Elections 2018: Trio of newcomers vie for Utah House District 72 seat

Composite photo of the three candidates for Utah House District 72, appearing on the November 2018 ballot, L-R: Zeno Parry, Rex Shipp and Barry Short. Zeno Parry photo by Jeff Richards. Other photos provided by candidates to St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Three candidates are vying for the open seat in Utah’s House District 72, as incumbent John R. Westwood, a Republican who has served for four years, is not seeking re-election.

The three candidates are Democratic candidate Zeno Parry, Republican candidate Rex Shipp and Libertarian Party candidate Barry Short.

House District 72 covers most of Iron County, with the exception of the southeast portion (click here for map).

Cedar City News recently presented the candidates with a short series of questions in order to find out more about them and their objectives. Their respective answers to the three questions are included below.


Zeno Parry, Democratic candidate for Utah House District 72, Iron County Fair parade, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 3, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Democratic candidate Zeno Parry lives in Cedar City and has been involved with Iron County Democrats for many years, although this is his first attempt to run for public office.

If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you would sponsor or what Utah law would you work on repealing or amending?

Parry said with regards to the issue of medical marijuana, he would work to make sure it would only be used to treat sick patients, as prescribed by a doctor.

“I’d want to make sure it did the job we need,” he said of any proposed marijuana regulations. “We need to respect the law and respect our caregivers, responders, firemen and policemen.”

Parry added that the Iron County Democratic Party almost didn’t field a candidate for the House 72 race. “The Democrats sent out an email one day saying, is anybody willing?” he recalled, adding, “I said, ‘I will, if nobody else will.’”

Of the following three issues, which one do you believe is the most important to Utah voters: housing, water or education? Briefly explain why.

Parry said while all three issues are important, he believes education requires the most attention.

“I know a lot of teachers use their own money for kids’ books, notebooks and stuff like that,” he said.

However, Parry said that increased education funding should be directed toward boosting the starting salaries for teachers and not to administration.

“When they say they need more money for schools, and it goes to more administrator jobs, that isn’t right,” he said.

Please tell us about one of the following: your most embarrassing moment, an interesting fact about you, or a mistake you made that you learned the most from.

Parry says one of his most embarrassing moments happened when he was serving as a military police officer in the U.S. Army in the 1960s.

“I was asking a bunch of prisoners to do a job, picking out someone to clean a restroom,” Parry recalled, adding, “I said, ‘Eeny, meeny, miney, mo …’”

Although he didn’t actually finish the rhyme – or at least a version of the rhyme that has since gone by the wayside – he said the racial implications of it earned him “the biggest dressing-down” from his supervisor later.

“I learned to respect all races,” he said.


Rex Shipp, Republican candidate for Utah House District 72, hands out frozen treats, Iron County Fair parade, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 3, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Republican candidate Rex Shippa financial advisor and business owner, lives in Cedar City with his wife, Stacia, whom he met while they were attending Southern Utah State College some 40 years ago. Married since 1979, the Shipps have seven children.

If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you would sponsor or what Utah law would you work on repealing or amending?

Shipp said he would address issues involving taxes and worker’s compensation.

“I believe that we need to keep taxes low and be efficient with the money that comes in from our taxes so that we don’t have to go back to the citizens for more money,” he said, adding, “I do have some concerns about personal property tax that businesses have to pay every year after they have already paid sales tax on these items. But I would like to investigate this further before pushing it.”

Shipp said he is also concerned about requiring workers compensation to be paid on minor children that work in a parent’s business.

“I don’t think that is necessary and is hard on someone that is trying to make a living in a small business,” he said.

Of the following three issues, which one do you believe is the most important to Utah voters: housing, water or education? Briefly explain why.

“I believe that housing, water and education are all very important,” Shipp said. “I would say that water is especially important because our state is growing rapidly and our area (District 72) must have more water if we want to have good sustained growth.”

Shipp also emphasized the importance of education, for students in K-12 and beyond.

“Education is extremely important from kindergarten all the way through higher education at our technical schools and universities,” he said. “If we want our children be able to stay in our state and be qualified for these good jobs, they must have a good education.”

Please tell us about one of the following: your most embarrassing moment, an interesting fact about you, or a mistake you made that you learned the most from.

Shipp said one of his most memorable embarrassing moments dates back to when he a senior at South Sevier High School in Monroe.  

