Anderson advocates responsible growth, tourism, improved education, term limits, ‘the Golden Rule’

LAVERKIN – Utah House District 71 candidate Ken Anderson, of LaVerkin, has four primary aims in his campaign against incumbent Rep. Brad Last:

  • A return to the aims of Vision Dixie, which Anderson said were hindered by the economic downturn.
  • Imposing term limits for Utah’s representatives and senators to eradicate “professional politicians,” such as his opponent.
  • Valuing students and teachers in the state of Utah
  • Adhering to the principles laid out in the Bible in Luke 6:31.

“All these points are really all related together,” Anderson said.

Vision Dixie and tourism

Anderson said he wants to prevent Southern Utah from becoming like the Wasatch Front – overdeveloped and polluted. He said he wants to return to the Vision Dixie goals of conserving Southern Utah’s resources and beautiful areas and using wisdom in how the area grows. He’d also like to see Southern Utah utilize its solar and wind potential.

He said he also wants to see all 20 communities in District 71 take advantage of tourism opportunities they’re currently missing out on.

I want to see a conscientious master plan for tourism all over Southern Utah,” Anderson said.

He said travelers to Southern Utah’s cities often find them uninviting, which is a shame, because that equates to money lost for the local economy.

“That’s one of my points of my campaign,” Anderson said, “that those towns – Hurricane and LaVerkin – if they really had the leadership, they could be spectacular tourist attractions.”

Anderson, who owned Pah Tempe Hot Springs for more than 20 years and whose professional background is in city and regional planning as well as tourism, said many people in small towns resist tourism growth because they think it will simultaneously mean population growth. But, he said, towns can appeal to tourists and travelers and promote the area’s assets in a wise way. Travelers will spend their money locally, return to their hometowns, and leave local cities just as small but more prosperous than they were before.

Education

Anderson said one issue he is very passionate about is education, particularly when it comes to valuing Utah’s teachers and students.

We’re at the bottom of the scale in valuing students and teachers,” he said.

He said Utah is below all the other states in the nation when it comes to financial allocation for schools. Politicians say, “We love our teachers,” yet salaries for Utah’s teachers are 20 percent below the national average, he said.

“There’s nothing lower than Utah’s school allocation, and it’s horrible,” Anderson said.

Utah’s leaders continue to pinch pennies and brag about how efficient they are, but they’re shortchanging education.

“I say, ‘But in your efficiency, you’re actually shorting and demoting the schools and the kids,’” Anderson said. “They’re not getting the kind of education they have to have if they’re going to be part of a society that’s strong.”

Anderson said he has spoken with local educators, and they’re struggling with classes that are much too large – 40-45 kids per class in some cases. The state’s leaders aren’t thinking ahead, he said; they’re only thinking about saving money right now.

“It’s complete ignorance on the part of the legislators to say, ‘We’re doing a great job,’” Anderson said.

Lake Powell Pipeline

Setting aside whether or not the Lake Powell Pipeline is a good or bad idea, Anderson said it is being pursued in a single-focus way: Get water here at any cost.

He said the average person really doesn’t know how much the pipeline will cost when all is said and done or how much water and benefit it will actually deliver.

“There’s no clarity in what’s going on,” he said. “No one knows.”

Anderson said citizens need to be educated on the actual facts surrounding the Lake Powell Pipeline. Public meetings about the pipeline should be hosted so residents can become truly informed, he said.

“And then take it to a vote,” he said. “See what the people want.”

Career politicians

Anderson said the idea of truly serving those who elected you goes out the window after an elected official has served a few terms. His proposition is there should be a cutoff limit for every representative.

Unless we can get term limits, we’re never going to have a legislature that really supports the people,” he said. “They’re only going to support themselves.”

“Get new people in and keep it from becoming professional so they stay in there forever,” he added.

He said he would like to see a greater number of women serve in the legislature, balancing out the ratio of men to women. But that’s difficult to accomplish, he said, in a culture where the priority of most women is to stay home with their children.

The Golden Rule

In order to truly thrive, Anderson said people in government and society need to abide by the admonition set forth in Luke 6:31.

“’Do unto others as you would have them do to you,’” he said, “and that’s what we don’t do. We’re not doing that. We’re looking at, ‘Do for myself what I want and to hell with you.’

“If you can’t do this then you can’t do anything,” he added. “If you can’t treat everybody the way you want to be treated, then it’s not going to work.”

For more information about Anderson and his stance on the issues, visit his website.

Early voting began Oct. 21 and runs through Oct. 31. The general election is Nov. 4.

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