Third-party candidate hopes voters buck election trends
Don’t vote just based on party. That mantra belongs to Jeremy Ranch resident Gary Shumway, a member of the Constitution Party who is campaigning for seat D on the new Summit County Council.
Shumway faces Park City Republican Alison Pitt and Snyderville Basin Democrat Chris Robinson and is the only third-party candidate competing in any of the five council races.
"You mean there are three people in the race," Shumway joked at the start of a telephone interview Monday.
The media too often ignores third-party candidates, he said.
"You go to some of these polls online and it asks, who are you going to vote for, Obama, McCain or none of the above," Shumway said. "There are other people running."
Locally, Shumway claims he is the candidate with the fewest possible conflicts of interest in the race for Summit County Council seat D, one of two two-year seats on the November ballot.
"I am not a real estate developer, large property owner, a litigator or have other business dealings with the county," Shumway said.
Robinson works in real estate and owns thousands of acres of land in the county, Shumway said, adding that Pitt is a corporate attorney at Park City-based Nutraceutical Corporation.
Shumway said he only owns the condo he lives in and has no conflicts of interest that could require him to recuse himself from voting as a councilperson.
"I think Chris does and I think Alison does too," Shumway said. "I don’t have as much of a problem with [Pitt] as I do with [Robinson]. But she is a litigator and litigation means you are an antagonist. It’d be better to be a team player who can listen to both sides and doesn’t have a party agenda."
Mixing different political ideologies on the Summit County Council could help ensure the right manager is hired next year to oversee the executive branch of county government, Shumway said.
"The council is going to be enabling the manager to assume some of the responsibilities that the commissioners used to have," Shumway said.
Helping the county transition from the three-member commission to a five-person council as voters insisted in 2006, is his No. 1 goal, Shumway said. The current commission will disband this year.
But the economic downturn most concerns voters on the campaign trail, he said.
"I think they’re very concerned about the financial situation and I expect some of our county people are impacted by it," Shumway said.
But across-the-board budget cuts at the County Courthouse are not the answer, he said.
"We can’t get into a big debt situation," he said. "I don’t know what is realistic because certain services are more important."
Delaying road and building projects could help defray some of the recession costs, he said.
"It would even be nice to decrease the size of government because it’s a lot easier to build empires than it is to shrink these political empires," he said.
If growth in the county significantly slows, non-essential employees like planners and building inspectors could be laid off, Shumway said.
"Just because you tighten your belt doesn’t mean you need to throw everything out," he said. "You need to be flexible with the financial situation."
Shumway spent several hundred dollars for yard signs and fliers but solicited contributions for his campaign from no one.
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