Seasoned judge to try hand at politics
September 3, 2013
Campaigns for the upcoming municipal election in November officially kicked off on Labor Day, but at least one potential candidate is already thinking about November 2014. Silver Springs resident Robert Hilder recently announced he plans to run as a Democratic candidate for Summit County Attorney. That post is currently held by David Brickey, who said he intends to run for another term.
In an interview with The Park Record about his decision to run, Hilder said, "It is not about Dave Brickey or about the people in the office."
"My interest is, for 40 years now, 30 with Bob (former Summit County Attorney Bob Adkins), eight with Dave Brickey, we haven’t had a head of the office who is significantly engaged in the civil work."
According to Hilder the county attorney’s responsibilities cover prosecution of state crimes and also advising the county council and department heads on all civil-litigation matters.
Hilder said that in recent years the elected county attorney’s office has been divided into two separate divisions: a prosecution side, which is headed up by the elected county attorney, and a civil division headed up by a non-elected Chief Civil deputy. If elected, Hilder says he would consolidate those responsibilities.
"The civil area is extremely important, whether it is big tourist development, whether it is density issues, whether it is water, whether it is the environment, there needs to be very strong counsel to the county council," he said.
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Hilder’s experience as a former District Court judge in Summit County, in addition to recent work in arbitration and mediation, he said, gives him a substantial background in many of the civil issues facing Summit County. As judge Hilder presided over the lawsuit between the county and Summit Water, and also ruled in the case between American Skiing Company and Wolf Mountain, among many other complex water- and development-related issues.
Hilder said he believes that stronger legal counsel could help the county avoid protracted and expensive litigation in the future.
"We need a better system for vetting the cases we go to court on," he added.
As to his decision to run on the Democratic side of the ticket, Hilder explained: "I am a working class kid I am fundamentally a Democrat. There is no natural home for me in the Republican Party, certainly not in the Utah Republican Party. He added, though, "I had not declared anything in my life until 2012 and I have always voted a split ticket."
While he is not ready to start campaigning, Hilder said he wanted to make his intentions known early, adding that his potential rival, Brickey, was the first person he called about his decision.
The official filing period for the county races in 2014 will not take place until March. Next year all seven of Summit County’s department head positions (sheriff, attorney, assessor, treasurer, clerk, auditor and recorder) will be up for election as well as two seats on the county council.