Summit County Democratic Party will likely choose a replacement for Doug Clyde this month |

Summit County Democratic Party will likely choose a replacement for Doug Clyde this month

County delegates will vote for a candidate to fill the vacancy on Nov. 19

Around 135 people attended the Summit County Democratic Party’s caucus event at Ecker Hill Middle School in March. The party will host a central committee meeting on Nov. 19, where delegates will vote for a candidate to serve the remainder of retired Summit County Councilor Doug Clyde’s term.
Park Record file photo

Summit County’s governing board will have two new members next year: the one decided on Election Day and the other to be selected by the county Democratic Party’s delegates later this month.

The Summit County Democratic Party is scheduled to host a central committee meeting from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 in the Ecker Hill Middle School auditorium to elect a replacement for retired Summit County Councilor Doug Clyde. 

Members of the Democratic Party’s central committee, including precinct-level county delegates, elected official delegates and party leader delegates, will vote between two candidates during the meeting, with the winner occupying the two-year remainder of Clyde’s term. 

Coalville City Planning Commissioner Tonja Hanson and Snyderville Basin Planning Commissioner Thomas Cooke are both seeking the position. No one else announced their intent to run, according to Katy Owens, the chair of the county Democratic Party.

Owens said many precinct delegate positions have been filled in recent weeks. There are still vacancies in nine precincts, but she said some of those are in less populated areas of the county. There are a total of 123 voting delegates. 

County delegates were chosen at the party’s caucus in March. The group selected the Democratic Party’s nominees at a virtual convention the following month.

Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with the candidates during an in-person portion of the event as well as a formal question-and-answer session, Owens said. Questions may be submitted ahead of time or written down on an index card on the day of the event. Delegates are encouraged to participate in person, but it isn’t required to cast a vote. Voting will be conducted online using the Election Buddy system. It opens at noon and remains open until midnight. 

Owens anticipates the winner will be announced the following day, on Nov. 20.

State code requires the vacancy on the Summit County Council to be filled within 30 days. As Clyde is a Democrat, it’s the party’s responsibility to select someone to serve the remainder of his term, which is set to expire in 2025. The Democratic Party appointed a midterm vacancy in the County Attorney’s Office in 2017, the County Assessor’s Office in 2019 and the County Clerk’s Office in 2021.

Cooke is originally from the East Coast and has lived in Park City for nearly 30 years. He has resided in Silver Summit since 2001. Hanson, who was born and raised in Coalville, is a fifth-generation Summit County resident. 

Both candidates have planning commission experience with Cooke serving two years on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission and Hanson sitting on the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission from 2008 to 2017 before taking her seat on the Coalville City Planning Commission the following year.

They say it’s helped them learn about the issues facing Summit County as well as the logistics of planning and zoning, land use, development, the approval process and more.

Cooke currently runs operations and e-commerce for Salt Lake City-based nonprofit The Bicycle Collective but also has a background in communications and marketing. He was involved in the development of Utah’s “Life Elevated” slogan in 2006.

Hanson’s career has been rooted in sales and marketing, specifically in the hospitality and resort industry, including Vail Resorts and most recently at Snowbasin and Sun Valley Resorts. She recently retired.

If elected, Cooke plans to focus on the need for collaborative, regional planning throughout Summit County. He anticipates much of the growth in coming years will happen on the West Side.

Hanson has said she is concerned about how the East Side will be represented without Clyde, who was the only county councilor from Eastern Summit County. Her top priorities are topics such as water quality and affordable housing.

Clyde officially resigned from the County Council on Nov. 1 after six years. He was elected to the County Council in 2016, and ran unopposed in 2020, after serving on the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission. 

His retirement precedes that of fellow Democrat Glenn Wright. Wright earlier this year decided not to run again, allowing for someone new to be elected by the voters at large. 

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