Gardner tapped for national public lands committee

ST. GEORGE – Washington County has a new voice in our nation’s capital. Washington County Commissioner Alan Gardner has been appointed vice chair of the public lands steering committee of the National Association of Counties.

“A lot of my work is with the public lands so it fits very well with what we’re, (Washington County), trying to do,” Gardner said. “I’m trying to help make sure our issues are being addressed by NACo.”

The National Association of Counties is the only group representing county governments in Washington, D.C. County leaders develop and shape the association’s goals which are then presented to members of Congress for consideration in future legislation.

“He brings to this new assignment his expertise of 20 years as a local elected official and a lifetime of responsible ranching,” said Dean Cox, Washington County administrator. “That’s why he’s recognized as a public lands expert.”

Gardner’s expertise plays a considerable role in the county’s ongoing efforts to bring federally-managed lands under the control of local government under the Transfer of Public Lands Act passed by the Utah legislature in 2012. The law is part of a growing movement among western states to require the federal government to transfer title of public lands to the state.

“It’s a movement that’s moving forward rapidly,” Gardner said. “It has a long way to go yet but it’s made a lot of progress.”

As neighboring states continue to wrestle with the issue, Gardner noted that Utah is at the forefront of the movement.

“I think Alan has the respect of his peers,” Cox said, “speaking of other local elected officials in these other counties, not only in Utah but in Nevada and Arizona as well.”

Gardner’s new post will elevate Washington County’s issues and challenges to the national stage.

“It gives, on a national level, Washington County access to the bully pulpit. We have a chance to visit with the policymakers in Congress, with the Secretary of the Interior and other officials, representing Washington County,” Cox said. “I can’t think of much better than that.”

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  • Bender August 21, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Gardner’s made a marvelous late life hobby out of grandstanding for the states right’s enthusiast crowd concerning public land ownership. Glad he is able to travel and pontificate. BENDER’s straight up question to Gardner (and Cox): How in the world does this benefit me as a Washington County resident? We’ve already settled with the feds in the 2009 Washington County Lands Bill. Our economy here owes very little to either grazing or mining and a great deal to tourist dollars drawn by our world class back country. BENDER proposes Gardner release his commissioner’s seat to someone who will concentrate on rasing the bar in education and drawing high paying jobs to the county. INTEL/Apple/Adobe/Facebook won’t set up shop in WashCo because Gardner made it possible for a man to stake a mining claim, graze a cow or ride an ATV where ever he dang well pleases. This neo-sagebrush rebellion Gardner is promote is a frivolous distraction from vastly more important issues.

  • beentheredonethat August 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Gardner SHOULD be “tapped”. In prison. He’s a crook and bad for Washington County. Or anywhere else for that matter.

    • Dexter August 21, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Are you saying he’s a politician.? LOL.!

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