Making Utah a better place in 2015, community members express hope for change

ST. GEORGE – The new year has just arrived and many people will be taking advantage of the fresh start by making resolutions and committing to improve their lives in one or several ways; be it to get in better shape, to manage money better, to spend more time with loved ones or to stay more organized … to name a few.

At this time of taking stock it seems only fitting that we, as citizens, take a look at the state of our state and maybe make a few resolutions for Utah.

We asked several community members how they felt Utah or Utahns could improve in 2015 and their answers were poignant and varied. Below you will find a collection of their responses. Do they align with your thoughts? How would you like to see Utah improve in 2015?

Randy Thomson, secretary of the Washington County Democratic Party and self-proclaimed “humanist celebrant”: Despite all the things I think should change, I actually do love living here. I grew up here so Utah is a somewhat special place for me.

I think there is a lot that should change in order to make Utah not only a better place to live but also a fairer, more egalitarian place. I think that in order to accomplish that we would firstly need a true revision in our political atmosphere and election processes, a change that would be both more inclusive and democratic than the current one.

Unfortunately the current two-party system has failed us as democratic citizens, it’s a system that favors the majority and political elites rather than ordinary people; it’s no wonder we have some of the lowest voter turnout rates not only in the U.S. but the world.

What we truly need is a ‘Baskin-Robbins’ style system like those more commonly seen in some European countries. This change would bring about major changes throughout the state in innumerable amount of ways from higher voter involvement to a raise in the minimum wage. A change like that would definitely see the end of “career politicians” and also would see the LGBT  (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) nondiscrimination bill pass (the) Legislature and become law.

Alesha Sevy Kelley, editor at St. George Health and Wellness Magazine: I would love to see Utah focusing on improving access to programs and services for the mentally ill by integrating a community of health care providers, case workers, housing programs and financial assistance.

So many of our mentally ill citizens are either homeless or in jail because they are nearly invisible in the system. I’d like to restore hope that we can serve this community more effectively.

Bruce Solomon, chairman of the Veterans Action Council: Utahns can begin holding their elected officials as employees rather than masters. Would you retain an employee who steals from, sells out to competitors and foreign businesses, and squanders profits as an employee?

Get in their face, demand personal info about their ethics, values and history, an exercise recall. Utahns ought to demand an understandable, to 5-year-olds, detailed explanation of American Foreign Policy concerning all aspects pertaining to U.S. spending and debt.

Corey Goodman Allred, Corey Allred Photography: I believe that the best thing Southern Utah could improve is the inconvenience of recycling.

I set the goal of recycling more all the time but rarely keep up due to all the time and effort it takes to sort, get my own bins and then drive it to the closest bins in town. I just give up after a few times, but if we could sort as we go with the support of the city, I think we could make a huge impact.

Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society: This coming year offers a remarkable opportunity for all of this state’s animal lovers to become part of a history-making effort to end the unnecessary killing of dogs and cats in Utah shelters.

In 2014, Best Friends Animal Society launched NKUT the No-Kill Utah initiative bringing together passionate individuals, city shelters and a statewide coalition of animal welfare organizations, all working toward this goal to ‘Save Them All.’ Together we can make Utah a no-kill state by 2019.

The momentum is clearly growing: NKUT has 49 members to date and so far there are 24 Utah communities where no-kill is the norm.

Brian Goodwin, customer service manager and vice president at Zion’s Bank: There are a few things I think Utahns, or people in general, could change that would improve their lives and the lives of others.

One: their health. Get in shape physically and eat healthy. This would stimulate more outdoor activity with family, which would help strengthen families.

Two: learn more respect for others. That means all communities should learn to be respectful of everyone else. Having differences doesn’t make enemies, it allows for growth and celebration.

Three: I think we could all improve our driving.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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  • Maggie January 1, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Nice approach to change in the community. Even the gentleman who wants to be more like Europe was very thoughtful ,I might not agree but I appreciate his respectful thoughts. Perhaps a new year brings with it more respect for our community and each other.
    One can but hope!

    • Randy Thomson January 1, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Maggie 🙂 They are much appreciated.
      Looks like are already well on our way to a much better year!

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