ST. GEORGE — A new Washington County commissioner and clerk/auditor were sworn into office Tuesday, filling the seats left vacant following the resignation and retirement of their predecessors.
Adam Snow and Susan Lewis took the oath of office for Commission Seat C and county clerk/auditor respectively at the beginning of Tuesday’s Washington County Commission meeting. Both were appointed to the positions following a special election held last month.
“Kenneth Adam Snow won that election and is here to be sworn in. And as they often say in government, after you are sworn in, you are sworn at,” Commissioner Gil Almquist joked prior to having Snow stand and recite the oath.
Snow was elected by members of the Washington County Republican Party Central Committee during the special election held July 20. He was one of 12 candidates running for the seat left vacant by the departure of Commissioner Dean Cox, who announced his resignation in early June due to personal health reasons.
Cox, who planned to step down at the end of July, died July 7 due to complications related to cancer. Prior to his death, he asked Snow to run for his seat.
“There’s no possible way to fill Dean’s shoes,” Snow said after winning the special election. “I’m not even going to try. He was a giant of a man as far as service to this county.”
In addition to being handpicked by Cox, Snow was also endorsed by Almquist and Commissioner Victor Iverson for the position.
Besides the swearing-in, Tuesday also marked Snow’s first day as a commissioner, and so far, he said his short time on the job has already been interesting.
“I was able to sit in on a couple of meetings,” he said, adding he was primarily there to gain an education into certain aspects of the county and be brought up to date on current issues and operations. “It was fascinating.”
While there are issues related to the county that Snow had already been working on in his previous position as the Southern Utah director for Congressman Chris Stewart’s office – such as public lands, endangered species, water and infrastructure – he said there were other county issues of which he wasn’t as familiar.
“A couple of things that are new for me – noxious weeds and mosquitoes,” Snow laughed. “It’s not a federal issue I ever worked on.”
Snow and his fellow commissioners have a busy week ahead of them, he said, adding he is about to take a crash course in how county jails operate as the commission is set to tour county jails in the state. The visits are related to an expansion the Purgatory Correctional Facility will be undergoing, including the addition of a medical facility and housing for short-term inmates.
“I’m excited to work and do what I can to help Washington County,” Snow said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and will serve to the absolute best of my ability.”
Though elected to the commission by the county’s Republican Central Committee, Snow will have to run for the seat again next year in the county primaries. If he wins the primaries, he will then finish the remaining two years of Cox’s term and be up for re-election in 2024.
Susan Lewis was sworn in as county clerk/auditor before Snow, officially assuming the position left vacant by Kim Hafen, who retired in June. Following the commission meeting, Hafen said Lewis would be “an upgrade for sure over me.”
Lewis joined the Washington County Clerk/Auditor’s Office just before the 2016 election. She has since helped oversee multiple elections of various types while also working on budgetary and financial matters for the county and its departments.
“At the time she was the best and most qualified candidate for the position we hired her for,” Hafen said. “Now that she’s taking the reins, she’s the best and most qualified for the clerk/auditor position.”
Hafen added Lewis has also run the office in his place during the times he was away.
St. George News was unable to speak with Lewis following her swearing-in due to a prior commitment she had to attend.
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