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Layton to narrow field of 9 council candidates to 2 on Oct. 4

LAYTON — Nine residents have declared candidacy for two seats on the Layton City Council. On Oct. 4, they will face off in a primary election. The four who receive the most votes will run against each other in the Nov. 8 general election.

Each candidate was asked this week to respond to a questionnaire. A summary of their responses is featured below. Two candidates, Ryan C. Jenkins and Mike Norton, could not be reached for comment.

Michael J. Bouwhuis, 56, works as an administrator at Davis Applied Technology College. He received a bachelor's degree from Weber State University and a master of education degree from Brigham Young University.

Bouwhuis served two years on the Layton City Council. Top issues facing the city include traffic mitigation, economic development and quality growth in West Layton.

Bouwhuis says he has developed important relationships and has strong skills in land planning and budgeting that would help him if elected to the City Council.

Michael W. Cooper, 48, is a truck driver for Albertsons. He was a City Council member in Yelm, Wash. and was active in community planning and service in Yelm.

Layton is facing several challenges, according to Cooper. Besides growth management, the city needs to attract quality manufacturing jobs, amend ordinances that deal with utility deposits, work with the police department to gain exposure to city residents and obtain federal funding to build and maintain homeless shelters, said Cooper.

"The citizenry of Layton have many concerns," he said.

Michael Courtney, 49, is a computer network administrator. He has no previous political experience and has lived in Layton for nine years.

Growth management, consistent planning and accessibility to government are top challenges facing Layton, according to Courtney. "I am not against growth," he said. "However, I will carefully and thoroughly study changes proposed by special interest groups, keeping in mind the quality of life of our residents above all else.

Courtney says he plans to listen to "every" citizen if elected.

Nicholas J. Ferre, 26, is an employee relations representative for the Utah Public Employee's Association. He is currently studying political science and public administration at the University of Utah.

Ferre has lived in Layton for 18 years. Planning for the future of Layton requires a "delicate balance" of public and private interests. As a younger candidate, Ferre says he can "bring new solutions and ideas to old issues" within the city.

Scott Freitag, 36, is the Public Information Officer for the Salt Lake City Fire Department. He has never run for political office but has served as battalion chief in the Layton Fire Department, among other positions.

Freitag says the growth in Layton city is currently unbalanced. Pedestrian safety has decreased, he said. Jobs in the city do not pay enough for someone to live on. "Transportation, congestion, public safety and a sense of community have suffered."

H. Loran Hubbard, 46, is an IAQ manager. He attended some college but says he is a graduate of the "School of Hard Knocks." Hubbard has never run for political office.

Layton residents are suffering from poor representation in city government, according to Hubbard. Public input needs to be better received, he said. City Council decisions should be made more accessible to residents.

"I believe there are effective ways to better represent the will of the people," he said.

Kathy Hyde, 49, is the executive director of the Utah Commission on Volunteers. She is a current member of the Layton Planning Commission.

Balancing growth while maintaining quality of life is one of the most important issues facing Layton, according to Hyde. Also, individuals and families need to become more involved in the community, she said.

"As Americans, we not only have many opportunities to serve but we have a responsibility to serve."