Washington County Democrats define their issues, elect delegates at convention

ST. GEORGE — Washington County Democrats gathered at the Washington City Community Center Saturday afternoon to discuss the party’s platform and elect delegates for the statewide convention in April.

Voters selected delegates at the Washington County Democratic Convention, Washington City, Utah, March 23, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

There were about 40 people in attendance, who heard from a variety of speakers, including Democrat Brian King, who is running for Governor of Utah.

After voicing his strong support for bringing Major League Baseball to Salt Lake City, King used a baseball metaphor to talk about this year’s election.

“There’s an expression sometimes you hear in baseball, ‘That was a fat pitch over the middle of the plate,’” King said. “A batter wants to see that fat pitch over the middle of the plate.”

“We have this year, folks, I really believe this, a political fat pitch coming down the middle of the plate, and we need to knock it out of the park,” he added. “We can do that as Democrats. We have to do that as Democrats.”

King went on to say that Democrats are offering Utah voters a different kind of politics.

“Politics that put their interests first,” he said. “Politics that value the Constitution and their liberties and freedom. A brand of policy that will ensure that we have growth that’s productive into the future.”

As a 16-year member of the Utah State Legislature, King said Republican Gov. Spencer Cox’s “Disagree Better” national campaign was ironic.

“We are listening to the governor champion compassion and love and disagreeing better within a legislative chamber that is as divisive and turns out the most controversial and extreme and unnecessary legislation that I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Voters selected delegates at the Washington County Democratic Convention, Washington City, Utah, March 23, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

King said that Cox has a consistent track record of being complicit with extremism. 

“He masks it in loving but dismissive language. But at the end of the day, it’s easy to say ‘Disagree Better’ when really, you’re not disagreeing at all,” King said. “That’s what we’ve got, is a governor that will not take on the Utah State Legislature’s supermajority party. That’s a problem.”

Speakers at the convention included Washington County Democrats’ second vice-chair, Lisa Aedo, who talked about growth, and Ed Andrechak, President of Conserve Southwest Utah, who spoke about water and its vital role in the future of Washington County.

Washington County Commission candidate and chair of the Washington County Democrats Chuck Goode used his time to talk about water issues as well.

Goode said his main fear is that in the near future, cities in the county will vie against each other for remaining water supplies.

“It’s an availability problem,” he said. “We need a decentralized water management system almost like living off the grid. You have your water, you reuse the same water over and over.”

Goode called himself a picture of the American dream after he ended up at NASA as a software engineer working on the International Space Station.

“Talking with astronauts, there are no pipelines or power lines running up to the International Space Station,” he said. “An astronaut gets nine liters of water delivered every three months, and he just reuses it.”

“It’s OK to clean the water and use it again. And it certainly is; the technology is there,” he added. “Every new home needs to have that reuse technology. It cuts the water use in half. Every old home needs to be retrofitted.”

Goode concluded by citing the old Wild West saying, “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.”

Democratic candidate for Senate District 29 Deidra Ritchhart speaks at the Washington County Democratic Convention, Washington City, Utah, March 23, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“It really is,” he said. “I hate to see city against city. And I really think the county can become a leader in this. The county should step in and help all the cities cooperate. There are ways the county can lead and I’m asking for your vote to please give me a chance.”

The Democratic Party, not just in Utah but across the country, is trying to engage college-age voters to get involved in the election. Natalia Cervantes, president of the Utah Tech Young College Democrats, discussed the obstacles to voting young people face.

Cervantes said there is a disconnect between an older population that is active in politics, as represented by the citizens at the convention, and the younger population on campus.    

“Our youth aren’t really in the same position where they feel like they can make a difference or do make a difference,” Cervantes told St. George News. “It would be a lot better if the older group were able to reach out to us.”

She suggested more citizens engage in a grassroots effort along with the college-age voters by creating and attending events on campus that are more youth friendly.

Cervantes said it is also important to educate college-age voters. With a lot of international students and students from out of state on campus, many of her peers won’t be voting at all.

“Overall, they don’t seem very engaged,” she said. “I think if we put in efforts, especially at the beginning of the year, to encourage them to be active members of their community, it would really make a difference.”

The Utah State Democratic Convention is April 26 at Cottonwood High School in Cottonwood Canyon, just outside Salt Lake City.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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