ST. GEORGE – Republican county, state, and federal office holders seeking election and reelection met with the public during a meet and greet event at the St. George Town Square Saturday. Prospective voters expressed a myriad of concerns while the politicians spoke to overarching themes that dominated conversations with constituents.
A number of attendees at the gathering, organized by the Washington County Republican Women, expressed concerns about matters affecting the county, such as growth and the issues that accompany it.
“Growth is the one thing where we have a lot of issues to consider,” DyAnn Hickman, of St. George, said. She specifically noted a desire to see better public transportation and also affordable housing for young people.
Just about any discussion about county growth will invariably lead to the issue of water, and particularly the highly contested Lake Powell Pipeline.
The pipeline would bring water to the county and supplying additional water once local resources reach capacity in a few decades. The Washington County Water Conservancy District touts the pipeline as a necessity for continued growth, while detractors raise questions of the project’s overall cost and call for better water conservation efforts.
“The pipeline is probably the No. 1 issue,” Frank Evenson, of St. George, said. “I think we’re going to build it whether you like it or not.”
Natalie Bennett did not speak to the issues as much as she did the character of elected officials. “I want to have someone who is very honest,” she said. “My biggest thing is I want people to be honest in what they say and what they do.”
Rep. Jon Stanard, representing Utah House District 62, said one of the major issues for constituents is Common Core.
Common Core, which establishes a core of standards for public education, and has been adopted by Utah and 42 other states, is a highly charged issue for many people. Opponents of Common Core see it as another example of federal overreach and an attempt to siphon more control away from the state and local levels.
“I like educational control as local as possible,” Stanard said, adding he was somewhere in the middle of the issue.
Stanard said he has some concerns about SAGE testing, but overall he believes the schools are trying to find the best ways to teach their students.
Stanard is running for reelection against Democratic challenger Shirley Nelson.
Rep. V. Lowry Snow is also running for reelection for House District 74 and is challenged by Democratic candidate Dorothy Engelman. In addition to Common Core, he said the Lake Powell Pipeline has remained a big issue for voters.
“We need to be prepared for growth,” Snow said. “I think we need to look beyond the Virgin River drainage system for water development.
Both Republican candidates for the Washington County Commission were also at the meet and greet.
Zachary Renstrom is running for Commission Seat A and said he has also been asked about the Lake Powell Pipeline by voters.
“It’s an honest question,” Renstrom said. “It needs to be talked about.”
Overall, however, were questions and concerns about growth in general, Renstrom said. “Everyone’s worried about growth.”
Renstrom is challenged by Democratic candidate Chris White for Commission Seat A.
Running for County Commission Seat B is Victor Iverson. He echoed Renstrom about constituent concerns, bringing up issues of water and growth. In addition to county concerns was a continual mention of federal overreach and how it was affecting things on the state and county levels, such as access to public lands, Iverson said.
“People are very concerned about Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Running against Iverson for Commission Seat B is Democratic candidate Paul Van Dam.
Dealing with issues in Washington, D.C., is Rep. Chris Stewart, who presently represents Utah’s 2nd congressional district.
“It’s no different than we’ve heard before: the government’s too big,” Stewart said of constituent comments in general. An overabundance of federal bureaucracies and regulations is a continual concern, he said.
While talking with constituents, Stewart said the House had passed nearly 400 bills that were currently stalled in the Senate – something he attributed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
“I think we should be optimistic for a conservative Senate (after the election),” Stewart said.
Stewart is seeking to retain the 2nd Congressional District and is challenged by Democratic candidate Luz Robles; Independent American Party candidate Wayne Hill; Constitution Party candidate Shaun McCausland; write-in candidate Warren Rogers; and unaffiliated candidate Bill Barron.
- Gov. Herbert releases results of legal review of Utah’s Common Core Standards
- Rep. Stewart meets Sen. Robles in a debate on SUU campus
- Letter to the Editor: Unaffiliated candidate Bill Barron’s unusual campaign
- Republican committee selects Iverson to replace Drake
- Democratic candidates seek to bring different perspective to Utah House, County Commission
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