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Salt Lake County mayoral hopefuls Mark Crockett, Ben McAdams battle for undecided voters

Published: Sunday, Oct. 28 2012 5:15 p.m. MDT

McAdams has been a member of the Utah State Senate since 2009 and has worked as a consultant managing relationships between Salt Lake City and local businesses, cities and municipalities. He presents himself as the candidate willing to listen to all sides and work across party lines, a trait he says sets him apart from his opponent and better qualifies him for the job.

"You can look at our track records and see we have stark differences in how we approach problem-solving," McAdams said.

Two different approaches

A corporate consultant and former member of the Salt Lake County Council, Crockett said he is campaigning for an executive job, not a legislative role. He spent several years as a corporate consultant "fixing companies" and is the venture-backed CEO of his own Utah-based business.

"We need to rethink the way we spend our money at the county," Crockett said. "Helping large organizations fix their budgets and improve their services is what I've done with my career. … I think my experience and career in this would be pretty helpful right now."

Crockett hopes to apply the model of cutting operating costs that he employed as a consultant to the county's affairs. Reducing operating costs by 5 percent could stave off tax increases, he said.

Both men have a background in corporate law.

The McAdams campaign has been working for months to paint the county orange. The Democrat has generated a highly visible campaign, backed by a slew of Republican mayors. McAdams said the nine GOP endorsements speak to the number of Salt Lake County voters who prioritize issues over party.

Crockett responded to the endorsements by saying many of those mayors have told him they would be happy working with a Crockett administration. He has received formal endorsements from Gov. Gary Herbert and Josh Romney, son of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

McAdams suggested that anyone questioning whether the "Republicans for Ben Committee" is fully on board should ask them.

The candidates have maintained a rigorous debate schedule during the past month, with one debate remaining at the University of Utah on Tuesday, a week before Election Day. 

On specific issues, McAdams and Crockett agree on a commitment to keep taxes low, pursue clean air initiatives, increase government efficiency and support municipal services.

They have disagreed on what public transit options to pursue, with Crockett arguing that roads and buses should not be forgotten in possible expansion plans and McAdams emphasizing mass transit options.

From the beginning, McAdams has spoken out against SkiLink, a proposal for a gondola to connect the Canyons and Solitude resorts. Crockett has been slowly retreating from the idea, at first arguing the project be considered and later labeling himself undecided on the issue. 

Crockett has traditionally couched his support of parks, recreation and the arts, saying such expenditures should be carefully prioritized and state and local assistance considered. McAdams has said the county's support in these areas increases quality of life.

* * *

Mark Crockett 

Age: 46

Occupation: Managing director of Vici Capital Partners

Education: BYU, bachelor's degree; Stanford, law degree  

Political experience: Salt Lake County Council, 2005-08 

Family: Judy; two children

Residence: Holladay 

Website: www.markcrockett.com

* * *

Ben McAdams 

Age: 37

Occupation: Senior adviser to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker; teaches securities law at the University of Utah 

Education: University of Utah, bachelor's degree; Columbia, law degree 

Political experience: Utah State Senate, 2009-present 

Family: Julie; four children

Residence: Salt Lake City

Website: benmcadams.com

E-mail: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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