WASHINGTON CITY – Republican and Democratic candidates for Utah’s House District 62 met with a comfortable gathering of 30-40 people for a debate hosted by the Washington City Chamber of Commerce Thursday evening.
The candidates discussed their differences, and their goals for the area. With increasing support for the Democratic candidate, and the lack of an incumbent, this is the race to watch.
The overall debate covered issues such as immigration, the Lake Powell pipeline, education, and government transparency; and although the candidates had their differences on some of the issues, there were many local issues that they agreed on.
Brent Holloway, the Democratic candidate, voiced his support for public education, and the need it has for improvement and funding.
“This has to be a priority,” Holloway said. “Utah is dead last in funding for public schools. What system can be at the bottom that long without having an incredible impact on the system?”
Holloway attributes this deficit to the underfunding of the education system, and moves for change in the way this budget is allotted to the school.
“We have to focus on this,” Holloway said, “It is my number one priority.”
Jon Stanard, the Republican candidate for the District 62 position, touched on the importance of retaining control of public lands and the important role of small businesses in the area.
“I want to make sure as economic incentive dollars are given to help encourage businesses to come in to the state, that Washington County is getting its fair share,” Stanard said. “We’re keeping the pressure on the legislature to make sure we are not forgotten down here.”
As the former owner of Dixie Direct, and other small companies, Stanard brings that experience to the table, and emphasizes supporting Utah’s businesses.
Cause of no small encouragement to the Holloway campaign came this past week when an internal poll conducted by the Utah State Democratic Party showed Holloway gaining notable inroads in the Republican Party voting sector.
Executive Director of the Utah Democratic Party, Matt Lyon, said that the poll derives from a combination of a preliminary auto-dial automated poll followed by live polling calls, resulting in a universe of about 1200 likely polls.
Lyon said this is the first poll the Party has done in District 62. He said the Party conceded to do the poll in view of Holloway’s effective campaign fundraising, in excess of $25,000, and Holloway’s determined campaigning. Lyon said the results showed that besides self-identified Democrats voting for Holloway, 40 percent of those self-identifying as Republican voters said they are voting for Holloway.
Utah’s Dixie has historically been known for having a dominant Republican population, but in more localized elections and politics the Democratic representatives appear to be gaining notice.
“These guys are both hungry for the seat,” Dan Drown, Washington City Chamber of Commerce president, said. “The people who showed up wanted to inform themselves. If they really want to be informed they can, and this forum provides that for them.”
With only days left before the election, candidates are down to their last efforts before citizens take to the voting booths. Despite differences, both parties encourage making your voice heard and voting.
St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this article.
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