|Kelly Nelson and Eileen Lofthouse register delegates at the convention.|
The political season is upon us with the process beginning at the caucuses which were held in each precinct in the county. From the caucuses the process moves to the county convention. The Republican county convention was held on April 5 at the recreation center in Castle Dale.
Bill Dellos, the Republican chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting. Karen Dellos the secretary read the party platform and the minutes from the organizing convention held last June. All items were accepted as read by the audience.
The state party convention will be on May 13 at the South Towne Center. Two keynotes of interest will be Sen. John McCain and Gov. Mitt Romney.
Donna Sackett representing Sen. Bob Bennett spoke at the convention. She said the Senator is very busy with the appropriations committee and wrapping up requests from the various communities. The Senate is also working with the needs of the war and the Katrina survivors. The Washington County land use bill has been introduced and is a very comprehensive bill formed from two years of meetings with all the stakeholders coming together to make the framework. Other counties can also get on board in forming their own land use plans. Sen. Bennett feels good about where the Washington County bill is headed. Sen. Bennett wants to make the federal government accessible to the local people and several satellite offices in various communities will be held to help local people with federal issues.
Nominations were held for the offices that are available this election. In the Commissioner A spot, Mike K. Hurdsman and Derek Beagley were nominated. For Commissioner B, Eric Anderson and Jeff Horrocks were nominated. For assessor, Kris Bell was nominated, for clerk/auditor Brenda Dugmore, for Sheriff, Gordon Bennett, for county attorney, David Blackwell, for recorder, Dixie Swasey and for treasurer, Steve Barton.
Each of the candidates was allowed to speak to the delegates. Beagley said he was interested in public lands. He doesn't think any more roads in the desert should be taken away. He said the sheriff's deputies should receive better pay for the job they do. He said his family is in Emery County and he has engaged in various business ventures in the county. He said he is not intimidated by the BLM or the forest service. He thinks the county needs more business, more recreation and more energy and that's where the county should make its money.
Hurdsman said he would like to work and serve the people of Emery County. He said he has enjoyed talking to the people in the county and everyone shares his concern of economic development for the county. Some businesses find the costs lower to locate a business in Carbon County and Hurdsman wants to do things that attract businesses and customers. "Our county is the crossroads of the West," said Hurdsman. He thinks growth is the answer and not increasing taxes. He is concerned with the low pay of the civil servants. "I will bring a lifetime of experience and training to the office," said Hurdsman.
Anderson said he wants to see economic development so people can stay here. He sees SR-10 as a big problem and UDOT has plans for an overlay project for the road, but it won't hold up with all the coal traffic. He would like to see a separate coal haul road put in to get the trucks off SR-10. He said one economic development project he would like to see is the raising of catfish. He said you can sell them for more per pound than cattle. He returned to Emery County because, "It don't get no better than this," said Anderson. He would like to see more tourists and promotion of the county, the mountains and the desert. He said he would work hard for Emery County.
Horrocks said he has been in Emery County for 30 years and is retired from the Utah Highway Patrol. He has been the mayor of Cleveland and is proud of the improvements in the town. He said with shrinking tax dollars that money must be spend wisely and infrastructure must grow. "The tourists are already here, we must build infrastructure to keep them here. We need industry. I would like to see SR-6 and SR-10 widened so we can get more products out easier. I am retired and have the time to spend. I can lobby on Capitol Hill, I am familiar with the legislative process. I would like to represent you to better our county," said Horrocks.
Bell, county assessor, said she is an Emery High and CEU graduate. She has been married for 13 years and has a son and daughter. She is very involved in community events. She loves her job as assessor and said it is the best job because she can measure buildings and work with people. She evaluates property for tax purposes to establish the fair market value for property. She said she is fair and honest and will work hard for the citizens of Emery County if re-elected.
Dugmore, clerk/auditor, said the county is operating with a balanced budget and has gone from borrowing to being self-sufficient. She is excited to run for the office of clerk/auditor and asks for the support of everyone.
Bennett, vying for sheriff, encouraged everyone to get registered to vote and get involved. He said you can't just complain about things, but you must do something about it and that's why he is running for office. To stand up for what you believe in. He said he would like to see better equipment for the sheriff's office. He said at the UHP they had laptop computers in their patrol vehicles which were very helpful. He wants to get to know people and encourages people to ask him questions. He is planning on going door to door in the county to get to know the citizens.
Blackwell said he appreciates everyone's support and he has enjoyed his years as the Emery County attorney.
Barton said he enjoys his interaction with the people of the county and their support.
The delegates present voted for the various positions and while the votes were being tallied those present running for state offices spoke to the audience.
Kay McIff is running for the district 70 seat formerly held by Brad Johnson. Gordon Topham also running for the district 70 seat spoke as did Jan Christensen running for the same seat.
Lavar Christensen, running for the second congressional district seat spoke to the audience.
With the voting complete, Phil Fauver, vice chairman read the results. He said if a candidate gets 60 percent of the vote or more then a primary isn't necessary in that race.
In the Commissioner A race, Derek Beagley received 35 votes and Michael Hurdsman received 82 votes. A primary will not be necessary in that race. This commission seat is currently held by Commissioner Gary Kofford and Hurdsman will be the challenger.
In the Commissioner B race, Eric Anderson received 53 votes and Jeff Horrocks received 63 votes. This race will require a primary in June to elect one candidate to run against the Democratic challenger. This is for the seat which will be vacated by current Commissioner Ira Hatch at the end of his current term.