This article by Carolyn Murray originally appeared on KPCW.org. Read it in its entirety here.
Action Utah is an organization formed after the divisive 2016 national elections. Their mission is to help citizens get involved in the legislative process in a civil and productive manner. Three of Park City’s state representatives attended the event and provided guidance for constituents to interact with them personally.
House District 28 Representative Brian King, from Salt Lake City and Tim Quinn, House District 54 from Wasatch County attended the event. Ron Winterton, State Senator from Roosevelt representing District 26, also attended.
They are all available by phone, texting or email. King uses twitter to let his constituents know what the democratic caucus is working on and he sends email updates regularly. He prefers texting because he likes the written reminder, but he takes phone calls and will meet personally. Quinn welcomes phone calls and hears frequently from both Park City and Summit County elected officials. Winterton is open to phone calls and emails but all three representatives say when the legislature is in session, the best method to reach them is through their legislative email or on the phone. They all ask for civility and respectful communications and during the session, they request people to be as concise with their communication as possible.
Action Utah Co-Founder Andrea Himoff, in a nod to the very heavily gerrymandered Park City district, asked the following question.
“So, I sometimes joke that because I live in Park City, I can see all five state legislative districts from my bedroom window. But that’s an actual fact. I can. Yet, none of our state legislators are actually from Park City. So, how do you, as legislators who represent this area, know what we want and what we need in your representation of us?”
Democrat Brian King represents HD 28 which includes about 5000 Park City residents from Summit Park and a portion of Pine Brook. He says most legislators will take time to talk on the phone or meet in person. He says he tries hard to respond to constituents during the session which lasts 45 days from the end of January to the beginning of March. During the rest of the year, he says he is available to anyone in Park City regardless if they live in District 28.
“Coming to meetings like this and going to community council meetings and just being responsive when people contact you and say, hey, I’ve got something I want to talk to you about. And, I realize some people are going to seek me out because of the initials behind my name, maybe a little quicker than they might seek out somebody who is on the other side of the aisle. And I take that seriously and this really is the best time to talk to us as legislators.”
Republican Tim Quinn representing HD 54 lives in Wasatch County but says he hears from his Summit County constituents and elected officials regularly. He points to the Park City plastic bag ban as an example of his local support.
“I think that Summit County should have its own representative for a house district and I’ve already told leadership in my party that I think Summit County ought to have its own representative. On a particular ban that you guys imposed, you’ll find all three of us joined efforts to fight those fights for you. And I think in my opinion it was much to the benefit of Summit County and Park City.”
In 2011, Park City was taken from two to three house districts. King says the gerrymandering was done for political reasons, but he says, as a result, Summit County has three representatives instead of one.
“Now, you can come down on either side of this argument. But, it’s not a frivolous argument to make but having three people in the house to talk to, each of whom feels some obligation to represent Summit County, actually gives Summit county greater representation. I come down on either side of that and I understand both sides of the argument.”
Senator Allen Christiansen and Representative Logan Wilde did not attend the Action Utah forum.
The contact information for all five Park City representatives: