Challenger Craig Williams looks to bring fresh set of eyes to Council
For Craig Williams, the best things in life are "outdoors and dirty."
The 49-year-old Republican candidate, husband and father of six, is seeking a seat on the Summit County Council, running against Democratic incumbent Christopher Robinson.
Williams participated in the debate forum, hosted by KPCW and The Park Record, on Monday, Oct. 20.
His "different view of politics," as he called it, included an introduction in which likened himself to becoming the Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson of Summit County and his preference of referring to Robinson as his co-candidate rather than his opponent.
"I am running for county council because I think I have the set of skills and experiences to help raise it to the next level, and to help solve some of the difficult problems," he said. "I am just trying to bring, what I believe, I can take to the council and how I can make it better."
One of the Williams’ main campaign issues, he said, is the unification of the East and West sides of the county to ensure that both sides’ needs are met.
The current five-member council is comprised of four members from the West side of Summit County and only one member from the East side.
"I’ve made that open in my campaign, that we need to figure out why that is, but I think we can help collaborate because that’s what I do for a living," Williams said. "I think I can bring that skill of working with people to make that better and bring the East side people into the group."
Although Williams said he wasn’t here when the current council/manager form of government was instituted about five years ago, Williams said he would have voted for it. But, he noted, the current format is a "hybrid consisting of elected officials who aren’t accountable to the general manager."
"I think one of the things we are going to have to do to in the county to make it more effective, is to look at those lines of communication and have a discussion as a community whether we want to maintain all of the elected offices without any accountability to the general manager," Williams said.
During the debate, Robinson prompted Williams to explain his philosophy regarding how to balance the interest of private property rights versus the community interest of protecting residents’ quality of life.
"I think this community has every right to create the community that they want," Williams said. "I want to see them find open areas and open spaces. I want to see them conserve open areas and open spaces and I want to see them connected because it’s the pillar of a livable community."
As a professional, Williams works as a liaison to all of the power companies in the Western United States, Canada and Northern Mexico.
He said his work gives him the expertise to help the county plan for the proposed Tesoro oil pipeline. That pipeline, which is slated to be installed in eastern Summit County, has raised concerns about reducing tanker truck traffic and protecting the watershed from a potential oil spill.
"I sent my comments and questions to Tesoro because I work in the energy industry and I’m a little aware of their games. I wanted them to put in writing that they’d make a commitment to reduce the truck traffic," Williams said. "But then the other game they like to play is, get the pipelines built and then sell the capacity to another entity and run the trucks that they were running before."
He lives in Prospector and also works as a mountain host at Park City Mountain Resort in the winter.
"I think the bottom line is this, if you want the same old thing, good or bad, for the next four years, then don’t make a change," Williams said. "But if you want to make things better, if you want to take the county council to the next level, if you want to bring a fresh set of eyes and energetic ideas to face the problems we’re looking at, then I suggest we need to make a change."
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The owners of Outlets Park City have applied to build a 60,000-square-foot Harmons grocery store in a stretch that is now home to a dozen outlets, according to an application Summit County received in April.