ST. GEORGE — While the Republican and Democratic parties tend to dominate national and state politics, the Libertarian Party continues to offer alternative voices in the throng of red versus blue. In Utah, the party has nominated Dan Cottam to carry its message of deregulation, property rights and small government.
Cottam is a physician based in Salt Lake City specializing in bariatric surgery. Originally from Texas, Cottam graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo and then completed his residency at Nassau University Medical Center in Long Island, New York.
St. George News asked Cottam several questions pertaining to his gubernatorial run. His answers were provided via email and are listed unedited below.
Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?
During the pandemic we have real choices for governor. We can elect an attorney, a career politician, or a physician with experience in statistical modeling. I know more about keeping people safe and evaluating data than either of my rivals for governor will ever know.
Additionally, I am a small business owner that has started numerous successful businesses that employ over 25 people. Those skills will be needed to rebuild our economy and get rid of regulations slowing the growth of our economy. The crony capitalism needs to end.
Additionally, I am the only candidate which has actually lowered health care costs for people of the state of Utah. Those same principals can be applied state wide to reduce the costs for everyone.
The above the points make me easily the most qualified for the job of governor.
Cottam’s most pressing issues
- Reforming the education system to allow families more choice in how they educate their children.
- Eliminating qualified immunity for civil servants. Our civil servants should not have more rights than we do.
- Getting the State out of the business of running alcohol stores.
- Ending the many awful licensing laws that keep people poor in this state.
- Keeping taxes off grocery items which hurts the poorest people in our state.
How do you think the state has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, and how do you plan to handle it?
The state has done an awful job with educating the public about the risks of Covid which has led to useless mandates, elevated levels of alcohol and drug abuse, and numerous bankrupted small businesses. In my administration the inappropriate mandates would stop, and people could get back to work.
How would you work with the Legislature on issuing emergency guidelines and mandates, such as those we’ve seen come about during the pandemic?
There was never an emergency big enough to require the state of emergency the Herbert/Cox administration called. It has persisted still despite the very low death rate. These mandates would be removed if I was elected. People and businesses are smart enough to think and act for themselves without the threat of force from the State or County.
Do you support the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline and why or why not?
The Lake Powel Pipeline is a bad idea for many reasons not the least of which is the fact that water levels are dropping in Lake Powel due to a prolonged drought. We are already not meeting our obligations to Mexico for water, and the cost is absolutely prohibitive even before we begin to account for all the lawsuits that will be generated by environmental groups should they elect to move forward tying the idea up for at least a generation. St. George needs to plan for the future without a pipeline from Lake Powel.
The truth is 95% of all water used in Utah is used by farmers. We have enough water used by farmers north of the St George area to supply the St George area far into the future. We should let those farmers sell or lease those water rights to St George.
Additionally, St George should borrow Las Vegas’s idea and pay people to remove their lawn. The St George area water districts should pay home and business owners to remove turf and install water smart landscapes. This alone could take us far into the future.
The last point is we should not be afraid of the pricing mechanism that would induce people to conserve without the need for mandates. As prices rise, people will conserve without government mandates. A corollary to this would be to allow home owners to actually own their water rights associated with their property where they could actually sell their extra on the open market. This would create massive incentives for people to find innovative ways to use less water while still living in beautiful St. George.
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