Election Preview: Wasatch County Council At Large
As mail-in ballots arrive in your mailbox KPCW is interviewing local candidates about their platforms. The race for the Wasatch County Council At-Large seat features Republican nominee Marilyn Crittenden and write-in challenger Nick Lopez.
Although Crittenden is a common name in Wasatch County politics Marilyn Crittenden says that other elected officials in the county are actually her husband’s distant relatives.
Marilyn Crittenden moved to the Heber Valley from Arizona, she explained why she decided to run for office.
“I saw a need for a different perspective, I am new in the valley and have lived outside of Utah. Our county is the third fastest growing county in the nation. We need to have smart growth. I’ve lived in an area in Arizona that at the time it was the fastest growing zip code in the nation. I think that perspective will help our county. I recognize the need to have a plan that promotes the quality of lifestyle for everybody. That includes providing space for economic growth, housing for all income levels and while maintaining the open space that will preserve the rural feeling and the beauty of the valley that we all love. I mean we have to have a plan, or our growth will just happen rather than it being done smartly.”
Nick Lopez was defeated by Crittenden in a three-way primary for the Republican nomination for the at-large seat with Alan McDonald also running. Lopez felt that the entire county was not represented in the primaries due to low voter turnout.
“After the count I had several citizens come up to me and several deputy sheriff’s come up to me and ask me did you get your signatures? The way I took it was meaning we were really hoping you’d get through the process. I started thinking about it right there on the spot and I thought this doesn’t have to be over I think there’s another way. I thought well you know I can do a write-in candidacy.”
Crittenden explains how she’s prepared for a council seat through years of service.
“I’ve always cared about our communities, every one that I’ve lived in and have always gotten involved. I’ve been a volunteer to do a lot of advocacy work. I’ve spent time in the state legislature, I’ve been with ambassadors in the U.N. on family issues and I’ve worked with a group called constitution in the classroom where we went into schools and taught the constitution. In short, I’ve done a lot of volunteer work as an advocate for the people giving them a voice. I want to give the people of Wasatch County a voice also. I believe that it can be a fair voice and that I represent all the people of Wasatch County in an even manner.”
Lopez says his years working for the government help qualify him.
“I’m a retired U.S. Marine Corp. Sgt. Major I have extensive leadership abilities, training, proven leadership in both garrison and in combat. I believe that I’ve got the qualifications based on my experience in the Marine Corp. and my public service in the fire department. I have 24 years of professional firefighting service in Salt Lake City. I think my lifetime of serving the public I’ve seen quite a bit of things. I see where the money goes, I see where it doesn’t go, I see where it’s needed. I’ve seen how that all works as a public servant. My main platform is public safety and public service. What services can we provide the citizens of the county throughout the county not just Heber Valley but throughout the county.”
KPCW asked Crittenden how she differs from Lopez.
“I believe that Nick would bring a new and different perspective to the council also it’s just that our perspectives are quite different. Nick brings his military background to the table and I bring the perspective of a mother who has raised four successful children who are now raising their own families. Our family’s income has always been from the private sector. As I stated before I’ve spent time volunteering with no monetary compensation just a desire to improve and encourage the quality of living environment of all residents. I think that the differences that we have are kind of evident and quite different.”
Lopez was also asked how he differs from Crittenden.
“I’ve only met her a few times, she’s very intelligent, she’s very poised I think she’s a great candidate I think she would make a great councilperson. My differences are my years in public service. I’ve spent a lifetime serving this nation. I’ve spent a lifetime serving the community of Salt Lake City my public service is my life. It’s all I’ve ever done. My desire to serve and lead and make a difference and contribute has been instilled in me since I was a kid. I joined the Marine Corp. at 19 years old and have been at it since. I just think that those differences of being down there with the rank and file are different from what she has. I also can connect better with those that push the shovel for the citizens. For those that clear the streets, for those that pull the hose. As far as what it really takes, what hard work it is to do that job because I’ve done those jobs.”
Crittenden says her love of the Heber valley inspired her to run and protect the valleys character.
“I have always loved this valley. I grew up in Duchesne as a young child and we always would drive through here and it’s one of my favorite spots in all of Utah. It’s just a beautiful place to live and I’d just like to be able to keep it beautiful and pristine as it is. We can’t stop growth but we certainly—by living in other areas I’ve found that we—can still maintain the beauty of a community and the livability of a community by being smart about how we do growth.”
Lopez says he will work hard to accurately represent the voices of the people of the county.
“I’ve been here for five years. Nobody’s in my pockets I don’t owe anybody any favors. What I owe to the people up here is an honest and faithful term as their county councilman. Someone that will listen to their needs and their wants. Listen to them and be their voice in council and to whoever may need to hear it whether it be UDOT or the Governor’s office. Any place that they need that muscle or that power to push forward. I’m their voice, I’m their advocate.”
That’s Nick Lopez, he’s running a write-in campaign for the Wasatch County Council At-Large seat. His opponent is Republican nominated Marilyn Crittenden. For more election coverage in the Wasatch Back visit KPCW.org