It was standing-room only in the Hyde Park City Council chambers Wednesday evening during the city’s nominating convention for the upcoming municipal election.
“I think it is fantastic,” Mayor Sharidean Flint said. “Anytime you get more people involved in government, it’s better.”
City Recorder Donja Wright said not only were more residents in attendance at Wednesday’s convention than she has ever seen before, but more people nominated themselves for the ballot as well.
“That’s why we hold this kind of election, because we struggle with getting enough candidates,” Wright said.
During the convention, 11 people nominated themselves to run for the three City Council seats up for election this year.
Many of those seeking nomination mentioned a desire to support growth in the city while maintaining the small-town feel in addition to facilitating greater transparency in city government.
The city’s nominating convention is held in the place of a primary election. At the convention, two candidates can be nominated for every one seat on the ballot. In the case of this year, that meant that only six of the nominated candidates could continue to the fall general election ballot.
A vote held during the meeting determined that these six candidates would be Brandon Buck, Karl White, Tiffany Atkinson, Kirk Brower, Stephanie Allred and Shannon Rhodes.
Although current City Council members Mark Hurd and Bret Randall both nominated themselves during the convention, neither one was selected for the upcoming ballot, which means there will not be any incumbents running.
Flint said she will miss working with her current colleagues but is looking forward to the perspective a new council will bring.
“I’m excited about working with new people and new ideas,” Flint said.
Flint said many of the residents at the meeting told her this was the first time they attended a nominating convention, and she hopes this involvement will continue.
Andrea Thompson is one of the Hyde Park residents who attended the convention for the first time and came in order to support the nomination of Rhodes.
Thompson said she thought many people came to the meeting to ensure there were some new names on the upcoming ballot.
“We need some new thoughts, some outside perspective and a little more transparency,” Thompson said.
Thompson also said she was excited to see the number of women who would be on the ballot.
“I’m really grateful that three women were already there,” Thompson said. “We are lucky to have a mayor that is a woman now, but that is certainly not the regular in Hyde Park’s history.”
Candidates who were selected during the convention for the fall ballot will file their declarations of candidacy with the city recorder next week. The general election will be on Nov. 5.