Commission Seat B: Dan McArthur, ‘Dixie’s biggest cheerleader’ seeks county victory

WASHINGTON COUNTY – The Washington County Commission race has beckoned “Dixie’s biggest cheerleader” back into politics to seek a county post.

Former City of St. George Mayor Dan McArthur is vying for the Republican nomination to run for Washington County Commission Seat B, currently held by Denny Drake, who did not file for re-election this year. The Republican nominees for the two Washington County Commission seats will be decided at the County Convention on Saturday.

Dixie’s cheerleader with experience

“I’ve worked with the county on the Dixie Center, on the airport, on the Metropolitan Planning Organization, on water issues that they all deal with too,” McArthur said, “and I feel like while I still have the enthusiasm, energy and the time to put forth into doing this, I’d like to do the county side and represent all of Dixie.”

Mayor McArthur welcoming Gov. Herbert and his wife to the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, | Oct. 5, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Dan McArthur
McArthur welcoming Gov. Herbert and his wife to the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, | Oct. 5, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Dan McArthur

Being on a first-name basis with the governor and members of Utah’s congressional delegation, as well as various officials throughout the state, McArthur said he believes those relationships and the connections that he has will work to Washington County’s advantage.

Though there are those who take exception to him seeking another platform and believe his days in public office should be over, there are those who praise and support McArthur for his service during his 20 years as mayor and 10 years on City Council. There is even a community Facebook page which can be found, sponsored by citizens of St. George in dedication to Mayor Dan McArthur for his long legacy of community service.

Rep. Chris Stewart also praised McArthur in a speech on the House Floor calling him “a true representation of the Dixie spirit.”

“Under his tenure, the population nearly tripled in size and the city experienced enormous economic growth including the development and expansion of hundreds of businesses, new infrastructure, a beautiful new airport and the transformation of Dixie State College into a four-year university,” Stewart said.

In response to those who feel maybe he’s been in office a bit too long, McArthur said:

I think a little bit of continuity helps, I think knowledge helps and I think responsibility and proven methods help. But there are always going to be people that oppose you . . . If you’ve got a person that’s proven and can work those things, then you ought to use them.

“Sometimes I don’t explain myself the best,” he said, “but I have the enthusiasm and excitement, and that’s the thing that got me going . . . Dixie.”

With all six of his children and 16 of his grandchildren living in Washington County, McArthur said creating jobs and making sure that they can stay here is important.

Rallying for lands, recreation and connecting the trail pieces

Thirty years ago or so, there was a community put together called the Three Rivers Trails System – a trail system that was inspired to put a trail from Gunlock to Zion, McArthur said.

“St. George has over 45 miles of trail, Santa Clara has some, Ivins has it, Washington has it, Hurricane has it, Springdale has it – we’ve got all these segments, but they don’t connect,” he said. “I’d like to see if there’s any way through the county, to help get this trail system connected.”

Mayor Dan McArthur at the Pine Valley 4th of July Breakfast, Pine Valley, Utah, July 4, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Dan McArthur
Mayor Dan McArthur at the Pine Valley 4th of July Breakfast, Pine Valley, Utah, July 4, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Dan McArthur

McArthur said he believes the county needs to be more involved in helping support Washington County Recreation.

All these sports teams come in from outside of our area and use the things that have already been built by our taxpayers, McArthur said. The county makes money collecting restaurant tax from each of our communities but the county doesn’t help in recreation. They don’t share any of that restaurant tax they collect or revenues that they’re receiving from the communities that are taxed to provide the recreation facilities.

McArthur said he is also interested in getting Bill 134 passed through the Legislature to bring federal land back under state management.

“We have 77 percent of our property in Washington County which is federally owned and the PILT Tax, the payment in lieu of taxes that we get, is only around $2 per acre,” McArthur said. “It’s going to take time to do that but I have connections with people in the state, as well as local, that I’d like to push to keep continuing to push for that.”

Victory in Dixie

“In this election you talk a lot of “I’s” which I don’t like that,” McArthur said. “I know it takes a lot of people to do a lot of things and we’ve had a lot of good people that have enabled us to get where we are in the city. I was just fortunate enough to be a part of that and I’d like to extend that to the county while I have the enthusiasm, excitement and time to do that, and I would hope that the citizens would agree.”

Having met all of the candidates, McArthur said that he doesn’t know of any of the candidates that are running in Washington County that would be a bad choice.

“I think that that’s one thing we’ve had in Washington County, is good people,” he said.

“Is there a bigger cheerleader for Utah’s Dixie than Mayor McArthur?” Gov. Gary Herbert asked the crowd gathered at the signing of the legislative bill that transitioned Dixie State from a college to a university in St. George last year.

Only time will tell.

Republican delegates and party members can learn more about each of the candidates by attending the Washington County Republican Convention on Saturday, at the Gardner Center Ballroom at Dixie State University, 225 South 700 East, in St. George. Registration and electioneering begin at 7 a.m., with the convention officially starting at 8 a.m.

Commission race

Candidates for Commission Seat A

Candidates for Commission Seat B


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1 Comment

  • Joe Bob April 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    It’s extremely inappropriate for a political representative to address a governor on first name basis. Governor is an earned title. You use “Governor —– ” when speaking to that person. Persons with Doctorates Degrees have the title Doctor, a military general is addressed as General. Even when address an officer, you say “Officer”. No more Dan. If he wants work, he can volunteer at the animal shelter or go run the carousel he wanted so badly.

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