Well... it turns out this stuff is pretty important, people. Don't believe me? See what Samantha Bee has to say about the bang up job we all did in the last election, when nobody showed up to the midterms and blatantly ignored local politics.
Yeah. Not our finest moment. But I get it. We're in the same boat, you and I. This sleep-deprived rowboat filled with screaming children that are always one step away from the doctor's office. As parents, we just don't have time to research and carefully select anything. And while I get to feel like a superior, responsible adult because I cast a ballot, I'll never know how often my haphazard scribbles have resulted in budget cuts and teacher layoffs at our school or the kind of air quality that makes me cringe every time I hear my kid cough.
So this election season, if you live in Salt Lake County, I'm gonna do you a solid. Because I happen to know a little bit about the race for Salt Lake County Council. Why should you care? Well, the Salt Lake County Council is in charge of some pretty vital things. And the decisions they make touch our everyday life in a myriad of ways that you're probably not even aware of. Here's a short list of stuff they're in charge of within Salt Lake County:
- The budget
- The laws
- The ordinances
- Dividing the county up into precincts
- Overriding the Executive (translation, the mayor)
- Making appointments to empty county seats
- Oversight of the county jail
- Basically everything that starts with county in Salt Lake County
Who is running for Salt Lake County Council? Funny you should ask...
First up, we have the incumbent. His name is Richard Snelgrove (yes, he's a Republican). As his name might suggest, he's from around here. Richard has been running for local offices since 1998. He's lost more than half of the elections he's been in, but he won a seat on the Salt Lake County Council in 2010. I've looked at Richard's record in office and while he considers himself a champion of taxpayers, his decisions as a member of the council strike me as short-sighted and poor governance. And now Richard is up for re-election. Oh, goodie.
His challenger? Catherine Kanter. The daughter of two teachers from Oklahoma, Catherine has made her home in the Wasatch mountains with her two boys and husband. By profession, she is an attorney, but Catherine has been getting involved in local causes and serving her community for years. She's been part of the Granite Community Council and more recently, was appointed as part of the Mountain Planning District Commission. She's running for office because she's passionate about local politics and believes good governance has the power to change ordinary lives.
I'll admit, I'm a sucker for someone whose life looks life mine. Why? Because I assume that on some level, she faces the same challenges I do as a mother. But let's dig a little deeper. What does the internet tell me is important to Catherine? One glance at her website and I'm in. Because her issues look a laundry list of things that as a Salt Lake local, I'd really like to see change.
- Criminal Justice Reform: Catherine sees this as a matter of pubic safety, but also acknowledges that much of the problem stems from rampant mental health and substance abuse issues. She'd look for ways to get at the root cause. Lady is speaking my language!
- Transportation: Public transit has expanded, but it still needs to improve, especially in certain areas of the county that have been left out of the loop. YASSS.
- Early Childhood Education: Investing in kids and families is an easy way to grow healthier communities. We need to so SO SO much more of this. Catherine serves on the board of trustees at Neighborhood House, the only NAEYC accredited non-profit preschool in Utah with a sliding scale fee structure. She's advocating for finding ways to help our communities do more for kids sooner. And I am totally on board with that.
- Air quality: Want to stop coughing like a hyena through the entire winter? Me, too. Catherine has your back and she's going to work hard to help our kiddos stop choking on air so thick, you could take a bite out of it. Preach, sister!
And no matter who you support, vote damnit. It matters.
Want to learn more about Catherine and her campaign? You can follow her on Facebook and drop into one of her community events to chat.