Former Summit County Candidate For Utah House Makes State Senate Run

Dec 6, 2019

Chris Neville
Credit Chris Neville

The 2020 general election is a little less than a year away, but candidates for the state legislature are already gearing up for the race. One Wasatch Back resident has thrown his hat into the ring.

Chris Neville’s campaign for state Senate District 19 is mission-oriented.

"I believe that good government comes from making real connections with people on their terms," Neville said. "If I can run on a platform of getting to know people and really, really representing their interests . . . if I can ask myself, 'am I working to be the most welcoming, engaged and accessible state senator,' as long as I move towards that mission, I know I'm doing the right thing."

Neville moved to Summit County from Minnesota in 2008, with his partner, Carolyn Wawra. He works as a software engineer, contracting with ski resorts throughout the country. Neville volunteers with Wawra’s organization, Recycle Utah, and he’s the secretary for the Summit County Democratic Party.

Neville lives in Jeremy Ranch, which sits within Senate District 19. The district is currently represented by Republican Sen. Allen Christensen and covers Weber, Morgan and much of Summit County. The district spans more rural, agricultural areas as well as a higher density urban core in Ogden, but Neville says there are issues that unite all the constituents.

“Clean air, education, health care costs I think is a very big issue around the state," Neville said. "Just trying to support people and enable people to live good lives without having to work 90 hours a week.” 

When he ran for Utah House District 53 in 2018, Chris Neville didn’t have much of a chance against the republican candidate, Rep. Logan Wilde, only receiving 35% of the vote to Wilde’s 65%. But in 2020, Neville believes democrats can flip the Senate District 19 seat from red to blue, especially if they connect with the state’s left-leaning independent voters.

“I spent years saying, 'listen, I don't believe in the two-party system, I think this is frustrating that we have to kind of align into these camps,'" Neville said. "I get it, and I'm not out there to villainize either side, but I am out there to ask people, if they are a left-leaning independent, if they care about clean air and education and the environment, public lands, and they think that there is good to do through our government, that they step up.”

Neville is joined by another Summit County-based democrat in the race for Senate District 19. Katy Owens Hubler also recently announced her intent to run for the seat. KPCW reached out to Sen. Allen Christensen to confirm whether he’s decided to run for re-election but has not received a response by the time of this report. The declaration of candidacy deadline for the June 30 primary election is March 19, 2020. The general election is Nov. 3.