Editorial: Park City should back one of its own in GOP state Senate primary
Parkites have become accustomed over the years to their representative in the Utah Senate hailing from one of the far-flung reaches of District 26, which stretches east from Summit County to the Colorado border.
It has been a source of consternation for many Parkites, as the officials holding the seat — most recently Kevin Van Tassell, a Republican from Vernal — have had little in common with the Park City area (the district also includes much of the Snyderville Basin and the Kamas Valley) and scant reason to prioritize the interests of its residents.
But there’s an opportunity to change that dynamic. Park Meadows resident Jack Rubin is running for the Republican nomination to replace the retiring Van Tassell, mounting a campaign that positions himself as the best candidate to represent the Wasatch Back. Based on pure geography, it’s not a difficult claim to make: The two candidates he’s facing in this month’s GOP primary, Ronald Winterton and Brian Gorum, are from Roosevelt and Vernal, respectively.
The prospect of a Parkite who promises to stand up for Summit County on Capitol Hill and be visible in the community should make voters take notice. But his home address is not all he’s campaigning on. Rubin has also pledged to fight for a fair redistricting process in 2021 — a major issue for Summit County, which has been gerrymandered into five legislative districts — and to bring an analytical perspective to the Senate, weighing issues on their merit rather than thoughtlessly toeing a party line. He comes across genuine and eager to serve.
Residents eligible to vote in the GOP primary, which will be conducted this month via mail-in ballot, should give him their support. And although Rubin’s views likely don’t line up perfectly with the majority of folks in the left-leaning Park City area, even Democrats should hope he earns enough support from Wasatch Back Republicans to win the race.
It will be, after all, the only opportunity any time soon to elect a local senator. With all due respect to Eileen Gallagher and Pat Vaughn, who live in the Wasatch Back and are vying for the Democratic nomination for Senate District 26, the demographics of the district ensure the candidate who emerges from the Republican primary will prevail in November.
For the first time in a long time, Park City-area residents have a chance to see to it that the candidate is one of their own. When ballots begin to arrive in their mailboxes late this week, they shouldn’t pass it up.