St. George mayoral candidates discuss qualifications, priorities and future vision for the city

Phile photo of the City Council chambers at City Hall in St. George, Utah, Dec. 16, 2020 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — St. George’s upcoming mayoral election has launched with four candidates.

From experienced local politicians like Jimmie Hughes and current Mayor Michele Randall, to relative newcomers Woody Woodbury and Brett Tolly, these candidates bring a wide variety of experiences and ideas to the table. St. George News asked the same three questions of all mayoral candidates for this introduction article. Here’s what they had to say.

Michele Randall

Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?

I am currently the mayor of the City of St George. I was appointed mayor by my colleagues on the city council January 21st of this year. I was on the city council for seven years prior to being appointed mayor.

I have enjoyed serving and getting to know many people in our community. I work extremely hard on behalf of our community.

Mayor Michele Randall at City Hall, St. George, Utah, April 28, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

I want to make sure we maintain our quality of life even during these times of major growth. The mayor can’t fix everything but I can bring the right people together to help facilitate and make the best decisions possible for our city. I would love to continue serving as mayor.

What are the most pressing issues that you hope to help address?

My top priority is the future of our city. This year we have implemented a comprehensive general plan for our city. It has and will continue to involve the public’s input on what our city will look like over the next decade and beyond in regards to high density, urban sprawl, our downtown, active transportation, entertainment, arts, historical features, traffic flow, open space, etc.

We need to have a greater focus on water conservation. We are in an extreme drought. Water is our lifeline. Working together with the Water Conservancy District and our partners throughout the county we will enact ordinances to help with conservation.

We cannot forget our heritage and history. The Dixie Spirit is alive and well in our city. We need to teach those from outside our area what that means to us through our history and our example.

What’s your vision for St. George as the area continues to grow?

[I hope] We maintain the quality of life we’ve all come to love. We continue to be a safe and clean city where people enjoy working and playing. I hope we always maintain a small town feel even as we grow. We need to keep up with infrastructure, water sources and public safety as we grow.

Jimmie Hughes

Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?

Photo of Councilman Jimmie Hughes, date and location unspecified | Courtesy of Jimmie Hughes, for St. George News

I am the most prepared to do the job. I was born and raised here in St. George. I went away like many others for better economic opportunities and because of the growth was able to return home. Living and working in California and Salt Lake City helps me to relate with many of our
friends and neighbors moving here.

I am a business owner here and I know the challenges facing business owners. As the owner and funeral director at Hughes Mortuary I have the opportunity to serve and interact with community members every day at some of the most difficult times of their lives.

I know and appreciate the issues they face. I also have a background in mortgage banking as well as being a cattle rancher where my wife Tawny and I enjoy teaching our children about hard work! Having children in the school system, I can relate to the challenges of raising a family here in St George.

I have served on the city council and I am up to speed on the current issues allowing me to easily work with the city council and others on the pressing issues we face. I believe that all of this has prepared me to be the most well-rounded candidate for mayor.

What are the most pressing issues that you hope to help address?

Growth of course! We are one of the fastest growing cities in the country. But the real underlying pressing issue is how that growth is affecting the ability to maintain the incredible quality of life we have here in St. George.

We have to plan ahead with the infrastructure needed. We always want new growth to pay for the new growth as much as possible. This requires good planning. As we grow, we want to keep being St. George. We are different and that’s ok. People move here because we are different. Let’s not forget that.

Public safety is a top priority. As we grow so do issues with crime and we must be vigilant. I always have been and always will be a big supporter of our police and fire departments. They need the equipment and training necessary to continue being world class at doing their job keeping them and us safe and serving the community.

With all the concerns we might have if we don’t have water, we only will have one concern – Water! Working with the Water District to develop a good water use plan and maximizing our water sources is a must.

What’s your vision for St. George as the area continues to grow?

I share the vision of St. George City and am grateful to have been a part of developing that vision. “We are an active community, rich in culture, with a diverse and vibrant economy that supports people doing great things!”

