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Front Page » April 27, 2004 » Local News » Emery County Democratic Convention
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Emery County Democratic Convention

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Emery County Democratic Party Chairman, Duane Collard conducts the meeting.

Those attending the Emery County Democratic Convention were treated to a host of speakers as well as Bevan Wilson's world famous steaks. Delegates began gathering and party secretary, Kim Player called the convention to order. A flag ceremony was presented by Boy Scout Troop 394. Rep. Jim Matheson spoke to the Democrats. He said the only good thing he saw that came out of the redistricting of the second congressional district was that now he represents Emery County and he is proud to do so. Matheson said he loves the Emery County lamb fry, although Bevan's steaks were good. He said he only won the election last time by less than 1 percent. He said they need to focus on a victory in November and not get caught up in political ploys nor turn against each other.

Matheson said he is counting on his local supporters to correct any misrepresentations about him and what he stands for. "Do not leave things unchallenged and stand up for truth," he said. Matheson said he has been very active in securing highway funds for SR-6 by getting it listed as a high priority corridor. The road has a better opportunity to obtain federal funds with a high priority listing.

Matheson was very vocal and concerned about any resumption of testing at the Nevada testing grounds. He voted against any such testing. He mentioned prior testing at the site which was done on days when any fallout would be blown downwind into Southern Utah. Matheson said he was the only local guy who voted against resuming testing. He said he would work diligently for the safety of America and not let such testing happen again. "I put the interests of Utah first, I have been the lonely voice when it comes to nuclear testing and the storing of waste at Yucca Mountain and when it comes to short changing our Veterans. I am proud of my record and I will not let the other side define me with false messages," said Matheson.

"I want a win in Emery County in November, but I can't do it alone. I need your eyes, ears, arms and legs and this is the challenge, you know my record; now get out there and vote," said Matheson.

Scott Matheson, Jr. the Democratic candidate for governor spoke to the audience next, he complemented his brother Jim on the job he is doing in Congress for the people of Utah. Matheson said he feels Utah is facing a crossroads election this year in November and this is the first time in 16 years where there will be a competitive governors race. Matheson told a little bit about his background. He is currently the Dean of Law at the University of Utah and he described it as a great opportunity. He has been involved in a variety of public service jobs. He worked for Attorney General Janet Reno which was a good experience. He has done prosecuting work for the county attorneys office and also practiced law in Washington, D.C.

He said he had some great training and learned some great skills while in Washington, but his heart was in Utah. He pointed out areas where he thought the state could do better including: education, class size reduction, unemployment, children's health care and eliminating gerrymandering at the state legislature. Matheson described Utah as being out of balance and it needs to get back to open and accountable government and Matheson described himself as just the man for the job.

Sen. Mike Dmitrich said he has been serving for the past 14 years in the state senate. He is working for rural economic development and mentioned the Consol mine as a future source of economic development in the county. Dmitrich said if the democrats and the republicans are taking turns in the governor's mansion that it is the democrats turn again.

Bevan Wilson conducts the election of state delegates at the Democratic Convention.

Rep. Brad King said he is running unopposed this year and thanked the county for their support. He said being a democrat in Utah is an uphill battle where they have to prove they are worthy and a republican has to prove that they are not worthy. King said Utah shouldn't be run behind closed doors and they should debate the issues in public. He said it was important for people to see what's going on at the state level and for people to look at individuals when choosing who to vote for.

Marcie Smith-West spoke at the convention representing Paul VanDam who is a candidate for the United States Senate. She said VanDam believes the federal government should balance their budget and his main message is fiscal responsibility.

Greg Skordas, candidate for Utah State Attorney General said he has practiced law for 22 years. He sees the main issue people face is wanting to be safe in their homes. He has worked with rape recovery victims and the children's justice center.

Michael Braxton who is a candidate for the Democratic National Convention also spoke and said it was difficult to be a democrat in Utah and the republicans think they run everything.

Donald Dunn, state party chair said he appreciated the strong Emery County democratic party and their hard work. He said the democratic party wants to send a pink slip to Pres. Bush and create job opportunities for John Kerry, Jim Matheson, Paul VanDam and other democrats. Dunn said that Matheson only won by 1,634 votes in the last election. He encouraged everyone to get involved in the campaign. He said the democrats don't have as much money as the republicans, but they spend what they have wiser. He said this is the most critical election in years. "Let's kick some elephant," said Dunn.

The democrats elected their county commission candidate to run against the republican candidate in November. Gary Petty from Emery was selected as the candidate. He is married to Jolene Petty and has three daughters and nine grandchildren. He was the mayor of Emery for 10 years. Petty said he feels major issues in the county are water rights and the roads in the desert. He said he will fight to keep roads open and support the public lands council. He said he hopes to form working relationships with each of the towns to learn of their needs and challenges and work together to solve problems. Petty said he was involved in the jacees, pioneer museum, dinosaur exhibits coming to the museum and homecoming celebrations which were the forerunner to the current Emery County Fair. He said the economy in the county has stood still and more of the tax burden is being placed on the county residents. Petty said Green River is a bright spot in Emery County and he would like to work with them and get their ideas on economic development. Petty defeated Mark H. Williams who was also a candidate.

State delegates for the democrats selected in the precinct caucuses were: Gary Petty, Gary Kofford, Duane Collard, Mary Bentley, Curtis Collard, Paula Lucas, JoAnn Behling, Carl Mortensen, FloAnn Wilson, Carolyn Booker, Max Tucker, Cheryl Keener. State delegates elected at the convention: Jackie Wilson, Boyd Wilson, Tracy Addley, Megan Kemple, Tina Allred, Bevan Wilson, Natalie Collard, and Ferd Allred. The convention will be held on May 8 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

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