County conventions draw large crowds: Democrats
The Emery County Democrat's County Convention was held April 16 at the San Rafael Museum. FloAnn Wilson, County Party Treasurer issued the call to all County Delegates, the 2010 Nominating Convention is to be held for the purpose of nominating those candidates who will represent the Emery County Democrat Party in the upcoming election and to elect delegates to the 2010 Utah State Democrat Party Convention and meet candidates that have filed for Utah State and Emery County offices. After the flag ceremony presented by Castle Dale Scout Troop 328, Shala Pitchforth sang the National Anthem, followed by a prayer and blessing on the food by Kent Wilson.
Gary Petty, County Party Chairperson welcomed the crowd and provided introductions of the guests and dignitaries. Sheriff Lamar Guymon and his wife Gayla, County Commissioner Gary Kofford and his wife Glenna, County Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth and her husband Shane, Congressman Jim Matheson, State Representative District 69, Christine Watkins, County Commissioner Candidate Edward Geary and his wife Janet. In the audience we have past County Commissioner Bevan Wilson and Brad King former State Representative.
Robert Comstock was invited to speak for Claudia Wright who is opposing Jim Matheson at the State Convention. Comstock, a school teacher and former contractor said he was discouraged with the current political system in our state and in our nation. He is frustrated, discouraged and appalled at the inability and the unwillingness of many of our national leaders to address the needs of working people, who daily struggle to provide for their families. Claudia Wright has the backbone and background to challenge unrestrained domination by corporations. In the following ways, 1. Campaign Finance Reform through a Constitutional Amendment. 2. Continuing to assist Labor Unions get their earned rights. 3. Affordable health care for every American citizen. I ask you to vote for Claudia Wright who will help Democrats take back our political system, a Democrat for US Congress.
Jim Matheson said, "This is the best county convention because you are the one that serves dinner. Other Democrat County Conventions should take a look at Emery County as an example because we have had success four times on the ballot. I am proud to be on the ballot in Emery County with Commissioner Pitchforth, Commissioner Kofford, Sheriff Guymon and our Representative Christine Watkins. We have a strong ticket in Emery County. We have made progress from year to year and election to election. I am pleased Congress finished last night and I was able to get on a plane and be out here tonight so that I can spend a few minutes with you. Last night I voted for the bill to extend unemployment benefits, the only person in the Utah Delegation that did vote for it. We are here as Democrats to give people a better life, a better future and an opportunity to succeed. These things do not always make headlines. Last night was an opportunity to vote for a bill that will benefit people and I get a thrill from that.
"We have been through a lot in Emery County together, we were able to get funding for the Moore Cut Off Road. We had some tough times like the Crandall Canyon Mine Disaster. That was a tough circumstance that we all had to deal with. We have to make sure that the mine workers are working in a safe environment.
"We have been through tough economies. It is hard to keep this economy going with the recovery package which I supported. It will not solve all of our problems, but it has saved more than 2 million jobs throughout our country. In Emery County it means your school district will not have to let teachers go. That support saved 4,600 teachers jobs in Utah. When you are in public service you want to make progress and make things better for people.
"I came here to thank you and to ask you for some help. 2010 is an interesting year, I want you delegates to go to the State Convention and I want you to vote for me. I want to be on the ticket this coming fall, a ticket that could have a challenge, but also an opportunity for 2010. The Massachusetts election tells you that it will be a challenging election year for Democrats. The Democrat ticket represents some real positive opportunities.
"We all need to commit to put forth a little more effort than ever before, because in this nonpresidential election year the turn out will be a little lower. Three local precincts could very well make the difference in the election. I ask for your help in supporting the Democrat candidates on the ticket in this November's election," said Matheson.
State Rep. District 69, Christine Watkins, "I feel at home among you, I know that I do not officially represent you as this is not part of my district. I only represent Green River. I am thrilled to represent Green River along with the other areas in the district. I have people from Emery County that call and email me all the time, because I lived here and I taught school here. I still have a connection with you. I think about my Emery County constituents as much as I do the others that I work with. We have 22 Democrat representatives and we passed 35 bills this year. That is more than we have done in a decade. Five of those bills were bills I sponsored. We worked on a lot of good bills. In the two years I have been there I passed two resolutions and five bills," said Watkins.
Brad King representing Peter Corroon for Governor. "I have known Peter about four years and have become comfortable with Peter as a politician. He has done some great things for Salt Lake County. He wants small, honest and efficient government. The Salt Lake County Budget over the last four years, has been trimmed, it is efficient and most of all it has been ethical. Peter Corroon is one of the leaders in the push for ethical reform here in Utah. He thinks Utah needs to return to being a leader in economic growth and job development. He wants Utah to be energy independent using clean coal technology and renewable energy. These are important to the economy. He wants every child to be learning and be worth the investment. There was an actual cut in the per pupil funding in Utah this year. If he is governor that won't happen.
