Utah County Democrats are offering the strongest field of legislative candidates that I’ve seen in many years of observing Utah politics. The remarkable class of candidates reflects the strong leadership county Democratic Chair Richard Davis and Vice-Chair Larry Brown. Davis, a BYU political science professor, is showing that someone who hangs out in the ivory tower can also fight and scrap and do the nuts and bolts grassroots work so important in building a county party.
Many of the candidate recruits are prominent in their communities and have strong ties to BYU and the LDS Church. Most of them will run smart, well-organized campaigns. While winning in overwhelmingly Republican Utah County will always be difficult for Democrats, it’s clear that GOP candidates are going to have to get out and work, for a change. Here’s a list of the current Democratic candidates, with more expected to announce over the next few weeks. The Republican incumbent in each district is also noted.
Senate 13: Ken Peay is a retired commander of the Utah Highway Patrol in Utah County and worked in law enforcement for 31 years. He heads the criminal justice program at Provo College. In 2006, he ran against Becky Lockhart in House District 64. (Sen. Mark Madsen)
House 27: Gwyn Franson is a former member of the Highland City Council. She was the only person to be elected to two terms on the council. She is currently an elementary school teacher at Highland Elementary School. Her husband, Jay, is currently the mayor of Highland. (Rep. John Dougall)
House 58: Steven Baugh is a former superintendent of the Alpine School District. A native of Orem, he is currently on the faculty of the College of Education at BYU. (Rep. Stephen Sandstrom)
House 59: Paul Thompson is a former president of Weber State University and former dean of the Marriott School of Management at BYU. He recently returned as president of the Massachusetts Boston LDS Mission. (Rep. Lorie Fowlke)
House 60: Boyd McAffee is a retired educator in the Alpine School District and currently director of the Clear Creek Camp in Scofield, Utah. He is a long time Boy Scouter. His father served as a Democrat in the state legislature representing Provo. (Rep. Brad Daw)
House 61: Deon Turley is the president of the Provo Council PTA. She previously served as secretary of the Provo council PTA; secretary to the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters; and Deputy County Clerk in Weber County. (Rep. Keith Grover)
House 62: Claralyn Hill is a local estate planning attorney in Provo. She is a co-author (along with Dallin H. Oaks and Reese Hansen) of a well-known textbook on trusts. She has served on the boards of several community organizations and is a popular lecturer with her husband, Ned, on budgeting and estate planning. Her husband is dean of the Marriott School of Management at BYU. (Rep. Chris Herrod)
House 63: Don Jarvis is a retired professor of Russian at BYU. He was director of the faculty center at BYU and is currently a consultant on faculty development at UVSC. He also served as president of the Russia Moscow LDS Mission. (Rep. Stephen Clark)