Record editorial: Voters have two qualified candidates to pick from in County Council primary
With no Republicans running for any of the six county-level seats on the ballot this year, the June 30 Democratic Summit County Council primary between Malena Stevens and Canice Harte is the one chance for voters to have some say over who represents them at the County Courthouse.
But if voters do not have an abundance of choices this election cycle, at least the one they’ve got is a good one.
Whichever candidate they choose, residents will be well represented. Both Stevens and Harte have the qualifications and skills to help lead the county during a crucial period over the next four years. And each has shown a commitment to making Summit County a better place.
As members of the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission, where Harte has served since 2014 and Stevens since 2017, they have grappled with growth, one of the thorniest issues facing the county, and have gained knowledge about how local government operates and its role in shaping the community. Beyond that, their involvement in other volunteer endeavors shows they are serious about leaving a positive mark on the county.
Given they are both Democrats who live on the West Side, the candidates unsurprisingly have similar views on policy. For example, they each support a bus rapid transit system on S.R. 224 to ease traffic congestion, pledge to be fiscally prudent as the county recovers from the current downturn and identify curbing overdevelopment as key to preserving the quality of life on both ends of the county.
For all their similarities, though, they do have their distinctions. Harte, for his part, brings entrepreneurial know-how from operating successful businesses, giving him the kind of dollars-and-cents mindset that is crucial for someone tasked with spending taxpayer money. Stevens, meanwhile, has a background in social services, including as a victim advocate with the Park City Police Department, and has a keen understanding of the gaps that exist in services like mental health care and how to better assist our vulnerable populations.
Then there’s the most obvious difference between the pair: gender. They are running to replace Kim Carson, who has been the lone woman on the County Council for the last four years. Residents, of course, should ultimately vote for the person they believe would best serve the community, but they will have to decide how much weight the gender balance of the council has in that equation.
That consideration and the other important factors at play make this a difficult choice for voters, who are tasked with deciding between two strong candidates.
But that’s a good problem to have: Regardless of who emerges from the winner-take-all primary, residents can rest assured the next member of the County Council will be a qualified, passionate public servant.
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Our view: In putting their differences aside and agreeing to share a message of unity and democracy, Spencer Cox and Chris Peterson rose above the mudslinging that has come lately to define our politics.