A round of appreciation and acknowledgement is in order after last week’s municipal election.
Congratulations to all of the candidates who were victors, and to the Tooele County School District for voter approval of Proposition #1. May each of the mayor, council and agency/board elects represent their constituents well and perform their duties with intelligence, diligence and fidelity when they assume office in January.
Likewise, may the results of Proposition #1 (the voted local levy increase) succeed in creating greater pay equity for local teachers and give the school district more vigor in keeping good teachers, and attracting new teachers to come here instead of the Wasatch Front.
It’s no myth there is a teacher shortage in Utah, and that local teachers are being lured away for higher pay elsewhere in the state. The local school district has to drop the notoriety of being one of the lowest teacher pay districts in Utah to better succeed at teacher retention and recruitment. The majority of voters across the county who cast a ballot in the Nov. 7 municipal election evidently agree.
In regard to the candidate victors, one in particular needs to be singled out and acknowledged — Debbie Winn. The Tooele City Councilwoman and former executive director of the Tooele County Chamber of Commerce, has become the first woman elected to the mayor’s office since the city incorporated in 1853.
Although several women have been elected over the years to the Tooele City Council, including new councilwoman-elect Melodi Gochis, not until Winn has a woman broken through City Hall’s glass ceiling to sit behind the mayor’s desk and assume executive branch duties. Her 20-point victory over mayoral candidate and councilman Steve Pruden is not only a personal, courageous triumph for Winn, but also a milestone for the city.
Winn will take the oath of office in early January and will assume leadership for a city she’s known all of her life, and knows well after serving the past four-plus years on the city council. May that knowledge help guide her to make decisions that further Tooele City’s rising stature as a growing and vibrant municipality in Utah with a high standard of quality of life.
But Winn’s victory wasn’t the only landmark out of last week’s election. Although final canvassing of ballots won’t occur until tonight and tomorrow, it appears voter participation in Tooele, Grantsville and Stansbury Park increased since municipal elections in 2013 and 2015. Final counts from those three communities, and across the county, will be published in Thursday’s edition.
Any increase in voter participation during municipal elections in the county is great news. For years, we have vigorously encouraged local voters to treat municipal elections with equal, or even greater importance, than presidential elections.
The reason? Presidential elections don’t have immediate, direct impact on day-to-day life in Tooele County, but commissioners, mayors, council members, school board members, et al, do. They make decisions and administer budgets that can immediately affect everyone’s quality of life — and wallets.
Local voters who cast a ballot in last week’s municipal election are thanked for participating, and congratulated for performing a right as adult American citizens.