OGDEN — The economy is the key concern for both candidates running for a place on the Weber County Commission.
“We need to bring jobs to Weber County, we need high-tech jobs, we need manufacturing jobs and we need to work on bringing tourism to Weber County,” said Republican candidate Matthew Bell, 51.
Bell, a lieutenant with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, is facing Democrat Corey Combe, 61, a resident of Uinta Highlands and owner of Combe’s Tree Farms, a landscaping business.
“I’d like to work with all of the government departments in Weber County and try to maximize their use and try to do it without having to raise taxes,” Combe said.
The candidates are looking to fill the seat which is now occupied by Commission Chairman Craig Dearden, who did not seek another term.
Bell is married with one child, while Combe is married with four children and 12 grandchildren.
Both are Bonneville High School graduates and both candidates have experience in the private sector.
For Bell, that experience includes his connections to his family’s business, Bell Photographers, as a former part owner, manager and operator. He is currently a part owner of Weber Self Storage.
“I’ve been in the private sector,” Bell said. “I know what it’s like to make payroll.”
Combe runs his landscaping business.
“I’ve had 40 years of experience running my own private business so I’ve gone up and down with the economy,” Combe said. “I know how to budget.”
Combe is a political newcomer, compared to Bell, who has served as chairman of the Weber County Republican Party for the past seven years.
Although he has not been politically involved, Combe said he has spent years working with the community, donating landscaping services to local organizations, such as Christmas Box House and the Dinosaur Park.
“I have a long history doing business in Weber County and I have a lot of experience in problem solving. I would like to bring that to the commission,” Combe said. “I think there is a lot of opportunity in Weber County.”
Both hope their backgrounds can help them improve Weber County’s economic prospects.
Combe believes the county needs to support the newly appointed economic development director.
Residents need to make sure the director has the time and funds to seek businesses to come to Weber County, Combe said.
Bell said the county needs to bring in and support private business.
“I know private business is the key to this economy, not government,” Bell said. “That’s where government gets its money from.”
Combe said the county needs to grow its future workforce from the inside, encouraging education as a way to improve job growth, not only through universities, but through other career training such as welding or machinist at Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College.
The Board of Commissioners consists of three members serving four year terms, elected at-large from Weber County. Dearden’s seat is the only one up for election this year.