CEDAR CITY –The deadline for filing to run for municipal elections in Utah closed Wednesday at 5 p.m. and while two incumbents in Cedar City are seeking re-election, one councilman decided to bow out.
Councilman Fred Rowley announced his decision to not run for office a second time during Wednesday’s council meeting, joking that he was trying to teach Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch a lesson.
Rowley, who was referencing Hatch’s status as the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, told Cedar City News earlier in the day he had never intended to seek re-election.
“I never wanted politics to influence the decisions I made as councilman so I never planned on running again,” Rowley said. “If I would have been thinking about being re-elected my decisions may have been different and I didn’t want that. I may run again in another election somewhere down the road but not this time.”
Unlike Rowley however, Councilman Ron Adams has no plans to end his political career and is going for a third term. Mayor Maile Wilson who only first took office in 2013 is also seeking re-election.
The incumbents won’t be running unopposed as Wilson will be facing off against Ryan Durfee, and Adams will be facing five political opponents all vying for his and Rowley’s seats.
The candidates running for council include Adams, Scott Phillips, Bruce Hughes, Scott Johnson, Rich Gillette and Andrew McAffee.
While some of the political contenders are well known in the community others not so much. But Rowley said he looks forward to getting to know all of them.
“Having more candidates in the race gives voters a choice and that’s always a good thing,” he said. “I’d rather have a choice of people I don’t know that I can get to know than not have any choices. It’s always better for the voters when they have a choice in candidates.”
While the city hasn’t had any major controversy in recent years, Rowley predicts the issues of growth and new industry will be part of the debate this coming election season as Cedar City begins to see progress for the first time since the Great Recession.
But with Iron County now under a ground water management plan to find ways to recharge the aquifer or bring in new water, Rowley said the issue of water is by far the most important facing Cedar City.
“Absolutely, positively we’ve got to keep on looking for ways in water development any way we can find it,” Rowley said. “We have to be very careful though that we pace our growth with our ability to handle the growth.”
Rowley launched a campaign this year to begin cleaning up Cedar City to make it a place that “sparkles” – first single-handedly and later by incorporating the support and help of the other council members and the community. This issue is one he believes will remain a priority as future council members take office finding new ways to create a community that “attracts businesses, tourists, and residents.”
A primary election to narrow down the six council candidates to four is slated for Aug. 15. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 7.
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