Last weekend, I had the privilege of speaking about the media before the Real Women Run conference in Sandy.
More women than men vote in Utah, but just 25 percent of Republican delegates in Utah are women, as are just 45 percent of Democratic delegates, the group cites. Its goal is to help women who are seeking office to upset the balance.
We applaud their efforts and strongly believe that having demographic balance in politics is vital. We DON’T think women deserve extra privileges, just equality. By what I saw at the free conference, Real Women Run agrees.
The organizers of that group include political heavyweights such as former Salt Lake mayor Deedee Corradini and former Utah Rep. Jackie Biskupski, but local women such as Bountiful Councilwoman Beth Holbrook and Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs also participated.
It would be fantastic to see more local woman running for office, but we are pleased to see all kinds of people making room for political service in their lives.
Municipal elections are coming this fall, and many candidates have already started building coalitions of support for planned runs. This year, mayoral seats are up for election, as are some council seats.
A change in Utah law means that the filing deadline for candidates is June 1 through June 7 for these offices. We already know that mayors such as Bountiful’s Joe Johnson and Layton’s Steve Curtis plan not to run, and are excited to see candidates step forward.
In my years of covering Utah cities, I have been consistently pleased to meet the people giving their time to lead. One might think that these people tend to be Napoleonic power seekers, but in most cases, that’s untrue. The vast majority of the leaders I know honestly care about improving their communities.
Most local politicians aren’t running because they are power hungry, but it’s true that they have significant power over community issues ranging from planning and zoning to spending property taxes to policing.
Therefore, we encourage voters to get involved soon, and hope to see new faces emerge this year. This is particularly true for cities such as Kaysville, Layton and Syracuse, which have grappled with divisive issues recently. Your communities deserve well-rounded representation.
Because these elections are local, contact the city you live in for information such as how to file and which offices are up for election. On that note, it’s also a good idea to attend City Council, Planning Commission and other meetings if you plan to run.
Even if you don’t run for office, we encourage you to become involved.
I am excited to cover local politics this season, and I’m pleased to have all of you join me on the journey.
If you are running for office or have a political news tip, let us know. We also want to hear your take on issues such as the use of electricity funds to fund other projects, referendums, control of the deer population and more. Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-295-2251 ext. 126.