One of the few primary races for Democrats in Davis County pits a Clearfield restaurant owner against a Kays-ville real estate agent, both seeking to unseat the incumbent Republican clerk/-auditor.
Democrats Pat Herrera and Theresa Dabling filed against the incumbent, Margene Isom, and face each other in the Tuesday, June 28, primary election.Both candidates believe the clerk's office, which handles elections and voter registration, is an important one, and both say they believe they can do the job better than Isom.
Herrera, 54, ran for the legislature in 1992 and has been active in county politics for 10 years. A real estate agent, she has lived in Davis County since 1975 and has a background that includes certification as an electrocardiogram technician, work as a claims adjuster, and real estate sales.
Dabling, 64, is making her first foray into politics. She moved to Utah in 1965 as a civilian Air Force employee and retired after 25 years of service from Hill Air Force Base.
In 1987 she and her late husband started Theresa's Indian Village Restaurant, a steakhouse in Clearfield that she continues to operate.
"I see it as an opportunity," Dabling said of her decision to run for county clerk/auditor. "I've been to the clerk's office in the courthouse a number of times and I've seen things that can be done to improve the office for the people of Davis County."
One of those things, Dabling said, is more emphasis on voter registration. She picked up a registration book last spring and signed up two dozen voters in the first couple of hours as they came into her restaurant, Dabling said.
"There should be more emphasis on getting people to register, to participate in the political process," Dabling said. "It wouldn't be a hard thing to do, if you made a big deal out of it."
Herrera, too, said one of the main issues she sees in the campaign is "lack of interest in voter participation. People are unaware of what the county clerk/auditor does."
"There have been statements made of the lack of politeness and cooperation" in the clerk's office, Herrera said, adding that one of her goals is to "make the staff aware of complaints in order to improve the atmosphere."
Dabling said she believes that by surrounding herself with good, competent workers - a strategy she said she relied on during her years of management in the federal government - she can continue to manage her restaurant and serve as full-time clerk.
"I may be a political novice but I'm not shy about taking on a challenge. I like challenges, especially if it involves dealing with the public," said Dabling.
"I see it as an opportunity, one I believe I can do because of my ability to work long, hard hours. That's what it takes, and I can do that," she said. "I'm no stranger to a challenge. I'm assertive and I don't mind talking to people. I'm sensitive to the needs of people.
"The main thing is to give the people of Davis County the kind of service they deserve," she said.
Herrera said she, too, plans to stay active in the community. She currently serves on several community boards, including Attorney General Jan Graham's AGREE Committee and the Davis County Bicentennial Constitution Committee. She also belongs to Image de Utah, a Hispanic organization that works with young people.
"My intent is to remain active in the Davis County community," Herrera said. "I feel it is important for political figures to show concern for the people of Davis County.
"I hope to see more candidate involvement, win or lose, as we need to work together."
If she wins the primary and eventually the general election, Herrera said, Davis residents "will see a very active county clerk, encouraging citizens of all ages to register and vote, and helping them to understand the system a little better."