West Jordan District 1 Election Results
By Taylor Stevens
West Jordan - After a primary debate held on July 14, West Jordan District 1 voted on Aug. 10 to move candidates Christopher M. McConnehey and Kevin Mertin on to the November general election.
In District 1, 2,351 residents voted in the primary election, according to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office. With 1,085 votes, McConnehey received 46.15 percent of the vote.
Due to the vote-by-mail election process, the results were too close to call immediately for the other two candidates. With a distance of only 33 votes separating Mertin and Thomas, the city council convened on Aug. 18 as the Board of Canvassers to officially accept and approve the results of the vote.
In the results of the vote-by-mail election, Mertin received 649 votes, or 27.61 percent of the ballots. Jay Thomas, the third candidate, received 617 votes, or 26.23 percent of the ballots.
Prior to the Aug. 11 election, all three candidates met to vie for the two open seats in November’s election, debating and discussing their visions for the city’s future at the July 14 District 1 Meet the Candidates event before an audience of around a dozen people.
The West Jordan Chamber of Commerce organized the event, and West Jordan residents submitted the questions posed in the debate.
McConnehey, who grew up in West Jordan and has served four years on the city council, said in his opening remarks that he would like to see the city continue with development and learn from the mistakes the council had made in the past. He said that lack of stability without a permanent city manager, public utilities and balancing growth with the city’s master plan are among the most important issues the city will face in the upcoming years.
Mertin, a third generation West Jordan resident who also grew up in the city, cited his background in public service—particularly his work with the fire and police departments prior to retiring 15 years ago—as his primary qualifications for a council position. When asked what he viewed as the most important issues facing West Jordan, Mertin discussed continuing with the city’s master transportation plan and addressing traffic congestion, public safety and growth.
Some other questions addressed at the meeting included hearing the candidates’ plans for bringing more business to the West Jordan area and for supporting the small businesses already here.
“I’d like to see us reduce red tape,” McConnehey said, stating that the process for developing business in West Jordan should be further streamlined. To support small businesses, McConnehey said the city should provide increased access to staff for small business owners to help them work through problems, and that the city should help create a link between residents and small businesses.
Mertin cited his experience as a small business owner, and said that he wants the city to work more with the chamber, making sure it is funded and active, in order to bring more business to the West Jordan area. He also said that he would like to see the city provide incentives to those starting small business in the city.
When asked where the candidates felt were appropriate areas for spending tax dollars, McConnehey said public safety; Mertin said improving public transportation, particularly buses and sequencing intersection lights.
“There’s still a lot that’s left to do,” McConnehey said in the debate’s closing remarks, and he said he would like to stay on to help finish the things he’s seen started.
Discussing the current tense council atmosphere of infighting and bickering, Mertin said in his final remarks, “I don’t have an ax to grind.” He said he wants to be elected for the betterment of the community rather than for a political agenda and referred to himself as a “consensus builder” and “a problem solver.”
he general election will be held Nov. 3, with voting centers at the West Jordan and Bingham Creek Libraries open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Those who prefer to vote by mail should have their voter registration forms postmarked 30 days prior to the election. Ballots for the general election will be mailed out by Oct. 6.