Despite the fact that a presidential race was not in play, the Democratic State Convention attracted a record turnout the weekend of April 20-21. Approximately one-third of attendees were first-time delegates. One of the highlights of the convention was the outreach to members of the LDS Church, emphasizing that Democratic values are those also cherished by its followers. The newly-formed LDS Caucus welcomed many new Democrats to the gathering, bringing fresh participation and leadership to the party in every corner of Utah.

State delegates filled the standing-room-only convention hall to hear speeches from candidates for both state and national offices before casting their votes.

Candidates winning the vote for positions that will be on the ballot in Kane County – and who will be visiting our area during the campaign season – include the following:

Governor and Lieutenant Governor

Peter Cooke and Vince Rampton will run for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Major General (Ret.) Peter Cooke became the Commanding General of the U.S. Army 96th Regional Readiness Command in 2005. Overseeing 10,000 soldiers and civilians, Cooke received the Army Community of Excellence Award for the best managed command in the United States Army Reserve in 2009. Since his retirement from the Army Reserve two years ago, Cooke has taken proactive initiatives to address veteran’s needs by founding “Reporting4Duty” (human capital management for veterans), the National Center for Veterans Studies, and Partnership with America (helping veterans transition into the civilian workplace). Visit www.cookeforgovernor.com for more information.

Vince Rampton is the son of the late Utah Governor Cal Rampton. He is an attorney with the law firm of Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough, specializing in the area of real estate and general commercial trial practice. He holds a political science degree from the University of Utah and a law degree from Brigham Young University.

State Senate District 28

Geoffrey Chesnut, a lawyer with Red Rock Legal Services in Cedar City, will run against whomever wins the Republican primary for that position. More information about Chesnut is at http://www.geoffreychesnut.com.

State Treasurer

Christopher Stout is a professional accountant in Salt Lake City.

State Attorney General

Dee Smith, the current Weber County Attorney, is running to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Mark Shurtleff.

U.S. Senate

Scott Howell won his Senate candidacy without facing a primary, though he had strong competition. He will face the winner of the Republican Senate primary. Howell, a former State Senator and minority leader, is not new to Utah politics. He is also a former member of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics and is currently an executive for IBM.

Congressional District 2

(This is the seat vacated by Jim Matheson, who is running in the newly-created District 4.) Jay Seegmiller won his candidacy outright against two other candidates for District 2. Seegmiller’s roots go deep in southern Utah, with generations of his family living in Alton and St. George, and he has plans to someday retire to Hurricane.

Seegmiller has loved and worked on the railroad his entire career, and is currently a conductor for Amtrak.

In 2008, he won a seat in the Utah State Legislature by defeating a sitting Speaker of the House by a substantial margin. One of his main concerns is job creation for a growing, changing Utah. More information is at www.jayforjobs.com.

Anyone interested in more information about the Utah State Democratic Party can visit www.utahdemocrats.org.