After a tumultuous 2010 that saw three individuals become committee chair for the Carbon County Democratic Party, organization lead positions will once again be up for nomination at the end of April.
Similarly, the Carbon County Republicans will also be electing their chair, vice chair, treasurer and secretary this spring, hoping to build local party momentum following the historic election of Republican Jae Potter to the Carbon County Commission last fall. Party convention time is here in Carbon County.
"We need to continue the party's hard work and continue to move forward by capitalizing on Jae's election," said current Carbon County Republican Committee Chairperson Karl Kraync Jr. "I would really like to see the party's youth contingency come forward during the convention and show their leadership."
Potter's election is noteworthy because he is the first Republican elected to county office in over 60 years, providing a large platform for the Republicans within the three person county commission.
The local GOP will be conducting their convention first this year, meeting on April 8th at 6:30 p.m. in the alumni room at the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center. Currently, party leadership includes Chairperson Kraync, Vice Chair Hank Savage, Secretary Casey Hope and Treasurer Jim Darter. All positions will be up for nominations and according to party leadership, their could be some significant changes within the organization.
While area Republicans are looking to move forward, local Democrats are in re-organization mode following several scandals centered around their chairperson position in 2010. Last May, former party chair Ed Chavez had forwarded an email to party members that supported then-county commission candidate Kyle Edwards in the party's primary election. Some within the local leadership felt this action was a clear violation of the neutrality a party chair should exhibit. Chavez resigned and was replaced by Bridget Dalpiaz who would resign herself just months after being elevated to the position of local party leader.
According to a July 8 article in the Sun Advocate, complaints began to surface concerning political signs on property reportedly owned by the new party chair soon after she was appointed. Even though Dalpiaz denied placing the signs, which also endorsed specific candidates, she soon stepped down sighting "back door politics and gossip." After the democratic committee accepted her resignation, long time party member Jean Boyack was appointed chair.
"We really need to do some work to unify our party on the local front," said Boyack during a recent interview with the Sun Advocate. "The local Republican party is stronger than it has been in my lifetime and we need to match their organization and enthusiasm."
According to Boyack, unifying the party and fighting redistricting policies are the major challenges facing local democrats at this time.
"We can't allow them to chop us up like they have been," she explained. "They are working to break up traditional Democratic strongholds."
Currently, the party is led by Chairperson Boyack, Vice Chair Kay Colosimo, Parliamentarian John Watkins and Secretary Treasurer/State Representative Christine Watkins.
The Democrats will hold their convention on April 29 at the Carbon County Courthouse at 7 p.m., during which time Rep. Watkins will address the group concerning this year's legislative session.
"I think we are going to see some changes within the party this year," said Watkins via telephone Tuesday night. "Jean did a great job stepping up amid last year's controversy but several of us within the party are ready to step down."
Rep. Watkins will not be seeking her position as treasurer/secretary this year. Boyack said she will step down as chairperson to allow Helper City Councilmember Brandon Wise to seek the position.
"Brandon is young and eager to learn," said Boyack. "I think it will be great for the local party to have a young and enthusiastic leader."
Boyack reported that she will seek the vice chair position, looking to provide the group with her 40 plus year's of political experience for the foreseeable future.
"We have had a great presence at many local functions this year such as the Shop-a-polooza and Taste of Home Cooking School and that was my goal," she explained. "We need to get out there as much as possible and let the community know what we stand for."
With major state issues like House Bill 477 fresh on the public's mind and local matters such as multiple use on public land and budget discretion always in the mix, motivated party leadership is vital, according to both Kraync and Boyack.