ST. GEORGE – Four Republican candidates are seeking to be the county party’s choice for the Washington County Commission this year. Among them is local businessman and past candidate Greg Aldred.
Aldred, 59, is no stranger to County Commission as he is the son of longtime Commissioner Gayle Aldred who served from 1988 to 2002. He has run for office numerous times and this year hopes to be the candidate who will replace outgoing Commissioner Alan Gardner.
“There are some good candidates out there,” Aldred said, adding that he believes his background in various leadership positions and building businesses sets him apart from other candidates in the race.
Leadership positions he has held have been with the Dixie Republican Forum, Dixie Sunshiners, Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Utah Home Builder’s Association Education Board.
“All these put you in with the people that have concerns about the county,” Aldred said.
As for his experience in business, Aldred is a general contractor. He is also involved in a merchant services business and solar power systems installation.
“I’m the only candidate that’s been state-licensed in alternative energy,” Aldred said. “We have a thermal energy company that we own, and I think that separates me, that I would have the most experience in taking us into a high-tech, more innovative future as our county grows.”
Aldred will be going through both the caucus-convention as well as collecting signatures in hopes of getting on the ballot.
“I have to look at every possibility to get on the ballot,” he said. “Not everyone gets to be a delegate, and I firmly believe every person’s vote counts.”
If elected, Aldred said he wants to see the creation of a Washington County animal shelter situated in the area of the county fairgrounds in Hurricane. There would be an issue of funding, he said, but he has a plan for that, and also noted that many people in the community have said they would be willing to volunteer at such a facility.
On the perpetual issue of the county’s need for water, Aldred said people need to know the costs of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline and determine how it will be paid for. It also should not be a tax burden, he said.
“There are too many open books,” he said.
The often contentious issue of public lands as related to the county doesn’t need to be so, Aldred said. The county needs to approach issues it has with the Bureau of Land Management, and federal government in general, with level heads, he said.
County and municipal officers had decried the BLM’s draft resource management plans for the area, claiming proposed restrictions on the public lands around the county would negatively affect its future in many ways. Some have called the plans “a betrayal” and “anti-human.”
“We need a dialogue and a compromise,” Aldred said. “… The BLM doesn’t have to be our enemy.”
A lawsuit against the BLM isn’t something he would likely support, Aldred said.
“Is there a little overreach? Absolutely,” he said, “but we only fix that through the power of our vote.”
Aside from politics and business, Aldred holds two black belts in karate and taught the martial discipline for over 20 years. He also had the opportunity to be the coach for county youth during the 1998 Golden Gloves boxing competition. Aldred was able to work with boxers from every ethnicity represented in the county and, he said, it was a highlight of his life.
“I love working with the youth,” Aldred said, adding that for the sake of the county’s rising generations, “we need to leave (the county) better than we found it.”
“The election is not about the past but the future – about the people,” Aldred said.
Others running for the Washington County Republican Party’s nomination for County Commission candidate include banker and pastor Rev. Jimi Kestin, Washington County Administrator Dean Cox, and former St. George City Councilman Gil Almquist.
Candidates will be able to officially file for candidacy in March. The Washington County Republican nominating convention will be held in April.
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