Editorial: As election season heats up, Summit County residents bear responsibility | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: As election season heats up, Summit County residents bear responsibility

Labor Day has come and gone. The landscape is dotted with vivid fall colors and campaign signs that have sprouted all over Summit County.

Election season is here.

More than a month remains before voters can begin casting mail-in ballots, but candidates have started making their pitches to residents. The weeks leading up to Election Day are a critical time for voters to pay attention and become informed as they weigh decisions that will shape our county and state.

Important races line the ballot. At the top of the ticket, voters will choose between Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Jenny Wilson to replace Orrin Hatch in the U.S. Senate. They'll also decide whether to send Republican Rep. Rob Bishop back to Washington or instead select one of his challengers, Democrat Lee Castillo or Eric Eliason of the newly formed United Utah Party.

In the contests for the Statehouse, residents in Senate District 26 will pick among Republican Ronald Winterton and a pair of Parkites, Democrat Eileen Gallagher and the UUP's Cathy Callow-Heusser. In House Districts 53 and 54, Republican incumbents Tim Quinn and Logan Wilde are pitted against Park City Democrats Christopher Neville and Meaghan Miller, respectively.

And within Park City limits, voters may write the final chapter of the Treasure saga. A $48 million ballot measure will determine the fate of a $64 million conservation agreement City Hall reached with the Treasure partnership. A successful measure would end the land dispute, which dates to the 1980s, while a "no" vote would scuttle the deal and reignite the contentious development talks.

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Three critical statewide ballot initiatives, addressing Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana and the redistricting process, will also be decided.

Unfortunately, there are few contested County Courthouse races — typically some of the most important positions decided in midterm elections — to push people to the polls after the Summit County Republican Party failed to field a nominee for any of the seven open seats. Voters will only decide one race, between incumbent County Councilor Glenn Wright, a Democrat, and independent write-in candidate Josh Mann.

Nonetheless, the seats and ballot measures that are up for grabs are more than enough to energize Summit County residents. Before casting ballots, voters should stay current on the issues and attend local campaign events, town halls and forums to hear candidates speak in their own words and press them on topics important to our communities.

With everything from a U.S. Senate race to the Treasure bond on the ballot, the decisions we make this fall will have lasting impacts. By engaging in the political process in the weeks before ballots arrive, we can ensure we make the right ones.