ST. GEORGE — After deciding to run for Utah Legislature a few days ago, Travis Seegmiller was elected Monday as the new representative for House District 62, which encompasses parts of St. George and Washington City.
Seegmiller was elected by neighborhood caucus delegates from District 62, who came to the Washington County Administration Building for a special emergency election to find a replacement for former Rep. Jon Stanard. Stanard, who abruptly resigned from the Legislature last week before a report emerged from a British newspaper that he had sex with a prostitute multiple times during trips to Salt Lake City.
Stanard was never mentioned at the delegate meeting. All eyes were on the eight candidates who came to announce their candidacy and make a brief speech before the votes were cast and counted.
Out of 132 delegates from District 62, 102 were at the meeting to cast their votes. A first round of voting whittled the candidate pool from eight to three. Besides Seegmiller, Troy Belliston, a Washington City councilman, and Sara Noel Williams were the finalists for the final round of voting. Seegmiller received 55 votes, Williams 29 and Belliston 19.
“I carry the U.S. Constitution with me literally everywhere I go,” said Seegmiller, who is a professor of law and executive leadership at Dixie State University. “The three ‘C’s’ of caring, constitutional and conservatism sum up a big part of my life story and what I hope to bring as a legislator.”
Seegmiller is a lifelong resident of the St. George area. The last time Seegmiller was elected to a public office, he said, was when he was elected as student body president at Pine View High School 25 years ago.
“My promise is that I will give my absolute 150 percent best to serve you 24/7 with every bit of enthusiasm that I’ve got,” Seegmiller said. “My favorite theory of leadership is servant leadership, which means I believe in serving you.”
Seegmiller had already packed his bags and was ready to head to Salt Lake City before the meeting, he said.
Jimi Kestin, chairman of the Washington County Republican Party, said Seegmiller could be seated in the House as soon as Wednesday.
Unless he seeks reelection in November, Seegmiller will serve the rest of Stanard’s term, which concludes at the end of this year.
“I am more than excited to start,” Seegmiller said.
There was hardly enough room to contain all of the delegates and community members in the Washington County Administration Building for the special election. Kestin said it’s encouraging to see so many delegates at the meeting despite many of them thinking their caucus responsibility ended last year.
“I have total trust in the caucus system,” delegate K.C. Davis said. “There are issues within the state government. What if someone died? We’re just here to put someone in place who will do the job well.”
Davis said he received 85 emails in the last few days from the candidates and members of the community who were concerned about who would represent them in the state Legislature moving forward.
As he heads to Salt Lake City to conclude the 2018 Legislative session, Seegmiller said he doesn’t expect to be fired from his job at Dixie State, and hopes he can work out a compromise where he can continue to teach there.
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