VOTE: Last, Goode square off for state representative District 71

L-R: Democratic challenger Chuck Goode and Republican incumbent Rep. Brad Last discuss issues facing the state and Washington County at a forum hosted at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

FEATURE – Incumbent Brad Last, who has served as a representative in Utah’s House District 71 since January 2003, is seeking his eighth term against Democratic nominee Chuck Goode.

House District 71 covers parts of both Washington and Iron counties.

St. George News asked both candidates the same questions and the following are their responses:

Tell about one mistake you’ve made that has impacted your life?

Utah State District 71 Representative Brad Last, date unspecified | photo courtesy of Utah House of Representatives, St. George News
Utah State District 71 Representative Brad Last, date unspecified | photo courtesy of Utah House of Representatives, St. George News

Last said one mistake he learned from is that he wasn’t as kind to others as he should have been in high school.

“I realize how meaningful that is as I get older,” he said.

One thing he’s tried to instill in his own children is to be kind to everyone, regardless of social status.

Growing up a poor sharecropper’s son in North Carolina, Goode said his mistake was becoming bitter about his social status, fighting fellow students who picked on him for it. His actions got him sent to the school district superintendent’s office and the superintendent said he’d be expelled if it continued.

After this incident, he decided that instead of fighting back, he would be a good student, and that’s what he did.

“It turned around how I related to people,” Goode said of the incident. “I respect teachers so much now.”

Have you ever owned or run a business? How did it go?

State Representative District 71 Democratic Candidate Chuck Goode, date unspecified | photo courtesy of Chuck Goode, St. George News.
State Representative District 71 Democratic Candidate Chuck Goode, date unspecified | photo courtesy of Chuck Goode, St. George News.

Goode spent his career in aerospace, working at Morton Thiokol and the Johnson Space Center.

When he moved to St. George in 1995, he started and operated a computer consulting company. Goode still runs the business and has scaled back to only doing websites today. He said he has enjoyed the business and is grateful for the opportunity to keep up on technology.

Goode also started the soup kitchen at Grace Episcopal Church and has volunteered at a discipleship class with the Methodist Church.

“I learned to care for people because I’ve been there,” he said, referring to his humble upbringing.

He has enjoyed working with the interfaith community since coming to Southern Utah, Goode said.

Last is a former business owner. In 1990, he started Southern Utah Homecare and Hospice with Betty McDonald and his late father, Garth. The company employed approximately 200 people by the time it was sold in 2010, he said. Last served as CEO of the company from 2002 until its sale.

“It was a great little company loved by its patients and employees,” he said.

Last said the three main priorities of the company while he was part of it were to provide great patient care, to take care of its employees and ensure financial viability – in that order.

He said he can’t take full credit for the business’s success as McDonald and his father’s reputation helped tremendously.

Who do you support for president, Trump, Clinton or an independent candidate?

Last said he supports Trump even though he struggles with things the Republican nominee has done. He said a vote against Trump ensures a Hillary Clinton victory, which he does not want to see.

Goode said he is definitely on the side of Clinton.

“We need to look for American values,” he said.

Goode said President Obama has done things that have prevented the nation from “falling off a cliff” and said people shouldn’t believe the anti-Obama propaganda. He likes what Obama has done in foreign policy, the economy and his emphasis on renewable energy and thinks Clinton would go in a similar direction.

If elected, what legislation would you support or sponsor?

Goode said he would push for more funding for education, full expansion of Medicaid and help for the uninsured.

He doesn’t want to see the state lowest in education funding, Goode said, and he wants to see equal pay for women.

“We say we’re the best managed state from a business point of view,” he said, “but we’re not the best managed from a people perspective.”

Gooded said the state needs to give its residents more resources and spend its money in a better way. Two such cases he cited is to use municipal buildings more efficiently and to reduce class sizes by offering morning and afternoon school sessions with 15 in each class instead of 30 or more.

Last said he has been working on a lot of potential bills with other legislators for which he cannot take the credit, but one thing he said he would help push is a bill to move to more individualized/mastery-based instruction in public schools. With all the technological tools and understanding of brain development, he said explaining, students should be doing a lot better at reaching their full potential and enjoying their educational experience. Last cited Royd Darrington, principal of Juab High School, who is leading the charge on individualized instruction.

What does the word integrity mean to you?

To Last, integrity means doing what you say you will do. In his case, integrity is being honest in one’s legislative service – to both constituents and colleagues. It is impossible to separate honesty and integrity, he said.

Another key to integrity is keeping confidences when asked.

“Nothing is more valuable in the legislative process than trust,” Last said.

Goode defines integrity as “doing what you say you will do” and “walking the talk.”

Integrity to him, is being honest, Goode said. Capitalism with integrity means fair taxes and a fair wage. Capitalism, he said, has seen too much subsidization of labor, resulting in employees not being paid what they’re worth.

What’s something about you that most people don’t know?

One thing people might not know about Goode is that he loves soccer. He was a soccer coach for 12 years and also served for a time as the commissioner of a youth soccer league.

He said soccer is a “great game for kids” and does an excellent job of teaching teamwork, which he called a “true core value.”

Last said one of his favorite things to do is to hike in his free time. Whenever he has the chance, he goes to Zion National Park and one of his favorite activities to do with his family is to go to Lake Powell.

What is something you’d like to mention not included in the previous questions?

Last said he has enjoyed his time serving the people of Southern Utah and has loved the association with his colleagues.

He called the state Capitol building a “sacred sanctuary of democracy.”

“I have a deep respect for the building and what it represents,” Last said.

Goode is proud to say he is a political outsider and has never been in politics, which he feels is just what Southern Utah needs in a state representative.

“I want to fix the disconnect,” Goode said, explaining that he doesn’t want to ignore marginalized groups such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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1 Comment

  • .... October 22, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Just trolling through here …………….LOL !

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