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Utah County elects first female county commissioner


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PROVO — Utah County Republicans elected the first female county commissioner in a special election at the Utah County GOP Convention on Saturday.

Amelia Powers Gardner won 54.7% of the vote and, pending official action by the county's board of commissioners, she will fill the vacancy left by Tanner Ainge, who joined the governor's team earlier this year.

"I just can't wait to get to work," Gardner said on Saturday, thanking Utah County and the Utah County Republican Party Central Committee "for your faith and confidence." She said she's both "humbled and honored to have been selected."

Gardner's campaign aimed at preparing for the future growth of Utah County, which is one of the fastest-growing counties in the country.

Working with the two other county commissioners Bill Lee and Tom Sakievich, Gardner said she hopes to balance the budget and while she supports the recent increase in taxes to do so, she said it might have been too much.

"It's imperative that we never go back to this era of constant deficit spending again," she said.

As the county grows, Gardner said she believes leadership should embrace the strengths of Silicon Slopes and innovation that comes along with it, providing online services to a growing community and better use of efficiencies.

"If we do not plan for the future we will be faced with policies and tax rates that many citizens do not want," said Gardner, who has been serving as Utah County Clerk/Auditor. "My goal is to prepare now so that we avoid these challenges in the future."

"Now it is time to get to work and ensure Utah County is prepared for the overwhelming growth ahead," Powers said. "We need to work together as a community to ensure we have a strong vision and strategic plan so we can ensure long-term fiscal responsibility and efficiency."

Gardner said she is proud of the diversity she brings to the table, including that she's a millennial woman and mother, with an engineering background.

Other winners on Saturday include Utah County Republican Party Chairman Skyler Beltran, vice chairman Mac Sims, secretary Karen Ellingson and treasurer Kirby Glad. Convention delegates also elected 20 district representatives during Saturday's proceedings.

Contributing: Adam Small, KSL Newsradio

Correction: A previous version stated that delegates elected Amelia Powers Gardner, when it was actually members of the party's central committee.

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Wendy Leonard is a deputy news director at KSL.com. Prior to this, she was a reporter for the Deseret News since 2004, covering a variety of topics, including health and medicine, police and courts, government and other issues relating to family.

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