Kerry Casady's older brothers have been involved in politics for years. But the younger Casady stayed behind the scenes until he moved back into Draper a couple of years ago and got tired of what he calls "seeing the south end of the valley get the wrong end of the stick."
In the June 23 primary, Casady, a Republican, is challenging freshman GOP Rep. Dave Hogue for the House District 52 seat, the largest geographic district in Salt Lake County. It covers Draper, Bluffdale and Riverton and stretches all the way into parts of West Jordan. The district's population has grown so much that it will be split at least once, maybe twice, after the 2000 Census and redistricting.Hogue says the district isn't shortchanged. "I've done what I promised I would" when he ran two years ago. "I've been an effective, strong voice for this area," says Hogue, 54, a business consultant.
"Dave Hogue is a nice guy. Too nice a guy. We need someone who will stand up for this end of the valley, and I'll do that," says Casaday, a 34-year-old partner in an industrial material packaging company. "When the Legislature ends each year our area gets what's left over, if even that," Casady says.
Not only is I-15 torn up - Casady understands the need for that - "but some of our main east-west roads are ripped apart also. What is UDOT doing? It takes more than half an hour to drive from I-15 to Riverton no matter what road you take," Casady says. The district's House member needs to get involved in that kind of planning, or lack of it, he says.
Hogue says he has personally interceded to help businesses deal with construction on 12300 and 12600 South streets. "The businesses were having some real problems and I helped those people" with UDOT construction schedules, Hogue says.
State Sen. Mont Evans, R-Riverton, held the House seat for years and he's one of Hogue's main backers. In fact, Casady says that soon after he filed against Hogue, Evans called and told him that he (Casady) didn't live in the district and that Evans would see him disqualified as a candidate.
"We spent a lot of time studying election maps," Casady says. When the eastern boundary of District 52 was drawn in 1991, Casady's neighborhood didn't exist. "A proposed road (that was supposed to be the boundary) on the map ran right through my living room," he jokes.
Casady hired former GOP state chairman Frank Suitter as his attorney and after a number of meetings, state and county election officials agreed Casady does live in the district. "It was stupid. I've voted in District 52 time and again since we moved in," Casady says.
Hogue knows the maps well. Asked about them, he pulls three sets from his briefcase. Each has Casady's home marked, and each has a district boundary line that shows Casady out of the district by only a number of feet. But Hogue won't argue the point anymore.
Casady is armed with a letter from Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, based on discussions with the Lieutenant Governor's Office and Attorney General's Office, saying Casady lives in the district.
Casady is endorsed by the conservative Utah Republican Assembly, which sent out questionnaires to dozens of GOP candidates this year. The assembly doesn't endorse Hogue. It endorses only four GOP legislative incumbents.
"I don't know what that (endorsement) means. I didn't think their questionnaire was wacko. I do believe in the U.S. Constitution. But I'm no nut. I wouldn't vote for Bo Gritz. I don't carry an AK47 in the back seat of my car," Casady says.
This is the first time Casady has run for office. But he's vice chairman of the state GOP's Elephant Club, a big-donor group; has been a county, state and national Republican delegate; sits on the board of directors of the Larry Miller Charities; and is active in church and the Boy Scouts, he said.
Hogue says he'll appeal to long-time GOP voters in the district. He points to his lengthy residency in Riverton. Historically, Riverton has been the heart of the district. No candidate from Draper has won. Casady realizes that and says he has a satellite campaign office in a friend's Riverton home and walks the city neighborhoods regularly.