Summit County Councilor Kim Carson, longtime public official, will not seek reelection
Summit County Councilor Kim Carson has announced she will not seek another term and will instead step down after eight years on the council at the end of her term, capping two decades of public service that started in the Park City School District and grew to include positions with statewide impact.
“It’s been an incredible privilege, it really has, and it wasn’t an easy decision,” Carson said. “But I feel like it’s the right decision for me at this time.”
She described the job as demanding but rewarding, working long hours to prepare for and attend meetings and always being “on the clock.”
“I don’t want that to detract from how honored I’ve been to be able to serve the citizens of Summit County,” she said. “It’s exciting, it’s interesting (and there’s) always something new to learn, even after two terms.”
Carson’s term will expire at the end of the year. Hers and two other council seats will be on the ballot in November: those currently held by Doug Clyde and Roger Armstrong. Clyde said he will run again and Armstrong said that, while he has not decided, he is leaning toward running.
Carson, 59, said she’s looking forward to having the flexibility to travel more and to spend more time with her family, including her husband and two grown children.
She lamented leaving behind relationships in both the county and the rest of the state that she’s built during her career of service. Others have said she’s well-respected in the Utah Association of Counties and is a consistent presence on Capitol Hill when the state Legislature is in session.
At County Council meetings, Carson asks and answers specific questions about the issues and appears well-prepared and attentive.
She said the decision wasn’t an easy one and that she’d gone back and forth in her mind. Once making the choice, though, she felt relief.
One potential reason to seek another term, she said, was the fact that hers is the only female voice on the council, and that she is often one of the few women in the room making decisions.
While she said it’s important to have a female perspective on the council and that she’d like her successor to be a woman, she said it’s imperative that person be qualified for the position.
One of the reasons she announced her intention to step away months ahead of the March filing deadline was to give others who are considering running the time to attend training sessions for public officeholders.
Carson is a Snyderville Basin resident whose career started in corporate sales and then evolved into consulting and training in the field. She became involved in public service volunteering with the Parley’s Park Elementary School parent-teacher organization and was serving as the executive director of the Park City Education Foundation when then-superintendent Nancy DeFord asked her to consider running for school board.
“It had never crossed my mind,” Carson said.
She served on the Park City Board of Education for two terms before stepping aside in 2010. A few years later, then-Summit County councilor John Hanrahan asked her to consider running for his seat.
In that instance, too, she said she had not thought about seeking the position before it was suggested.
Carson was first elected to the council in 2012, then reelected in 2016.
She listed nearly a dozen accomplishments she was proud to be a part of, from the hiring of a new county manager to updating development codes to determining a way to safely acquire contaminated land.
There’s still a year left in her term, and she anticipates the focus will be on improving solid waste and recycling programs, determining a new form of governance for a growing transit system and evaluating an application for the massive new development proposed for the Tech Center site near Kimball Junction.
She said once she steps aside she might have time to read something other than the thousands of pages of government documents included in preparatory material for council meetings, or maybe finally learn how to knit.
Being a county councilor, Carson said, allowed her to meet new people and to constantly learn. She said she’ll miss being able to shape how Summit County proceeds into the future.
“We come across situations that aren’t ideal — we can’t stop growth, we can’t magically create affordable housing in every community,” she said. “But we can definitely work to mitigate in areas and help create a healthy, happy community.”
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Park City officials are expected to present information about upcoming work on the Treasure acreage designed to guard against a wildfire, as well as a series of other City Hall projects and programs, at an open house that is scheduled next week.