Guest editorial: With two strong County Council candidates, why not vote for a woman?
There are two strong candidates running in the primary for County Council here in Summit County. Both have experience on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission — both have young families — both have a solid history of community and business service. I have worked with both professionally and personally.
Here’s the thing — the world is filled with roughly 49.7% women. The Summit County Council has been about 80% male for … too long. Kim Carson has served us all well with her breadth of focus areas from health care to arts to complex planning issues and how to be civil with other government groups. She has been the only woman on the County Council since 2016.
On the whole planet we don’t need fewer women represented — we need more. It changes the lens we use to find solutions and collaborate and it generally represents the underrepresented. If both have equal qualifications, then gender does become a tipping point and I am tired of all the conversations happening how that shouldn’t be used. It is real.
My personal/professional experience with Malena Stevens was when I met her because I was in need of obtaining a restraining order. It is a long story that revolved around a Sundance patron of multiple years who had mental health issues and a lengthy criminal record. He returned to the festival after having been invited to never come back. He returned after he had served some time. He came wanting to harm the people he thought had been responsible for him not having a film in the festival — he had submitted three minutes of rambling nonsense. I share this now because it all seemed so dumb at first. Until he threatened harm to myself and a senior Sundance employee. The legal pieces get complicated but it is enough to share the police asked me and the Sundance employee to obtain a restraining order and assigned officers to us. It was a crazy festival and this happened several years ago — when Malena served as the victims rights advocate for the Park City Police Department. I didn’t want to bother with the order but the police pressed and she gently, carefully explained all the why’s. And then she followed up. And followed up again when he was arrested. And again when he made bail. Again when he was re-arrested and again made bail. Finally, a warrant sent him back to California where he was wanted on charges of domestic terrorism of — a town. For days on end there were officers at my home and plain clothes guys at work. As if festival time wasn’t crazy enough — it wasn’t something I wanted at all to talk about…
Except I did — with this stranger who handled everything with kindness and good judgment that belied her years. And I learned she did this work all day long with so many victims — male and female — who were facing traumatic situations needing a protective order or other victim advocate work. It aligns now with her work as executive assistant to Police Chief Wade Carpenter. She has significant experience in our community — from serving on multiple affordable housing task forces and being the past chair of the Domestic Violence Coalition. She holds a master’s degree in public administration. She has a fistful of other professional and volunteer community work.
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Making tough decisions quietly is a skill learned under pressure and a skill that benefits from a thoughtful approach. Sometimes gender doesn’t matter nor should it. But all things being equal … why not vote for a qualified woman? Let’s make the face of the council look like the face of our community. With men AND women representing us and making strong, thoughtful, reasoned decisions that make Summit County a stronger, safer inclusive community.
We have a chance to choose between two strong qualified candidates with clear work ethics and solid experience.
Only one will also add the gender balance needed to the current council.
Please join me in voting for Malena Stevens for County Council.
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