Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Change is coming to Utah Politics

You can feel it in the air, and see it in the LG's filings: change...even in Happy Valley.
Democrats aren't the only ones in Utah County disenchanted with the Republican incumbents in the Legislature.
Candidate filing ended Monday, and several Utah County legislative districts have multiple candidates, especially multiple Republican candidates.

Of the 13 district races for the House of Representatives, eight races have more than one Republican, and in the Senate, three of the four races have multiple Republicans.

All of the candidates running think there needs to be change, but several Republican candidates said neighbors and other members of the community asked them to run because they want a positive change in the Legislature and not just the same actions by the same people.

"It was a little over a year ago there was a lot of outcry for a change. ... Everybody has a different complaint," said Jennifer Baptista, a candidate in District 57 who is running against Rep. Craig Frank, R-Pleasant Grove. "They feel they're not being heard, that he's not representing them and they're not happy about his lack of support for the public schools. There's been a lot of discontentment in the area, and it just proves the fact that a lot of people want somebody different."
Lots of people are running against incumbents all over the state. Even a veteran Republican leglislator is fed up with his colleagues. After 10-years in the Utah House (1996-2006), David Hogue is running this time as a Democrat:
"The purpose of the Legislature is to represent the people," Hogue said. "I've been disappointed in the way the Republican leadership has steered and guided legislation that is going away from citizens' rights."
Among his biggest gripes: the school voucher law that was soundly defeated by voters in last November's referendum.
Yet those out-of-touch legislators still haven't gotten the message. "I don't see [anti-voucher] as being all that compelling of a message. Maybe time will tell," said Speaker Greg "20 votes"
Curtis. "Vouchers will not be an issue in anyone's political future," said Sen. Mike Waddops. The voucher issue is "not going to have much impact except for the zealots," predicts Rep. Greg Hughes. Those zealots like 62% of Utahns, who constituted a majority in every county in the state.

But one change to come is the most surprising, no real serious challenger to SL County Mayor Peter Carroon.
The 47-year-old is a field supervisor for Adult Probation and Parole at the Utah Department of Corrections. He lives in Sandy with his wife, Nicia, and five children.

[Michael] Renckert faces a daunting task in taking on Corroon, as the county mayor's poll numbers have remained consistently high throughout his four-year term.

Corroon is the county party's No. 1 target for the 2008 election, Evans said.

"He's not running against Peter Corroon. He's running for Salt Lake County mayor," [Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman James] Evans said.
That's a telling quote from a guy who declined not to run for the job.

But really, why give away the County Mayor race? He is the third most known and powerful political figure at the local level (behind Sandy's Mayor Tom Dolan and SLC's Mayor Ralph Becker) yet represents more people than any member of Utah's U.S. House Delegation. Every time you go to a public pool in the summer, go to a park, go to Millcreek Canyon, go to a rec center, go to the planetarium, etc. you are using a County service. He could plaster his name and face over all of these services, like Nancy Workman did. If Jim Matheson doesn't run for Governor in 2012, Carroon could and would have a decent shot at winning.

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