I see just that. Yes, a community much larger than it is today but one that still feels the same in individual neighborhoods. Where people know and engage with their neighbors with respect and appreciation for our differences. A place rich in culture, which requires us to remember where we came from and how that culture was created. Where people thrive economically and do great things. Where roads and other transportation methods allow us to move freely and be active. Where we can all pursue the American promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

These things do not happen by accident. There are many excellent people that work for the city that are actively engaged in working toward that vision. The job of the mayor is to work with those wonderful people and advance this vision. I am ready and willing to take on that task if the voters of St. George agree!

Brett Tolly

Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?

I’ve been a resident of St. George for four years. I’m a retired business owner for 30 years in the orthopedic industry. Working with the world renowned Steadman Clinic in Vail Colorado, I managed a team of three-to-five sales people covering four states, including Colorado, Wyoming, Utah & New Mexico. Our company led the nation in sales for 20 years.

What are the most pressing issues that you hope to help address?

I’m concerned the city has and will continue to have some tough decisions to make due to cancel culture, critical race theory, black lives matter, water issues and over-building the community. I will be a strong decision maker working with city team members to achieve the desired outcome for the people. I strongly support law enforcement and the fire department and will work hard to give them the ultimate funding.

What’s your vision for St. George as the area continues to grow?

I stand for God, Family, Community and the America First agenda.

Woody Woodbury

Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?

Woody Woodbury, location and date unspecified | Courtesy of Woody Woodbury, for St. George News

I am a serial entrepreneur, NOT A POLITICIAN. One look at my LinkedIn profile and you’ll see. I could care less what others think of me because I know I’m doing what is good and right in the eyes of God and my country.

It’s time that we raised the bar and reminded our elected leaders what it means to serve the people. Southern Utahns are tired of dishonesty and poor leadership in our government.

Tired of the excuses and the disregard for our individual rights. We need local leaders to fight for freedom and liberty. Leaders who speak with honesty and truth because they aren’t afraid of what others may think. Leaders who’re not only willing but who are actually capable of managing our city responsibly and wisely.

I will fight against the communist agendas assaulting our freedom and threatening our children’s future and against tyrannical government, not support them. I love the United States and will always support and defend her Constitution against ALL enemies. I am the perfect candidate for Mayor because I am not afraid to fight. To win we must start locally right here in St. George and Utah’s Dixie.

What are the most pressing issues that you hope to help address?

We have a great many issues that plague Southern Utah. ie: Job scarcity, Water scarcity, Unethical Land Development, Energy Insecurity, etc., etc… In order to find real solutions to these issues, we need to significantly increase the honesty and transparency in our city.

Elected leaders serve the people NOT themselves, special interest groups, or the Federal Government. We have had an issue with these groups taking advantage behind a curtain of secrecy that needs to be exposed. We will explore real (and most likely entrepreneurial) solutions to the issues our area faces like crime, industry, jobs, power, and water to name a few.

We will rely on free enterprise, NOT GOVERNMENT, to unlock our huge potential for equitable growth, prosperity, and stability for the families who live here. To accomplish this, we must increase transparency and accountability in our city and force department leaders to improve fiscal responsibility by eliminating wasteful spending and ultimately decreasing government overreach and taxes.

As Mayor, I’ll continue to fight for our Dixie Heritage against the criminal efforts to erase it from the area and continue to be fearless in the face of government overreach and tyranny to protect our rights and freedom as Americans.

What’s your vision for St. George as the area continues to grow?

Change is the only constant in this world and the growth of our city is not immune to that fact. I see a future in St. George where the government gets out of the way and allows industry to bring jobs that are not only plentiful but are diverse and adequately provide the incomes needed to support the families who choose to live here.

Our local citizens (and those who visit) love this area for many reasons including our family-friendly environment, amazing heritage, inspiring history, and stunning beauty. However, as patriots, we have remained silent for too long as special interests groups, cancel culture, and communist agendas have infiltrated our local politics, schools, businesses, and churches causing economic destruction and turmoil.

I envision a future where those who live here and love this area will stand up and take an active role in preserving our freedom and our Southern Utah Dixie Heritage. A future where the city gets out of the way of industry and job growth. Where entrepreneurs and Patriots are actively engaged in the fight for freedom and liberty and in finding real solutions for each of the issues we face in Southern Utah.

For all of St. George News’ coverage of 2021 municipal elections, click here.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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