OGDEN -- Economic concerns are at the top of the list for both Weber County Commission Seat B candidates.
Democrat Amy Wicks said more skilled, good-paying jobs need to come to Weber County. By attracting more large employers and encouraging small business to expand, Wicks said the county will be better off.
"People are concerned about good pay and skilled jobs. People love living in Weber County, but have to drive to Salt Lake. That's not good for the environment and it's not good for our families," she said.
Kerry Gibson, who beat out incumbent Ken Bischoff for the Republican nomination, agrees.
He said seeing economic development and job creation is the most important issue. He said without a strong economy and good jobs, people will begin leaving the county.
"We've got to, locally, do everything we can to responsibly encourage those small businesses to expand and grow more jobs," he said.
And both candidates have a full slate of other concerns.
Gibson, a West Weber dairy farmer and three-term representative in District 6, said he wants to bring his influence from the Legislature north.
"Sometimes it feels like the government forgets I-15 goes north," he said.
He said he's running for the commission because he'd rather be involved in more local politics and thinks the most local level of government is the one which can most effectively solve local problems.
He also believes taxes are too high.
"It's simply not an option to go to people and expect them to pay higher taxes. You find ways to cut taxes. Sometimes that means tough decisions. Sometimes it means cutting your own salary," he said.
Wicks has been on the Ogden City Council for nearly seven years, serving two terms as chair and two terms as vice-chair. She said many of the issues Ogden faces are also concerns at the county level.
She wants to promote greater recreation, but said that can't happen without open space. Public transit and clean air issues are also important to the county, and the interface and preservation of both rural and urban parts of the county is important and valuable, she said.
"A housing development goes in next to a farm and people complain about noise. Somehow we need to bridge that gap so people appreciate that heritage. We're one of a few communities along a major metropolitan area that still has that rural space," Wicks said.
Wicks would also like to see greater public accountability by implementing changes similar to the city council. Holding meetings later in the day and more opportunity for public comment create the flexibility people need to participate in government.
Working toward making smaller, more responsive government is critical to serving residents, Gibson said.
"I'm so excited and optimistic for the future of Weber County. The people here are such hardworking, good, solid people," he said.