“I was on the baseball team and we were to play our archrivals Richfield the next day,” he said. “That evening, there was a knock on my door and there were a couple of cupcakes with a little flag on them that said, “Good luck in tomorrow’s game.’”  

Shipp said he initially thought it was really nice of the South Sevier cheerleaders to do that for the team.

“I love cupcakes, so I ate both of them pretty much right away,” he said, adding, “I mentioned to my mother that they didn’t taste very good and that our cheerleaders weren’t very good bakers.”

Shipp said about a half hour later, he got a phone call from a teammate asking if he’d received any cupcakes.

“I said yes and he said, ‘DON’T eat them,’ but it was too late,” Shipp said. “He’d caught the Richfield cheerleaders delivering them and figured they weren’t clean cupcakes. By the next morning I had a pretty bad case of the trots.”

Nevertheless, Shipp said the incident didn’t stop him from playing in the baseball game the following day.

“I did pitch the game that day, and we won, but I had to make a couple of trips to the restroom between innings,” he said. “The Richfield cheerleaders were laughing like crazy the whole game. But it backfired on them when we won the game and the region!”


Barry Short, Libertarian candidate for Utah House District 72, speaks at a Second Amendment rally, Cedar City, Utah, April 14, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, Cedar City News/St. George News

Libertarian candidate Barry Short lives in Cedar City with his wife, artist Theresa Mather, and two cats, Lenin and Trotsky. He has been a self-employed business owner for almost all of his adult life. He currently serves as vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Utah.

If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you would sponsor or what Utah law would you work on repealing or amending?

Short said he’d first address doing away with the sales tax on unprepared food, such as that purchased at grocery stores.

“There is a lot to be done, but the very first thing I would do is reintroduce legislation to abolish the sales tax on unprepared food,” Short said. “It’s not a huge percentage of the total state budget, but of all Utah’s taxes it is the one that most disproportionately affects our lowest income families.”

In addition, Short said he would move to restore the reforms to Civil Asset Forfeiture passed overwhelmingly by referendum back in 2000.

“The legislature has chipped away at the reforms over the years until the people’s will has been fully subverted, and our 4th and 5th Amendment rights to be secure in our person and property, and to the due process of law, have been thoroughly violated,” he said. “That must be corrected.”

Of the following three issues, which one do you believe is the most important to Utah voters: housing, water or education? Briefly explain why.

Short said that while water is the most important of the three issues in the long term, “from the standpoint of voter concern, it would be education.”

“People have good reason to be concerned about education: test scores as compared to the rest of the world have been declining for quite a few years now, and yet the cost per pupil in our schools has skyrocketed,” he said. “Property taxes, of which school funding is a major component, continue to climb, but we aren’t seeing the kind of results that would tell us our investment is paying off.”

This situation has led to much dissatisfaction among the taxpaying public, he said.

“Taxpayers are angry, and they should be, because simply spending more money is very clearly not the answer – but it seems to be the only one our legislature and school boards can come up with,” Short said. “I am prepared to lead in making our schools quality places of learning, not just expensive ones.”

Please tell us about one of the following: your most embarrassing moment, an interesting fact about you, or a mistake you made that you learned the most from.

Short said his past involvement as a comic book convention director is one thing that may come as a surprise to those who don’t yet know him well.

“I spent a number of years in the 1980s as program director with what was then known as the San Diego Comic Con, now Comic Con International,” he said.

“It was back in the days when comic fans were a fairly small group of people who the general public thought of as odd, if they thought of us at all,” he added, noting that the San Diego Comic Con has now become “the most powerful force in America’s eighth largest city.”

“Even the similar event in Salt Lake City has Utah’s Attorney General drafting letters on their behalf,” he said.

“That experience, it turns out, has served me well in my involvement with small party politics,” Short added. “When someone tells me, ‘You can’t change the world,’ I just nod and smile, because I (together with a whole lot of my friends) already have.”

Resources

Candidate websites and Facebook pages

All three House District 72 candidates are scheduled to appear in a debate Thursday in Cedar City hosted by the Leavitt Center at Southern Utah University, starting at 6 p.m. A public meet-and-greet session will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Hunter Conference Center, with the debate taking place inside the Great Hall at 6 p.m. The event is also scheduled to include the candidates for for Senate District 28 and House District 71.

For other Election 2018 stories, click here.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews 

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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