a government should use its power of eminent domain to take property from the private sector. He said he would oppose attempts to impose a tax on real estate transactions in the state. Quinn wants "government out of their lives and everyone else's lives."

Kohler, meanwhile, said he favors "reasonable regulation" of private property.

"Property rights come with restrictions. I don't believe anybody has unlimited property rights," Kohler said.

Kohler said he supports the preservation of historic districts, favors developments with a mix of uses like residential and commercial and argues that newer houses should be built "in the context of the community."

If a government uses eminent domain for the purpose of economic development, property owners whose land is taken should be compensated at above market value, he said. Kohler said a few property owners in a blighted area should not be allowed to block the economic-development prospects of the other owners.

The moderator on Friday said he wants to learn about the candidates' thought process. Richer said the "philosophic basis" of the campaigns will be important. He said the candidates in District 54 will likely address issues like education, transportation and public lands. He pledged to be a balanced moderator even with a Democratic background.

"Trying to get how they will represent us," Richer said about his planned questioning. "What the philosophic bent is."