Summit County Council incumbent runs unopposed |

Summit County Council incumbent runs unopposed

Summit County Councilwoman Kim Carson.
Park Record file photo

After Kim Carson decided to stay home to raise her two children, she immersed herself in every public service opportunity that she could find.

Carson began volunteering with the Parent Teacher’s Organization in the local schools and joined the Park City Education Foundation, serving as executive director for nearly three years. She was elected to the Park City Board of Education for two terms and served as president for four years.

During that time, Carson said she was able to build strong relationships with school administrators, teachers and the community. She chose to run for Summit County Council in 2012 and won a landslide victory over write-in candidate Jacqueline Smith.

In February, Carson, age 56, a Democrat from Silver Creek, announced she wanted to serve a second term on the County Council. She is currently running unopposed.

"I was able to build up this level of knowledge in all of these areas about everything from vaccination rates to our solid waste program and everything in between," Carson said. "And it takes a while to get there. But I feel like I have a good foundation going into these next four years."

Serving on the County Council has been a "very positive experience," Carson said, adding that it has afforded her the opportunity to listen to constituents and, along with staff and the rest of the council, determine the needs of the community.

Two of the major issues that have risen to the top of the county’s priority list over the past four years, in terms of importance, are transportation and community planning, Carson said.

"That has been very clear while I have been in office," Carson said. "We have learned about the interdependence of those two and the importance of approaching those two areas in a comprehensive manner."

During her tenure, Carson said the county has been able to allocate additional resources toward items such as primary road maintenance. She added that the county has also strengthened its partnership with Park City Municipal Corp. to increase bus service into the Snyderville Basin.

"We have been working to identify both short-and-long term projects that can help facilitate the movement of our local workers and the workers traveling from outside areas into the community and, of course, our residents," Carson said. "And I know we will get there.

"I feel like we have laid the groundwork to be able to help that happen," she said. "We have picked some low-hanging fruit and we are starting to identify projects that match up with funding and will have the least impact as far as the burden on local taxpayers."

Carson served as the County Council chair in 2015 and as a member of the Wilderness Advisory Group that was responsible for drafting a proposal for Summit County to submit as part of U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative. She also serves as the council’s liaison to the Summit County Board of Health.

"Being a part of that working group (Wilderness Advisory Group) and really spearheading what format those discussions would take and bringing the right stakeholders together was a very positive experience for me and incredibly rewarding," Carson said. "Regardless of the positive experience, it created a better understanding for all the parties involved."

Serving with the Board of Health has been equally rewarding, she says, adding that the board has undertaken "very significant projects," such as drafting a comprehensive health code, addressing air and water quality issues, and beginning to focus on behavioral health.

"That goes into what I hope to accomplish over the next four years," Carson said. "I really hope we can identify the gaps in our services. Then we will have to look at how we can start providing programming that will help fill some of those gaps. Hand in hand with that is the work that is going on across the state with the Justice Reinvestment Initiative."

When Carson decided to run for a seat on the County Council four years ago, she said she didn’t have an agenda and, instead, listened to the constituents and "went with the flow." However, Carson said "I definitely have one this time around."

"A lot of things have been very clear over the four years that I have been in office," Carson said. "We’ve heard loud and clear that transportation is a major issue and I think the environment and sustainability is also important to our constituents.

"At the end of the day, it’s a community partnership, whether that is with other jurisdictions or with the residents themselves," she said. "Sometimes we learn that the path we were going down isn’t what people in the community really desire and I think it is that willingness to look at changing course or adapting your plan that is important and, I think, sometimes missing these days in politics."

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