Carly Cassidy

Carly Cassidy was picked on Saturday, April 3, 2021, to serve as chairperson of the Weber County Democratic Party. She replaces Zach Thomas, who didn't seek reelection to the post.

OGDEN — Weber County Democrats have picked a new party leader, Carly Cassidy, a recent Weber State University graduate involved with the party here since 2018.

Local Democrats picked her during an online convention on Saturday and Cassidy said Monday that she’ll be meeting with other party leaders on Wednesday, when she hopes to have a clearer vision of the party going forward. “I really want to work as a unified board,” she said, because that makes the party stronger.

Cassidy, 28, was picked by party delegates over Kerry Wayne in a 95-67 vote, according to Jason Allen, the convention chairman. She replaces Zach Thomas, who served as party chairperson for a pair of two-year terms but didn’t run again this cycle. “The convention, what happened on Saturday, is going to determine our direction for the next two years, maybe more,” Allen said.

Cassidy, Allen said, had touted a focus on going for younger voters and stressed the importance of door-to-door and face-to-face campaigning to strengthen the Democratic Party here. Republicans, as in most of Utah, are the dominant political force in Weber County.

“I believe that more voter contact is the way to go,” said Allen, who unsuccessfully ran for the District 11 seat in the Utah House in 2020 and 2018. Making inroads, he said, will come from talking to voters, “letting them see the human side of what you’re trying to do.”

Cassidy, who lives in the Eden area, originally comes from Alaska and has been in Weber County for around six years. She volunteered in the 2018 campaign of late Utah Rep. Lou Shurtliff and has remained involved in Weber County Democratic Party matters since then. She’ll now be seeking a master’s degree in public administration and is in the process of deciding where she’ll study.

A focus as the party leader, Cassidy said, will be forming partnerships with other organizations on board with Democratic causes. Making inroads against Republicans will be tough, she said, and her focus will be on keeping Utah Rep. Rosemary Lesser in her seat. She also wants to make inroads where Democrats can and hopes the party can be present as a “voice of opposition” in races for other posts that have traditionally been tougher for Democrats. Nonpartisan municipal elections will be on the ballot later this year, and Cassidy hopes the party takes some sort of role in the races.

Lesser, the District 10 representative, is the sole Democrat in Weber County’s legislative delegation. She was picked to replace Shurtliff after Shurtliff’s death last December.

The others picked Saturday to leadership posts in the Weber County Democratic Party are Kate Miller, vice chairperson; Joshua Peterson, secretary; and Jeremy Shinoda, treasurer. Miller, who had been the party secretary, replaces Aubrey Allen, who didn’t run again. Peterson replaces Miller and Shinoda replaces Linda Mitchell, who didn’t run again.

The Weber County Republican Party is scheduled to pick new party leadership on May 8.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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