There were wall to wall Republicans at the Museum of the San Rafael Feb. 28, each anxious to discuss issues with the candidates for governor, Congress and the county commission.
Eight candidates for the office of Utah governor, along with three congressional candidates were represented.
The assembly was greeted by Bill Dellos, Emery County Republican Party Chairman, after which a flag ceremony and pledge of allegiance led by Taylor Tanner of The Boy Scouts of America, Troop 305, from Orangeville was conducted. Following the flag ceremony and pledge, the National Anthem was sung by Natalie Blackwell and audience. For entertainment Kent Petersen favored the group with two renditions of Cowboy Poetry. One of which was " We live on a big reservation and they put all the cows in the zoo." Community Theater presented a musical Number "It's A Hard Knock Life" performed by the Orphans from the play Annie. Story Book was Sung by Megan Rogers, Miss Emery County.
After the entertainment, Bill Dellos introduced the guests and candidates. Although President George W. Bush was not there, he sent along a short video presenting his views on the War on Terrorism, the economy and other issues. Dellos asked the candidates to confine their remarks to what they could do for the state of Utah and Emery County.
The first political candidate to speak was Drew Sitterud. He told the group that the last four years have been a learning experience and now he feels very prepared to help Emery County move forward into the future. He also commented on three companies interested in locating in Emery County. One of those company's is looking at Emery County as a place to locate. This company makes electronic wire ends for aircraft. Pacific Corp (Utah Power and Light) is assisting in encouraging this company to locate in Emery County.
Among the candidates for governor, Jim Hansen was given the first opportunity to speak. He has been serving people in various political offices for 43 years.Twenty two of those years were in Congress.He commented on how much he appreciated working with Emery County Commissioners on public land issues. Too many legislators, people who have never been West of the Mississippi, introduce bills to lock up the public lands in Utah or to drain Lake Powell. He was able to help make it possible to get 1,300 acres in Snow Basin to help the winter Olympics. Other countries want to buy our land. Other states have sold their land to countries like Japan. The Wilcox Ranch in the Book Cliffs sold for $8.2 million. That unlocked over 100,000 acres for access by the public. Jim Hansen believes because of his experience he is the best candidate for governor and if elected will give it his very best.
Parley Hellewell, candidate for governor, said he understands rural Utah and the issues. The governor is the leader of the state and the party. We need better leadership. We need to lower taxes. Over the past decade, taxes have gone up and government has gotten bigger, because we haven't had a governor that really believes in what our party platform says. Hellewell is very impressed with President Bush because of his faith and leadership. He said, "We need a governor that will defend our rights and stand up for the things that are important to us and the things we believe in. As your governor I will do that. I will represent rural Utah. I understand the land issues."
Gary Herbert, candidate for governor, is currently serving as Utah County's Commissioner. Utah County has the lowest cost county government in the state of Utah and the second lowest property tax rate. "I have helped to accomplish this. "I have recently been a member of the Utah Association of Counties and as such have traveled to all the counties in the state working for local county officials.There have been too many mandates from the federal government and the state government that require local officials to try to make work mandates that were written by people that do not understand rural Utah. I would use a grass roots approach to government that is more cooperative more open to getting rid of waste and creating efficiencies in government," said Hellewell. His priorities are to make state government live within the budget. The state budget has grown over the last 13 years, from $3.5 billion to more than $8 billion. Following the example of Ronald Reagan, we need to review the state budget and find out which programs we can eliminate.
"We need to review the rules and regulations and eliminate those that stifle a lot of business opportunities in our state. To have a good economy, we need people with a good education with usable skills. To have a good economy we need a good infrastructure such as good roads and transportation. To help the economy we need to get the government off the backs off our land and out of the wallet of the people of Utah. Seventy percent of Utah is owned by the federal government," Hellewell said.
Governor candidate Jon Huntsman Jr.'s representative was Steve Asay whose father came from Cleveland and mother-in-law from Elmo. He pointed out that Jon Huntsman will listen to you and your needs in rural Utah. His number one issue is jobs, jobs, jobs and those jobs have to come to Emery County. They can't stop on the Wasatch Front. If state resources can be used to put companies that hire people in Emery County so that Emery High School graduates do not need to pack up and find employment elsewhere, we need to do that. Public land issues are other important issues that he wants to protect for the use of Utahns, so our land can have multiple uses. We need to do more about education so that the boys and girls in Emery County get the best education possible.
"Remember this, Jon Huntsman Jr. will come to Emery County, he will listen to you and find out what you need from the governor's office. He wants the opportunity to serve and that is what this campaign is all about," said Asay.
