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City Council Corner

Kelvyn Cullimore, Jr.

The Rights and Duties of Citizenship
By City Councilmember Scott Bracken

One of our most closely held rights is that of the right to vote. It's also a duty of citizenship. Unfortunately, far too many citizens don't seem to realize that elections occur more often than every four years. In elections where the office of President of the United States is not in the ballot, turn out is often low. In odd-numbered years and “mid term” elections, it’s often much worse. This is troubling to me not only as an elected official sworn to uphold the constitution, but as a citizen as well.

Election Day is coming next month (the 4th) and although it's not a presidential election, many key offices - that likely will have a greater impact on your life - are on our ballot. Each of Utah's four Congressmen is on the ballot as well as the Attorney General for the State. Considering all the press the AG’s office has received over the last year or so, and the National impact of some Utah laws working their way to the US Supreme Court, ensuring the office is filled by the right person is critical.

Other more local offices include our Utah House representatives. The Constitution reserves significant power to the States, and so the members of our State Legislature carry significant weight in creating the laws that affect our quality of life, our finances and our legacy. If you don't know who your representative is, you ought to get to know them. We have three that represent parts of the city. They are our neighbors too.

One of the seats on the Canyons School District is up for grabs - our schools are core to our community values and quality of life and our children’s future. Those that serve on the school board are integral to how our community functions. This is evidenced by the many cooperative efforts between the school district, city, and the Cottonwood Heights Recreational Center.

This year the office of Sheriff is on the ballot. Even though we have an awesome Cottonwood Heights police department that takes care of our immediate public safety needs, we also have shared associations with the county sheriff's office, which has responsibility for the Jail, Canyon Patrol, search & rescue and other countywide services. As the Sheriff also provides police services (via UPD) in some areas of the county, it's key that that office coordinates well with city Police Chiefs in the county to ensure effective service across jurisdictions.

In case you're wondering, city offices (municipal elections) take place in odd numbered years. So, those of us in Cottonwood Heights have and election every November. Next year, we will elect one half of the city council (Districts 1 & 2). The Cottonwood Heights Rec Center board of trustees also has elections in odd numbered years.

All elections are important, as they mark occasions where we choose those who will make decisions on our behalf. Those decisions affect our neighborhoods, our common good, & our kids' education. Take the time to look into the candidates and mail in or cast your ballot. With the many ways voting has been made more convenient (vote by mail, early voting etc.) over the last decade or so, there isn't any reason your voice shouldn’t be heard.