Former Francis mayor prepares another run at Summit County Council
Attorney Byron Ames, who served as Francis planning commissioner, councilmember and then mayor, announced he’s running for Summit County Council.
Ames is the first Republican to announce his intention to run in 2024.
He says voters tell him "quality of life" issues are important to them—the rural lifestyle in particular.
He wants to focus on preserving or improving that quality of life, and he says there are two main visions of rural life in Summit County. On one hand, he says, there’s the western aesthetic and fashion; on the other hand, there’s Francis celebrating Christmas with “cowboy carollers” riding house-to-house on horseback.
That is also to some people the image of a rural lifestyle—and very different than having the right belt buckle or hat,” he said. “So, we have elements of both of those visions of the rural lifestyle in our county. Both are important, and both can actually live and operate and feel their rural lifestyle side by side. But it's tricky.”
Everything county councilmembers work on—growth, transit, taxes, water, sewer, open space and everything in between—shapes the rural lifestyle and quality of life, he says.
He admits there are differences between the county’s east and west sides, although he is wary of oversimplifying the divide. Where there are differences, he sees them as something to bridge—something he says he’s qualified to do having served in Francis city government.
“I find that I have a unique voice that has a way of bridging that gap between or the divide between the east side of the county and the west side of the county and helping them be more cooperative and feeling represented,” Ames said.
Ames is a practicing attorney. When he withdrew from the council race in 2022, he cited unexpected growth in his practice and professional obligations.
Now, he says, the timing is right.
Ames joins a growing list of candidates vying for three at-large seats on the Summit County Council, the rest of whom are Democrats: LGBTQ+ advocate Cami Richardson, Snyderville Basin Planning Commissioner Thomas Cooke and incumbents Roger Armstrong and Tonja Hanson.
The filing window runs Jan. 2 to Jan 8. Current Council Vice Chair Malena Stevens says she will not run for reelection.