Jerry Anderson will represent a portion of Emery County.
Jerry Anderson said that at about 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2012 his phone started ringing and it didn't stop again until 9:30 a.m. the next morning. Those calls were coming from people who were congratulating him on winning a seat in the Utah State Legislature, with the first session he will be involved in starting on Jan. 28.
There were also calls of concern about issues that people are interested in as well. Anderson becomes the first Republican legislator representing the entirety of Carbon County since the 1920s. A revamped district resulting from the 2010 census numbers, the district (House District 69) stretches from Grand County up through Duchesne county from Moab to Fruitland.
"I have already done a lot of traveling for the job," said Anderson. Being a legislator isn't only about being at the capitol during the regular session, but also includes meeting with constituents, attending county meetings that deal with issues that people in their district want their representative to be involved in, interim committee meetings in Salt Lake and other events they must attend.
For Anderson, who had run three times for the seat he has finally attained, the roller coaster that is the legislature is just beginning. But he has some definite views about the state, the role of the federal government and what has been going on in the last few years.
"After the chores of bringing in coal and wood for the fire, and taking out the ashes, there is some time to ponder the situation we are in here in eastern Utah," he recorded in a written statement to the Emery County Progress recently. "We live in an area rich in resources: coal, oil, natural gas, timber, oil shale, tar-sands, uranium and gilsonite, to name a few. Unfortunately there are forces at work bringing restrictive regulations and threats to close our coal mines, shut down our power plants, make our abundant resources unavailable and keep us off the public lands. The idea of 'We the people' has given way to 'the government has decided.'"
Anderson sees the state as the only thing standing between what he views as oppressive federal power and the right of citizens to pursue their dreams and opportunities.
"Here in the heart of coal country we have more cars parked in the MSHA office parking lot than you will see at any of our beleaguered coal mines," he stated. "There are more regulators than workers. The state must stand as a bulwark against the restrictive over-reach of the federal government. There are many challenges facing state officials; judicial, legislative and executive alike, but we are ready to face those challenges and represent Utah to the best of our collective abilities."
Anderson said he is proud of Utah, because of its openness toward business and the good financial and strategic management that has taken place over the years to make it one of the best states to live in in the country.
"We are fortunate to live in a state that is at the forefront of good management," he related. "It is an area that is foremost in favorable places for business to thrive, an area that is filled with people who are more than willing to help where help is needed, and where we are blessed with plenty of bright and beautiful children to take advantage of our thriving educational systems."
Anderson said he's proud of the heritage of those in the past who have represented Carbon County, Emery County and this area at the legislature.
"Our legislators in the past have represented us with exceptional wisdom and understanding. It is difficult to predict all of the consequences resulting from new laws, and sometimes there are unintended 'mistakes,' but John Garr, Mike Dmitrich, Omar Bunnell, Brad King and others have been notable in keeping the interests of our area always in focus," stated Anderson.
Anderson says he is looking forward to his time in the legislature and being able to help the people of the area. Having been a science teacher with a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and master's degree from BYU, his interests are varied and diverse. He is a collector of coins and postage stamps, a beekeeper, a photographer, a potter and a sculptor.
Anderson, who is originally from Salt Lake, ended up in eastern Utah in kind of a different way from many people. He heard an announcement while driving through Sanpete County that coal miners were needed in Emery County. That was in 1979, and he wanted to do something different so he became a coal miner. He worked for a short time at the Wilberg Mine and decided instead he still wanted to teach. So he began working locally and ended up at Harrier High School.
Overall Anderson taught at a number of places. He worked in Wyoming for many years, taught in California and Arizona and eventually did instruction at what is known as Utah Valley University today.
Anderson has also received a number of honors during his life. He has accepted awards for being the outstanding biology teacher of the year, a Krista McAuliffe fellowship award and international teaching fellowship. He has also served on the board of the Utah Science Teacher Association.
"I am excited for the opportunity to serve as the elected representative (to the legislature) for this area. I am available to hear your concerns and wishes for progress. My communication lines will be open for your use as the new year gets underway and I am officially installed as your new representative," he concluded.