UPDATED: Summit County Councilor re-elected over write-in candidate
When Summit County Council incumbent Glenn Wright learned he would be facing a write-in candidate, he knew it would be an uphill battle for his opponent. But, he appreciated the competition.
Wright said it forced him to campaign and review what he has helped the County Council accomplish during his last two years on the panel.
On Election Day, Wright secured a victory over his challenger for Summit County Council Seat E, write-in candidate Josh Mann, in the only contested County Courthouse race of the election. The unofficial results show Wright with an overwhelming lead.
Wright took home the lion’s share of votes, with 12,353 votes to Mann’s 1,111. Mann, a newcomer to politics and a registered independent, also understood he faced long odds to unseat Wright, the former Summit County Democratic Party chair. Wright was first elected in 2016 to serve the remaining two years of former councilor Dave Ure’s term.
Wright had difficulty narrowing down what policies and actions he think resonated most with voters. He suggested it was likely his work fighting climate change, promoting renewable energy and supporting policies to reduce the county’s carbon footprint.
“After a poor snow season last year and the most recent fire season, I think it is getting people’s attention,” he said.
Wright said he has dedicated himself to helping further the county’s environmental sustainability and renewable energy goals. He has repeatedly advocated for energy-efficiency in several developments throughout the county.
“The reason I wanted four more years was so I could complete some of what I started,” he said. “Fighting climate change will not be completed within that timeframe or even my lifetime, but I want to get a good start on it.”
Wright is helping draft an agreement with Summit County and Rocky Mountain Power to bring 100 percent renewable electric energy to the county through a legislative measure.
Wright addressed Mann’s dissatisfaction with the rate of development in the county. He said he is very concerned about those issues, as well, especially as they impact the county’s carbon footprint.
“If we allow sprawl, it will tie up traffic and resources and we will detract from our carbon footprint,” he said. “Josh and I had different ideas about how to address it. He said no new growth. But, that is not legal. People have a right to build on their land and we just have to accommodate that. The best way to do that is to try and concentrate the growth in areas where we have infrastructure and transportation. The idea is to create walking villages.”
Mann did offer another approach during his campaign. He disagreed with Wright’s idea of creating town centers, citing examples like Kimball Junction.
“It’s almost like we didn’t get it right out in Kimball Junction so let’s build another town center,” he said on Thursday. “But, it is never quite what we think and it is not as good as we would hope. We have made some poor choices in the past and because of that I hope that over the next two years they will make smart choices about development.”
Mann said he never realistically thought he would win. He was pleased with the votes he did receive.
“The fact that 1,000 people cared enough about my message to remember my name and write it in — that’s a win,” he said. “And really the fact that Glenn and I got out and talked to the public.”
Other County Courthouse races
The rest of the County Courthouse races were uncontested after no challengers entered the fray against the incumbents. One other seat on the Summit County Council, as well as four department heads, were re-elected on Tuesday.
Summit County Councilor Chris Robinson, along with Sheriff Justin Martinez, County Attorney Margaret Olson, Clerk Kent Jones, Recorder Rhonda Francis and Auditor Michael Howard retained their positions.
Hoytsville incorporation voted down
Hoytsville residents overwhelmingly voted against a measure that would have incorporated approximately 8 square miles in eastern Summit County, making it the county’s seventh municipality.
Preliminary results show the measure failed, with 182 votes against incorporation to 59 in favor.
More than 50 percent of voters would have had to vote in favor of incorporation for Hoytsville to become a town in 2020. It would have had an estimated population of 453 people, with seven businesses employing more than 80 people.
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Summit County is partnering with the University of Utah to launch new era of mental health services.