PROVO — Friday marked the end of the candidacy filing period for Provo’s municipal elections in November. Mayor John Curtis and council member Sterling Beck are running for re-election, while open seats are being contested in the District 2 and city-wide seat races.
According to Provo City Recorder Janene Weiss, voter turnout is always a struggle during odd-numbered-year elections. Usually only 12 to 18 percent of Provo residents show up to vote. But Weiss is optimistic for this year’s election because of multiple highly contested races.
Curtis is running on a platform of business development and public safety and plans to tout the momentum Provo has gained over the last four years, including successful projects with UTA Frontrunner, Google Fiber, Provo’s Recreation Center, Nu Skin’s building expansions and the construction of the LDS temple downtown.
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity to go out in the community and tell them about what we’ve done for the last four years,” Curtis said. “We’re in an unprecedented era of prosperity and growth in Provo. Our residents are experiencing a great quality of life that’s being recognized nationally.”
But one of Curtis’ opponents, Timothy Spencer, doesn’t look so favorably on the last four years.
“I think the current administration needs to pay more attention to the common citizen,” Spencer said. “The mayor is overpaid, and the middle class is excessively burdened by taxes.”
Spencer has pledged to not increase taxes in any way and to privatize some of the city’s commercial ventures that are currently footed by taxes. Spencer is also concerned about pollution in Provo and wants the city to use more electric cars.
Howard Stone and Jason Christensen are also running in the mayoral race but have not spoken with The Universe.
City-wide council District 1 seat is an open race after current council member Laura Cabanilla announced her intention to not run for reelection.
“I was looking forward to a crowded field — the more crowded, the better,” said John Breeding, a candidate for the opening. “Typically, everyone running will win their own neighborhood, but you really need an issue to win the whole city.”
Breeding’s issue is city zoning and property rights. Breeding feels that the city government has been unfair and bureaucratic with residents who plan to remodel their homes or rent out to a second tenant, and he has personally run into noncompliance problems with the government.
“We have too many laws and not enough freedom,” Breeding said. “My base is the people who have had the city’s boot on their throat.”
Ryan Frandsen is another candidate for the city-wide seat. He is being endorsed by Cabanilla.
“There’s a lot of interest in this race — only time will tell,” Frandsen said. “But I’m trying to convey that broader vision for Provo that is positive.”
Frandsen is focusing on three issues: making Provo the economic hub of Utah County, creating more family-oriented activities, and fostering more predictability with city planning.
Randy Wright, Leo Lines and David Sewell are also running for the seat but have not spoken with The Universe.
Incumbent Sterling Beck is running for reelection of the District 5 seat of the Municipal Council.
“It’s a question of whether Provo has done good things in the past four years,” Beck said. “We’ve been able to work with the mayor and give a good value to the citizens of Provo. The real issue moving forward is how we’re going to manage Provo’s growth. That can be a challenge, particularly with transportation issues.”
Beck is running against Jed Platt, Rae McAdams, Stephen Hemingway, Stephen Hales, Kathryn Allen and Lee Adair.
In the District 2 seat, Kim Santiago is running unopposed. The seat is being vacated by Rick Healey, who is unable to run for reelection due to the 2010 Census redrawing of district boundaries that places him outside of the district he represents.
Municipal elections will be held November 5. Primary elections will be held August 13 for each race involving more than two candidates.