I was interested in the recent column by Richard Shaw regarding the apathy among voters particularly in the new legislative district that will now include a large portion of Carbon County.
Not only is there apathy among the citizens of Carbon, but another element largely entering into the situation: reality. Reality is the fact of the greedy "gerrymandering" action taken by the recent Republican dominated Utah state legislature. No longer will the citizens of Helper, Kenilworth, Carbonville, Spring Glen, Scofield and the Westwood area of the county behind the Castleview hospital be represented in the legislature by Brad King. These areas were placed in Legislative District 67 rather than Brad's district 69. The incumbent representative for district 67 is Darin Peterson, a Republican who resides in Nephi.
There never was much reported of this situation in the media and the citizens of Carbon County areas affected little realized what had happened. In fact when the official notice for filing for public issued by the Carbon County clerk in the Sun Advocate, legislative district 67 was not ever listed as an office up for election.
In saying reality may well be the reason for the lack of a Carbon resident filing for the seat one has only to look at the areas included in district 67. They include the Carbon County areas cited above plus the north Sanpete County towns of Fairview and Fountain Green; southern Utah County towns of Santaquin, Genola, Goshen, and Elberta; the Juab towns of Nephi, Levan and Mona, as well as the county areas surrounding these towns.
Rep. Peterson is unopposed except for a Libertarian candidate from Utah County. In viewing all this it is quite evident that the legislature has done a thorough job of disenchanting voters in the affected Carbon areas. In reality, what chance has a candidate from our county, particularly a Democratic candidate, stand in such a setup.
In view of the continuing controversy over the Gooseberry Project, a Carbon candidate could not expect very many votes from Sanpete County. Conservative Utah and Juab Counties can always be expected to return sizable majorities for a Republican candidate.
In conclusion a Democratic candidate from Carbon would be wasting time and money against insurmountable odds. The Legislature took care of this in the redistricting process mandated by the 2000 census.
The sad part of this situation is the fact that citizens of Carbon County are stuck with it for 10 years and then the legislature will once again gerrymander the districts after the 2010 census figures are in.