Economic development of Summit County is the top priority for all four County Commission candidates running for office this year.
For the two-year position, Republican Franklin D. Richards Jr., faces off against Democrat Cliff Blonquist, a Summit County commissioner from 1983-87. This is Richards' first try at a political office, although he has been on the Governor's Committee for Cost Effective Government, and was the vice president of the Housing Finance Agency for eight years.Richards would like to see "controlled, high-tech economic growth" in the county, much like that represented by Lucas Western, an aerospace firm which will move to an industrial park near Park City in 1989. Although Blonquist agrees, the two men differ on the extent to which the county should subsidize such development.
Richards believes providing money or land like the present commission has done to attract Lucas Western is a good idea as long as the money is paid back in taxes and local purchases from local salaries. Blonquist is a little more cautious and is concerned about the bond debt providing such seed money will place on Summit County citizens.
Both candidates also favor increase unification of all three areas of Summit County - north, south and west. In fact, Blonquist is running for what has traditionally been considered the "west" commissioner position, although he lives in the north county. Commissioners should all "keep a countywide perspective," he said.
Richards echoes the sentiment, and points out there are opportunities to promote tourism countywide, not just in the Park City area. The south has the Uinta Mountains, the north hosts many miles of a planned "rails to trails" bike and hiking path and the west has skiing, he says. "All three areas should be involved," he said.
Blonquist has worked for the Park City office of Utah Power & Light for nine years and is a Coalville resident. He is married with two children.
Richards is a retired mortgage banker who owned his own company. He has lived in Park City off and on since 1970, and permanently since 1981. He is married with eight children and 10 grandchildren.
Republican LaMar Pace will run against Democrat Sheldon Richins for the four-year County Commission seat.
Again, both favor increased economic development, but Richins believes there are two phases to that development. He wants new businesses and new people in Summit County, but also believes local spending is very important. Noting Park City is an example to the entire county because its people "sell their city," Richins would like to see the north and south sides follow suit.
Pace would like to pursue new business but said he is somewhat cautious when it comes to government subsidies. He supports providing infrastructure out of public money, but believes land and equipment purchases should come from private financing.
Both candidates also support raises for county employees, who have received no cost-of-living or other increase for three years. Pace would like to study the budget and private sector salaries first, but Richins is adamant public employees "shouldn't be paid less than the private sector" for the same position.
Richins is presently self-employed but was an educator and principal at North Summit High School for 19 years. He is 52, married and has four children and 10 grandchildren. This is his first venture into politics, although he has been on the board of the Activities Association and the Utah Power & Light Consumer Board. He lives in Henefer.
Pace has been on the County Planning Commission for 16 years, the chairman of that commission for six years and on the board of adjustments for 10 years. He is retired, and he and his wife have five children and 11 grandchildren. He lives in Hoytsville.