"Fair political boundaries without gerrymandering is something that needs to happen. Peter is one of the leaders in the fair boundaries initiative. Unemployment in the State of Utah is over 7.4 percent, the drop out rate is up, college education is down, tuition is up, class sizes are up and the Governor and the Legislature are not addressing these.
"His focus is on Utah businesses already here and committed to Utah and not using Economic Development to bring in outside businesses. In order to succeed in Utah we must have a strong energy economy. Peter is running for governor because we need to get practical solutions instead of political rhetoric. Having a Democrat in the governors seat will change everything in Utah politics. Peter Corroon wants your vote. This is a terrific night for Democrats," said King.
The Former Vice Chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, and still on the executive committee as chair.
"I am here to talk about the best candidate for US Senate, Sam Granato. His father Frank Granato was very influential in past elections. Sam did not get interested in politics until Barrack Obama came along. He has traveled the state almost three times. He believes in going to people and small businesses. His message is common sense for the United States Senate, put Utahns back to work and working together. I want to say we need Peter Corroon, Jim Matheson and Sam Granato.
"Sam Granato wanted to talk about rural Utah. He wanted to have a person dedicated full time when he is Senator to help grow communities by finding opportunities. Energy technologies are very important. We have the people, we have the natural resources, we have educated people and we have universities from Southern Utah to Northern Utah. Sam thinks we should become the energy technology center of the world. That we should become energy independent. We should keep foreign nuclear waste out of Utah. Sam would put out a bill to help people that are down winders, suffering from atomic bomb tests in the past. Sam believes this could help people in Utah and Nevada. They deserve some compensation," said the former state party chairman. "Anyone can run for office as a Democrat but that the party leadership will decide whom they will support and will announce that before the convention. The delegates may decide whom they will vote for."
Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth: "I have had a great year and a half. I have learned so much. I appreciate the support of the other county Democrats" said Pitchforth.
Commissioner Gary Kofford said, "I have had the privilege of serving you and the citizens of Emery County for the past seven years. A real honor to represent you. Shortly after taking office, Jim Matheson called and asked what do you need in Emery County. We have a road that goes through the desert called the Moore Road and it qualifies for Federal funding. Jim asked for all the details to go in an application to the committee. Two weeks later we had funding. We put in for eight and a half million dollars for 15-16 miles of road. We ended up with about $18 million. Since then the price of oil went up and construction costs went up. Seven years ago this was a dream and Congressman Matheson made it possible to finish that road. It cuts off an hour and a half for people in Ferron, taking their boat to Lake Powell.
"I enjoy serving you and hope you will support me in November," said Kofford.
Sheriff LaMar Guymon, "It has been a pleasure to have served you and Emery County the past 40 years. If all the Republicans and Democrats vote right I will be Sheriff for another four years. We are one of the largest county in the state. We serve every city in this county with law enforcement. There are no city police. This includes serving Green River with deputies. A lot our deputies have been here 30 years or longer. As deputies retire they are being replaced by young, energetic, enthusiastic, intelligent, young people that have turned my world upside down.
"They have questions and want to do things and want me to do things with them and teach them. That has been a huge blessing. It has been a pleasure to share the knowledge that I have with those new people. I believe I have put together the best law enforcement office in the state. I believe my staff and office is far ahead of other offices in the state.
"We are always bound by the amount of money available and our commissioners have been very supportive. Our staff members work diligently to get grants and we have some of the best equipment money can buy. We can only move forward as fast as our budget will allow.
"We want to upgrade our communications center. Thanks to Bret Mills we have received a grant of a million dollars to do this.We have received grants the past several years. We have recently received a bid of $360,000 to upgrade our communications in our vehicles. This includes laptop computers for our cars. It will take an additional $30,000 each year for maintenance of that system. We will look for grants to fund this project and its upkeep. We are looking at every option and CIB grants.
"The nuclear plant that may be coming to Green River will require additional law enforcement personnel. The San Rafael has been discovered and it has increased a lot of our work. I appreciate living here. I ask for your support in November," said Sheriff Guymon.
Edward Geary candidate for Commissioner: "I studied the Democrat and the Republican party platforms and liked the Democrat platform, the part that urges common sense solutions. Common sense goes back to the founding of our nation. The colonists tried having everything in common and they almost starved to death. Then they parceled land out to individual families and the result was a bumper harvest. The doctrine told them one thing and practical experience told them something else. They chose common sense over doctrine. My chief campaign instrument will be my little pocket notebook. I intend to be the candidate that listens to your concerns and ideas throughout the county in the coming months," said Geary.
Nominations were made for state delegates 14 selected. Gary Petty: I think we have a great group of candidates. Delegates go to the State Convention. The Republicans and Democrats are meeting the same day in the Salt Palace May 8, 2010. It should be interesting. The Treasurer report was given by Flo Ann Wilson.