Morgan County Republican Logan Wilde wins District 53 seat
November 15, 2016
After mounting a successful campaign as a newcomer in state politics to edge out incumbent Rep. Mel Brown in the primary, preliminary results last week showed Morgan County Republican Logan Wilde has won the District 53 seat in the Utah House of Representatives.
Wilde, who was elected to serve a two-year term, will succeed Brown, a longtime conservative. Wilde narrowly defeated him for a spot on the Republican Party ticket during the primary election in June. Brown, a Coalville resident, was elected to the Legislature in 2007 and, prior to that, served a lengthy stint from 1987 until 2000.
The bulk of voters in the counties that make up District 53, which includes large swaths of Daggett, Rich, Morgan, Duchesne and Summit counties, identify as Republican. With a GOP-controlled district, Wilde easily captured the win over Democrat Cole Capener, who lives in the Snyderville Basin. In Summit County, District 53 includes: Park West, Kimball Junction, parts of Pinebrook, Promontory, Snyders Mill, Moose Hollow, Silver Springs, Jeremy Ranch, all of North and South Summit.
Wilde won the voting in each of the counties, including Summit, topping Capener with nearly 70 percent of the overall vote. The unofficial results show Wilde received 12,916 votes to Caperner's 5,894. In Summit County, Wilde took nearly 55 percent of the votes, while Capener grabbed 45 percent.
"I was very happy with the outcome and I thought it would be a little closer than it was," Wilde said. "I think some of the things that resonated with voters is when we talked about local government because that's where my background is. I want to try and strengthen that and bring the decision-making back to a local level."
Wilde, who is currently a Morgan County Councilman, said issues such as education and the control of public lands belong in the hands of the local government.
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"I understand that some things have to be left where they are, but if you can bring the decision-making process closer to the people, I think you are better off," Wilde said.
Wilde said he attributes his win to that message, along with his outreach to groups such as the Summit Land Conservancy.
"I have done a lot of work with them in the past and I plan to continue to do a lot of work with them going forward because I think they have a lot to offer to our community," Wilde said. "Some of their ideas that they have are right in step with the ideas that I have.
"Not to say that the land use is always the same, but some of the ideas about conservancy and making sure they have open space are in line," he said.
While campaigning, Wilde said he began to better understand the challenges each county faces and how those issues vary along the Wasatch Front and Back.
"The Wasatch Back has such growth issues because they are spreading so quickly and it is straining the infrastructure. How do we maintain a healthy relationship with what is coming to our community and how do we facilitate the needs of a growing community so we have a strong, healthy base?" Wilde said. "We need to put in resources and make sure the necessary groups are involved so those communities can grow their infrastructure."
Wilde said he will act as an advocate for agriculture, particularly regarding public lands issues. Wilde is a sixth-generation rancher with a sheep and cattle operation that covers more than 17,000 acres in Morgan County.
"I see it needing immense management and help. I think the bureaucracy is becoming very large and we need to be very careful we don't step on any toes," Wilde said. "I think they are an asset to communities. But if actually bring decision making back to a local level so we can decide how to deal with our public lands, I think we would have happier communities."
Wilde, who chairs the Weber-Morgan Board of Health, said his first priority will be to introduce a bill regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's requirements for local health departments to establish funding mechanisms to generate revenue for dealing with air emissions. Wilde said he would like to ask the Legislature to consider releasing those funds for projects related to air quality control.
"Once we established our program about 10 years ago, our funds have just kind of sat there. I want to be able to use them, but there is nothing that allows us to do that," Wilde said. "Other than that, right now, what I am looking forward to is learning the overall process and getting my feet wet."