It’s not too late to begin a life in public service
Most of the choices that voters will have on their ballots in November depends on what happens by 5 p.m. Thursday, March 17. That is the deadline for candidates to declare their interest in running for a gamut of public offices from school board posts and seats in the state legislature to the governor’s job.
Some would even argue, by virtue of their influence over local issues, that the winners of these contests will have more impact on their constituents than the highest ranking leaders in the nation’s capital.
In Summit County, we are fortunate that numerous qualified candidates have already declared they will take the plunge into local politics. Seven citizens are in the running for four seats on the County Council. While two incumbents are, so far, unopposed, two of the seats are contested, which means that voters will have the opportunity to hear lively debates on a number of vital issues. And there is plenty of room in the field for additional candidates – from the Democratic and Republican camps as well as the Green, Libertarian and independents. The more participants, the more perspectives voters have to choose from.
As of Tuesday, the list of candidates for Utah House of Representatives in the three districts representing Summit County was still in flux. According to the lieutenant governor’s roster of candidates, incumbent Rep. Brian King, a Democrat was unopposed in District 28 and only one name appeared on the official list of candidates for District 54, which includes Park City. Incumbent Kraig Powell has said he is planning to run but has not yet declared. He already has a challenger, though, a fellow Republican. And in District 53, which covers parts of the east and north sections of Summit County, there were two Republican but no Democratic candidates.
In order to ensure a full vetting of local issues, the Democrats should spend the final day before the filing deadline scouring the countryside to come up with viable opponents.
The school board races were drawing some interest, but considering the emotional tenor of last year’s school bond election in the Park City School District, we are hoping to see more names on the list of candidates. Three seats will be open in each of the county’s three school districts. As of Tuesday there were 11 candidates for nine positions – hardly enough considering the vital role school boards play in guiding our children’s education.
Lately, there has been a lot of concern about the tenor of our country’s political process. We would suggest that one way to restore a sense of genuine civic commitment to our cherished democracy is to participate. For more information about how to file, go to: summitcounty.org/281/Voter-Registration-Elections.
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Some “Rocky Mountain states seem locked in competition to pass the most brazenly anti-democratic election laws,” writes Jeff Milchen.