Dems challenge GOP on party values |

Dems challenge GOP on party values

Caroline Kingsley, The Park RecordDemocratic Convention 04Tyler Cobb/Park Recordsee if tyler has a cutline embedded
Summit County Democratic Chair Glenn Wright speaks at the Democratic Convention on Saturday, April 13. This year, the county party will be focusing on Democratic values and registering voters. (Tyler Cobb)

The Summit County Democratic Party held a convention on April 13, honoring Park City Mayor Dana Williams and Summit County Recorder Alan Spriggs with Certificates of Appreciation for their service to the community.

Williams is in the last year of his third term and has announced he will not run for another term. Spriggs, who has served 29 years as recorder, will be retiring May 10.

County delegates will elect a new recorder on May 9 at the Richins Building at 7 p.m.

"We’ll give the candidates an opportunity to speak that night, and then we’ll have one round of elections. Whoever gets the most votes wins," Summit County Democratic Chair Glenn Wright told The Park Record.

The ballot closes a week beforehand.

"So anyone who wants to run has to notify our secretary, Deb Melle, at by 7 p.m. on May 2," Wright said.

During the convention, the party elected the new Executive Committee, which will serve from 2013 to 2015. Four new members, all unopposed, joined the committee through a vocal vote: West Summit Vice Chair Liana Teteberg, Public Relations Officer Gregg Greenberg, and State Central Committee members Jeff Stern and Jill Lesh.

In response to a comment by newly elected Summit County Republican Party Chair Tal Adair at the county Republican convention that their "values as Republicans matter," Wright said the Democrats are happy to run on Democratic values, including the preservation of the environment and public lands, additional school funding, more personal privacy and responsible gun laws.

"Those are some of the places where Republican values and Democratic values are clearly in opposition to each other, and we’ll be happy to run on those issues," he said.

Wright said studies have shown the Salt Lake Valley erosion is creeping into Summit County.

"The Legislature has the ability to write environmental laws that exceed the national standards, but the Legislature has refused to do anything about it."

And while Republicans want to "sell off public lands to the highest bidder, Democrats believe in the benefit of public lands," he said.

Democrats also believe the state should increase funding schools, Wright said.

"We have the poorest funding per pupil in the United States, and the Legislature is responsible for that funding and refuses to do anything about it."

When it comes to personal privacy, Wright said the government should "stay out of the bedroom and stop telling us what we can and can’t do."

Finally, Democrats believe in responsible gun laws, while Republicans are resistant to that effort, he said.

"Any nutcase or felon could find loopholes that are a mile wide out there and buy pretty much any kind of weapon they wish to buy," Wright explained. "One of the reasons a lot of very conservative Republicans resist gun laws is because they want to have guns to resist the federal government. We settled that issue during the Civil War, and there is a word in the constitution for people who act that way. It’s called treason."

The party also discussed strategies for winning future elections, including proactively registering voters.

"We believe there are a large number of unregistered voters who are mostly Hispanic and young voters, although not exclusively," Wright said.

Wright explained that Summit County is a transient community.

"A lot of people come here to ski and work in the resort industry," he said. "Some people leave after one season, and some people are here 30 years later. A lot of them came in after you could have registered to vote. But resorts are now closing and anybody who’s here next month is probably going to be here for another year or two, so we have to go out and find those people and register them to vote."

Research suggests most Hispanic and young voters lean Democratic, Wright said.

"So we just have to find them and motivate them to get to the polls," he added.

Summit County Democrats Executive Committee

Chair: Glenn Wright

West Summit Vice Chair: Liana Teteberg

North Summit Vice Chair: Sue Follett

South Summit Vice Chair: Sean Wharton

Secretary: Deb Melle

Treasurer: Corrie Forsling

Public Relations: Gregg Greenberg

Membership: Steve Lewis

State Central Committee (male): Jeff Stern

State Central Committee (female): Jill Lesh

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