Editorial: Rep. John Curtis and … Sundance | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: Rep. John Curtis and … Sundance

U.S. Congressman John Curtis speaking at the Park Record Wednesday. | David Jackson/Park Record

In November, we published an editorial, “The work ahead,” about Rep. John Curtis, who had just won reelection in a redrawn 3rd Congressional District that includes Park City and other parts of Summit County. (He handily defeated Park City Democrat Glenn Wright.) We said that as a former mayor of Provo, Curtis knows what it takes to manage a city, “albeit a much bigger, less affluent and more conservative city than the one Parkites call home. But there is still work to be done for both Curtis and Parkites to seal this deal. … Curtis needs to get to know us better — and we need to get to know him better.”

It wasn’t long afterward that we heard from Curtis’s communications director, who said Curtis wanted to begin that conversation.

On Wednesday, Curtis, who is in a state work period this week while the 117th Congress is adjourned, came to The Park Record for an hour-long discussion.

Curtis, who is 62, turns out to be no stranger to Park City, having been a visitor to the area going back to his childhood.

He’s a Republican, like the other three members of the House of Representatives from Utah, and both its senators; he is not going to be as liberal, at least about some things, as many Parkites believe themselves to be, but he also has a longer and deeper connection to Utah and this area than many Parkites do.

He says he wants to protect many of the things Parkites treasure. If there’s a difference, it’s in how those things are defined and, even more, in the ways they’re protected. On the environment, for example, Curtis has bona fides as the founder of the Conservative Climate Caucus, he attended the recent COP27 conference in Egypt and he is also not shy about saying he believes some fossil fuels and nuclear power belong in a mix of sources that eventually can take us to a renewable future. He could easily frustrate climate activist Greta Thunberg, if she had the time to notice such things, but it’s a good discussion to have, here and elsewhere.

What we really wanted to know on Wednesday, however, was whether Curtis would stick around for the Sundance Film Festival, starting the next day. What better way to get to know us? (Actually, we can think of several others, like sitting in traffic or reading contentious discussions about wildlife sightings — but Sundance is more fun.)

Curtis couldn’t stick around for it, because of his packed schedule, he explained; but, he said, he’d been to Sundance many times before. And he wasn’t shocked or bothered in the least, he continued. On the contrary. “I’ve always had an appreciation for the culture of Sundance,” he said.

Going back some ways, having a festival of such renown here “always felt like we were swinging above our weight,” he said.

“When I was growing up, it felt like we had an inferiority complex with Colorado.”

Not anymore.

But Curtis also had a warning. “There’s huge potential for good here,” with the continued success of the festival, he said, “but you have to be careful how you grow the potential, that you don’t lose your identity.” The festival does “many wonderful things for the community,” he added, “but who’s getting left behind?”

We’re already seeing eye to eye about that.


Editorial: Pipe dreams of news

According to Pickard, “municipalities should purchase dying local papers and … the federal government should fund locally-operated city papers.”

See more

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.