ST. GEORGE – What is possibly the most important issue or position St. George City Council candidates want the voters to consider as they head to the polls Tuesday? Is it their experience? Their position on the Lake Powell Pipeline? Or perhaps a belief that the city code still needs to be reviewed and revised?
St. George News reached out to the candidates on the eve of the primary election and asked this question. Their responses are provided below:
Marc Stallings, a marketing professional who works at Nielson RV and has been involved in the county Republican Party, said a major issue for him is opposing the Lake Powell Pipeline and stressing water conservation.
“I’m the only candidate that doesn’t support the pipeline,” Stallings said. “We live in a desert, we should be thinking more about conservation.”
Also an area of great importance for Stallings is making sure the St. George Police Department has the best equipment and personnel available, particularly as the city continues to grow.
Stallings also said he is an advocate for smart, proactive city growth.
Speaking in relation to growth, another candidate wants to make sure the people of St. George have adequate representation as the population rises by adding additional City Council seats.
Bryan Thiriot, the current executive director of the Five County Association of Governments, said he would like to see two new seats on the council within the next decade. During this time, he said, St. George will become what he called a “Class-1 city” of over 100,000 people, he said.
“I want to make sure the city is fully represented,” Thiriot said.
As to his own role on the City Council if elected, Thiriot said: “I’ll work harder for the people of St. George than anyone else.”
Incumbent Joe Bowcutt, who is seeking a second term on the council, said he wants to continue a review of city code and ordinances.
In particular, Bowcutt wants a review and potential revision of the city’s sign ordinances which he said he believes can be improved and even shortened in parts.
Aside from city code, Bowcutt said people in general need to actually vote, and vote en masse.
“Let’s get out and vote,” he said “I’m very concerned about the low (voter) turnouts.”
Greg Aldred, an area businessman and previous Washington County Commission candidate, said his experience in alternative energy and the construction of infrastructure will benefit St. George.
Aldred wants to institute a road maintenance program for the city streets that would be able to do away with a need to additional funds, such as those that had sought through last year’s Proposition 1.
Also an advocate for transparency, Aldred said he will attempt to do away with closed council meetings where possible.
Michele Randall, who is also seeking a second term on the City Council, said it is important for voters to consider a candidate’s experience and his or her ability to listen to the people.
“I’ve worked hard to meet with everyone and answer every call,” Randall said. “I’ve listened to all sides of an issue and vote how I feel the people of St. George would have me vote.”
Making sure the citizens are informed about the direction the city is taking and have more input concerning how it grows is a goal of candidate Gregg McArthur, a former president/CEO of the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce who currently works at NAI Excel as its director of hospitality.
“A lot is going to change in St. George in the next four-to-eight years,” McArthur said, “I want to make sure the public is better informed and has a say in the major projects we have coming up in the future; the direction we going as we make decisions for our future growth.”
Last week while at a candidate forum hosted by the Dixie Republican Forum, candidates were asked by the chair of the forum to sign a pledge supporting city measures in favor of the following:
- The Second Amendment.
- Cutting spending and taxes.
- Eliminating or reducing what the forum considers the unconstitutional; federal funding for city projects and programs.
- Enforcing city licensing penalties against local business that hire illegal immigrants.
Stallings and Aldred signed the pledge while the others did not. Read more here.
The primary election will determine which four of the current six council candidates will advance to the general election Nov. 7.
The primary election takes place Aug. 15 with the polls generally open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters can visit the St. George city website for a list of Tuesday’s polling locations here.
St. George News reporter Tracie Sullivan contributed to this article.
Ed. note: This article was updated with comments from Gregg McArthur.
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