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Salt Lake County: County Commission Seat B

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Mark L. Shurtleff (R)

Mark Shurtleff is a political conservative who believes in the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution, "solid Republican values and principled leadership."

A newcomer to the Salt Lake County political scene, Shurtleff has nonetheless been involved in county government, working as a deputy county attorney for the past several months. In that capacity he has taken on some unpopular causes that have earned him the ire of other county politicians, though County Attorney Doug Short swears by his work ethic and integrity.

Shurtleff has tried to distance himself from Short, responding to critics that are concerned that Short would have a role in his administration.

Shurtleff has focused his campaign on law enforcement and management of growth. He advocates more community involvement with law enforcement such as participation in mentoring, community watch and intervention programs. He himself has been heavily involved in those types of activities.

Shurtleff's stance on growth is zoning for cluster development and mixed-use housing, and using planning and zoning to preserve open space. He has said he would not vote to increase taxes during his term. He supports a change in county government from three commissioners to a council/executive form and wants to study the possibility of privatizing public works functions.

A Salt Lake native, Shurtleff worked as an attorney for the Navy and in private practice in Orange County, Calif., before returning to Utah.

He was unable to eliminate Steve Harmsen in the April Republican convention, though he did emerge the front-runner.

Married with five children, Shurtleff lives in Sandy.

Stephen M. Harmsen (R)

Steve Harmsen is a former Salt Lake City commissioner who wants to become a Salt Lake County commissioner.

Over the Public Works Department in his city position, Harmsen anticipates that incumbent Commissioner Randy Horiuchi's successor also will oversee public works. Given his experience, Harmsen says, he "will hit the ground running - in the right direction."

During the primary campaign, Harmsen has focused on his cooperative nature, which he says would help resolve the conflicts within county government. He also has stressed his extensive business experience in real estate and other things. He is currently owner and president of a farm and nursery supply wholesaler.

Harmsen is not afraid to get detailed in his campaign promises, such as proposing traffic-light synchronization and getting rid of the windmills in front of the Salt Palace Convention Center. He says he will not raise taxes.

One interesting idea that Harmsen has proposed is his method of preserving open space in the rapidly growing Salt Lake Valley. He says there is no way zoning regulations are going to keep enough open space, so the county should buy land with money from its own coffers to maintain it. (Opponent Mark Shurtleff says there isn't enough money for such a scheme.)

Harmsen also advocates more local control over planning and zoning, leaving the ultimate decisions to locally elected bodies.

The candidate describes himself as a person who takes things and develops them over time. He prefers consistent, if incremental, improvement over the swoop-in-take-charge-take-no-prisoners method of leadership. He recently ran for Salt Lake mayor and was once the Republican nominee for the 2nd Congressional District.

He is married, with six children.