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Republican John “Jack” Murphy is running for Summit County Council

John "Jack" Murphy says the Tech Center development is a primary reason he entered the race for Summit County Council.
Alexander Cramer
John "Jack" Murphy says the Tech Center development is a primary reason he entered the race for Summit County Council.

Silver Creek resident John “Jack” Murphy, a Republican and a political newcomer, says he will focus on accountability and transparency in his campaign for Summit County Council.

It was an informal poll taken by Summit County Councilors in early August that helped prompt John “Jack” Murphy to enter local politics. Four of the five councilors instructed county staffers to begin in-depth negotiations with Dakota Pacific Real Estate about the firm’s proposal for a large-scale development at Kimball Junction.

To Murphy, that straw poll was an indication of support for the project and completely out of step with what the community wanted, and it suggested a lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the county council.

“I don't see how they're being accountable when the vote is four to one when the community is in an absolute uproar about Dakota Pacific trying to rezone from commercial to residential. There's a disconnect there,” Murphy said.

The council has yet to hold an official vote on the project, and the developers paused their application late last year amid community opposition.

Murphy is running for the county council seat currently held by Glenn Wright, who is not seeking reelection. Until a few days ago, Murphy had competition from within his own party, but former Francis Mayor Byron Ames withdrew from the race Thursday, making it a near certainty Murphy will win the Republican nomination.

That means Murphy will almost certainly appear on the ballot in November along with Democrat Canice Harte and Libertarian Michael Franchek. Murphy is seeking to be the first Republican elected to the council since 2014.

Murphy is a political newcomer. He said he votes, but doesn’t define himself politically — he’s been a registered Republican, Democrat and Independent. He said he was unaffiliated with a political party when he went to the County Courthouse in March to file to run for office and decided there that running as a Republican made the most sense.

Murphy lives in Silver Creek with his wife and their three children. He said he has two small businesses: a financial services consulting company and a business refurbishing older BMWs.

Murphy said he’s originally from New York but moved to Summit County in the spring of 2020 after living in the Bay Area.

He said in the first month of his campaign he’s split his time equally reaching out to voters on the East Side and in the Snyderville Basin. In that time, he said he’s learned a lot.

“I never saw myself as ever entering politics,” Murphy said. “But on the local level, as I see all the issues that are being grappled with by the present council, I thought I could help.”

Murphy said his history with real estate finance, his status as a small business owner and as a father with children in the school system would give him a useful perspective on the council.

Alexander joined KPCW in 2021 after two years reporting on Summit County for The Park Record. While there, he won many awards for covering issues ranging from school curriculum to East Side legacy agriculture operations to land-use disputes. He arrived in Utah by way of Madison, Wisconsin, and western Massachusetts, with stints living in other areas across the country and world. When not attending a public meeting or trying to figure out what a PID is, Alexander enjoys skiing, reading and watching the Celtics.