Record editorial: Four Statehouse races are on the ballot. Your vote counts.
The coronavirus pandemic. Biden versus Trump. The unrest that continues to sweep the nation.
Hideout’s annexation attempt. The bumpy return to school in Park City. The economy’s uncertain prospects as ski season nears.
Those are only some of the stories, both national and local, that well-informed Summit County residents will be following over the next few months. It’s enough to make even a news junkie’s head spin. So it’s understandable if some residents are viewing the lack of contested county-level races this election season — an unfortunate reality after Republicans failed to field a challenger for a single County Courthouse post — as a respite from the mayhem.
It would be a mistake, though, to dismiss the down-ballot races this fall. Seats in four of the five legislative districts that stretch into Summit County will be decided: House Districts 28, 53 and 54, along with Senate District 19. In a rarity, every single voter in Summit County will have a contested Statehouse race on their ballot, while those in Senate District 19, which covers Coalville and neighborhoods like Jeremy Ranch and Glenwild, will have two.
Though it’s just a 45-minute drive down Interstate 80, the Statehouse can sometimes feel as far away from Summit County as Washington, D.C. Except in instances like the Hideout annexation controversy, where something major happens directly as a result of legislation, it can be difficult to see how what goes on during the brief legislative session each winter impacts life on this side of the Wasatch Range. The notion that Summit County is sometimes overlooked in the Legislature is a valid criticism that many residents share.
But what happens in Salt Lake City matters. The people we elect to the Statehouse make decisions that affect our communities, whether or not we can easily see the link between their votes on the Senate or House floor and our daily lives. From education funding to liquor regulations to air quality, they shape what life in Utah looks like.
No, the legislative races this fall will not earn the widespread attention of the presidential election, or even Utah’s congressional contests. You aren’t likely to catch the Statehouse hopefuls making their pitches on a cable news station. Most of the candidates are not even household names in their own districts.
That doesn’t make the races any less important.
They are your candidates. They are running to be your voice in the Legislature. Make sure that when it comes time to cast your vote, you’re prepared to send the person who will best represent you to the Statehouse.
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Our view: The school year has so far been a success, but the coronavirus, more than the school district, may have the ultimate say about what the next chapter looks like.