SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Democratic party concluded its state convention on Saturday at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. This convention had the most delegates in the history of the Utah Democratic party.
Candidates for congressman, national committeeman and national committeewoman spoke to the Democratic delegates on Saturday, April 21. Delegates voted for the candidates who would represent their districts after the speeches concluded.
National Committeeman and National Committee Woman
Delegates selected Wayne Holland, outgoing chair of the Utah Democratic Party, to represent them as national committeeman at the national convention. Delegates also selected Patrice Arent, incumbent state house representative in district 36, to represent them as national committeewoman.
Utah’s U.S. Congressional Districts
Delegates chose nominees for U.S. Congress in Utah’s four Congressional Districts.
To win a nomination, a candidate must win 60 percent of the vote. Neither candidate from the 1st Congressional District did this in the first two rounds of voting.
Delegates are currently deciding between Ryan Combe and Donna McAleer. After the second round of voting Combe had 49.46 percent of the vote and McAleer had 50.75 percent of the vote.
McAleer joined the U.S. Army at 17 years of age and is a graduate of West Point. She earned a master’s degree in business administration after her military service and went on to work as an executive in the private sector, compete in the 2002 U.S. Olympic bobsled trials, run the nonprofit People’s Heath Clinic in Summit County, coach high school and youth sports, teach skiing, and raise a daughter.
McAleer said her priorities as a candidate are protecting America’s veterans, improving education, and retaining federal control of Utah public lands.
Combe is the founder of Zenyo LLC, the parent company of Spoon Me restaurants. He is currently the director of marketing and member relations at the Weber State University alumni association. Combe also served a mission in Argentina for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his experiences on that mission shape many of his political views.
“I left for two years and went to South America, and I saw what it was like to have a failing education. I saw what it was like to see entire communities lost and disenfranchised. I saw what it was like to have a country without a middle class, and we cannot allow that to happen here,” Combe said.
Combe wants to reach out to young people, Latinos, and members of the LDS church.
“I’m a candidate that can relate to young people and they can relate to me,” Combe said. “I can tell them that they don’t want to wait until they’re 30 years old and find out there’s 46 kids in (their children’s) kindergarten class before they get involved,” Combe said.
Combe said one of the reasons he can engage with the Latino community is because he is fluent in Spanish.
“Right now in the northern Utah 1st district we have over 70,000 Latinos, very few of which who vote. We need to engage this community. I’m proud to say that I’m a part of the Latino community and I speak Spanish. We need to be able to speak to these people and let them know that their voice counts and their time to be active is now,” he said.
Combe also wants to tell LDS people that they can vote Democrat without compromising their faith.
“We need to reach out to the people that think because they were born and raised here that they only have one option when they go to the polls,” Combe said. “I want to be able to tell them that I was sixth generation and I grew up thinking I had to be a Republican too … I want to share my story with them and let them know there is a place for their values here. And they may walk in thinking they’re Republican but they’ll leave knowing they’re Democrat.”
Voting for Congressional District 1 continues. Officials expect to announce the nominee by 5 p.m. on Monday.
The congressional nominee for Congressional District 2 is Jay Seegmiller. Seegmiller’s priority is creating and bringing back jobs to Utah.
“If everyone has a good paying job a lot of our problems would be solved,” Seegmiller said during his speech. “We cannot produce high-paying jobs if we do not have a highly educated workforce.”
In an interview with St. George News, Seegmiller said he wants to create green energy in Milford and Delta because they already have the infrastructure in place. He also wants to have companies partner with colleges like Southern Utah University and Dixie State College of Utah to create science and engineering jobs. Seegmiller believes that if companies have ties to the community they will be less likely to leave Utah.
St. George News asked Seegmiller what he would do to help current non-science/engineering college graduates who are unemployed or drastically underemployed.
Seegmiller said, “I have to sit down with people to get ideas. I’m putting together a team of business owners, economists, and professors.”
The congressional nominee for Congressional District 3 is Soren Simonsen. Simonsen is a native Utahn who has lived most of his adult life in Salt Lake County and Utah County. He wants to bring the values of diplomacy, thrift, and stewardship to the U.S. Congress.
Jim Matheson is the uncontested nominee for Utah’s new Congressional District 4. He served as representative for Utah’s Congressional District 2 since 2001, until redistricting officials redrew Utah’s congressional districts.
Matheson is a sixth-generation Utahn raised in Salt Lake City. He wants the U.S. to become independent of foreign energy. He wants to create jobs, improve the economy, and increase Utah exports.
Utah’s U.S. Senate District
Only one of Utah’s U.S. senate seats is open this year. Scott Howell took the nomination against fellow Democratic candidates Pete Ashdown and William Peterson. Howell will face-off against either incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch or Dan Liljenquist, one of whom will be chosen at the Republican Primary in June, and other parties’ candidates.
Uncontested Democratic nominations for Utah state positions:
Treasurer, Chris Stout
Auditor, Mark Sage
Attorney General, Dee Smith
Governor, Peter Cooke
Lt. Governor, Vince Rampton, by appointment
House, David Litvack
Senate, Ross Romero
The Democratic nominees will face off with Republican, Libertarian, Constitution and Americans Elect party nominees in November. For results of the Utah Republican State Nominating Convention, held in Sandy on the same weekend, and how they slate against the Democratic party nominees, see related St. George News article, Scandal and drama deliver surprise at UT GOP convention; election results for 2 parties.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.