Candidate for governor Nolan Karras listed his three concepts. 1-Go find someone that knows me quite well to find out what I stand for. 2-Clean up our system of government. We need to preserve our way of life and get the government off of our backs. 3-Recently the family has come under attack. "As governor, I would do what I can to protect the family, the basic unit of society. I want to serve the people of Utah," Karras said.
He is a certified public accountant, an investment advisor and an insurance finance administrator for Beneficial Life. He was the chairman of the financial committee for the Olympic Committee. He believes Utah needs a governor that has a financial background. He wants to make the government accountable to the people of Utah. He would like to see Utah have a five year financial plan instead of year to year financial non-plan. Education and health are also very important issues. Under education kids today do not get the educational skills needed to go into the work place and earn a living wage. "I fear for our kids because the world is becoming more and more complicated and without the necessary skills they will not be able to sustain life. Economic development is absolutely critical to rural Utah," said Karras.
Fred Lampropoulos, also a candidate for governor. "From a Democrat point of view let's talk about the budget and let's talk about the growth of government. The state of Utah's budget has grown in excess of 6 percent every year, over the past decade or so. Essentially doubling the size of our state budget. If I were a Democrat I would say, 'How is that possible in a Republican administration?' In the last 12 years, we have gone from spending $380 million per year to $1.8 billion (dollars part of that was for I-15). The democrats will use these issues against us." said Lampropoulos.
"Let's talk about the budgeting with a budget based on income and other areas. As your governor, I would legislatively put a cap on how much money we spend. We do not have to tear families apart through lay offs because you spent too much money. If you spend 50 percent more than you make, what is going to happen? But that is how we do budgeting in the Republican administration for almost the last 20 years. That is absolutely where the Democrats will come after the Republicans.
"As an outsider, someone who has run a business in the private sector for the past 30 years, I have always had to be profitable. In the medical company which I am chairman of (Merit Medical), we have grown statistically for the past 17 years and we have never had a down year. Were we lucky? No. Were we fortunate? Yes. But we know how to budget and make things happen. We know how to restrain ourselves. In Merit Medical which I own, we have 1,300 employees. We have recently expanded warehouse space and will add 500 new jobs. We need to compare economic development to education. Our children are over educated and underskilled. We have not properly aligned education to the job market. We need to do this. I have never had a major college president or applied technology college president come to me to ask what I need in the way of workers. Ronald Reagan said, "No government has ever voluntarily reduced its size." The Democrats are going to come after us on the above issues and we need someone who has an answer and a plan," said Lampropoulos.
Marty Stephens, candidate for governor said, "Go back with me to 1787 to when the writers of the constitution, put forth a preamble, 'We the people of the United States in order to provide a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for a common defense and provide for the general welfare and secure to ourselves the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. We hereby ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.' The next governor of this state should recognize his or her primary responsibility is to secure those blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. The underlying principle represented by this, is that government cannot solve all of societies problems. We can choose to have freedom and be individually responsible or we can rely on government to provide for us. Government will take those freedoms away through higher taxes and more government rules and regulations. The next governor of this state should recognize that sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing.
"Economic development is a high priority we need high quality, high paying jobs statewide not just on the Wasatch Front. We need a quality public education system that has accountability that is adequately funded and provides parental choice," said Stephens.
Mark Shurtleff auctioned off the beautiful framed painting of Lincoln praying in the woods. Eric Anderson of Emery paid $500 for the painting.
State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said, "Coming to Emery County is like stepping back in time. Seeing cows and calves in the fields. This year is the 150th year of the Republican Party. One hundred fifty years ago, this country was being torn apart over the question of slavery. States rights were also involved. The Republican Party's preamble said that all men are created equal and that it is not right that one man should own another. It came to a head when the US Supreme Court, in 1857, in the Dred Scott Decision, after a 10 year struggle the case, went to the highest court in the land and that court decided that a black man is not a man. Abraham Lincoln took on the challenge of slavery and the people of the nation rallied around him and the Republican Party. Compare that decision to what is happening in our courts today with regards to the controversy over gay and lesbian couples desire to be married. Think about what is going on right now in our society. The state of Connecticut has decided that people in that state do not want homosexuals to be role models for their sons. If they are public employees they cannot donate from their pay check to the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts of America are producing the future leaders of this country. It is the greatest patriotic organization that helps crime prevention. I have enjoyed being your attorney general. I appreciate your support."
For the congressional candidates, Tim Bridgewater felt that he had a good chance to win over Matheson because of his connections to George Bush. He helped worked in Washington on the Bush campaign. John Swallow was represented by Debbie Huckstep and David Ross. David Wilde also believes he can win the election over Matheson.
"John has a track record from the last election and lost by only a few votes. This time he believes he is better funded to wage a much stronger campaign against Matheson," said Ross.