SALT LAKE CITY — Rep.-elect Mia Love, R-Utah, added her voice Tuesday to the growing opposition to sites under consideration for a new state prison, telling lawmakers it's "not warranted" to include three potential locations in her district.
In a letter to the Legislature's Prison Relocation Commission, Love said the identification of sites in Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain and West Jordan in the 4th District "is a matter of great concern" to her constituents.
Love, a former Saratoga Springs mayor, said the Salt Lake and Utah county residents she will represent in Congress "were disappointed to see three sites in this district, and all of the potential sites for the prison are located on the west side."
She asked members to "evaluate the proposed communities' ability to successfully grow and attract businesses if a prison relocates there. Doing so should leave no doubt that the inclusion of these sites was not warranted."
The commission, charged with recommending to the 2015 Legislature where the aging Utah State Prison at Point of the Mountain in Draper should be relocated, last week released a shortlist of six sites in Salt Lake, Utah and Tooele counties.
Opposition has surfaced to all of the potential sites from local government officials and residents. A citizens' group, No Prison in Tooele County, is planning a rally Thursday.
Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, co-chairman of the commission, said new criteria adopted that includes looking at the impact of a prison on economic development and population growth could mean some communities drop off the list.
"I would probably be disappointed if Rep. Love did not represent her constituency or at least try to influence the decision," Stevenson said when told about the letter.
But he said commission members are focused on the evaluation criteria.
"We're trying to keep this process for this site as pure and as nonpolitical as we can," Stevenson said. "At this point, I just want to see scores. I'm not scoring emails."
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