|The panel of candidates at the Meet the Candidate night held in Ferron.|
Every candidate in the Emery County races came to meet the candidate night sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 42 on Oct. 25. Those who are running unopposed were the first to be introduced.
Dave Blackwell, candidate for county attorney said, "I want to thank everyone for their support for the past 15 years. I also want to tell everyone that our office is available to county residents. I am very happy with our office and it is running very smoothly."
Dixie Swasey, county recorder candidate said, "I have been the Emery County recorder now for three terms. For a rural recorder's office, ours is top notch and we are moving ahead with technology."
Steve Barton, candidate for treasurer said, "I appreciate everyones support. Our goal in the treasurer's office is to serve the people of Emery County in a friendly and efficient manner."
Kris Bell, county assessor candidate said, "I am concluding my first term in this office. It has been fun and I have enjoyed this office very much. We are here to serve the people of Emery County and our goal is to treat everyone fairly."
Each of the candidates who are running unopposed thanked the American Legion Auxiliary for the opportunity to participate in the meet the candidate night.
Laurie Pitchforth, moderator for the evening began the program with an introductory time for each candidate. Mike Hurdsman, candidate for commission seat A was the first to speak. He began by thanking the American Legion and the Auxiliary for the opportunity. He also noted that if it weren't for the military, this country may not have the freedoms to allow elections.
Hurdsman told about his father who had served in World War II and his being injured. When his father came home and began his family, he instilled patriotism in each of the children. "We were taught that we all have rights and privileges and these must be fought for," said Hurdsman. "I believe our government was instituted by God for man. I am accountable to the residents of Emery County and God. Every man and woman who serves will also be accountable. My platform is to preserve our heritage, protect our standards and values, and strive for economic development."
Gary Kofford, incumbent for commission seat A said, "I am presently serving in seat A. I am at the end of my four year term. It feels like it has been a short four years, but I feel I have done relatively well. I feel everybody in government should be straightforward and honest in dealing with the public. My platform is sustained multiple use and I have worked to keep trails open and complete the travel plan. Emery County has the best employees anywhere. They are professional and should be treated with dignity and respect. They need a fair and equitable wage. I was instrumental in getting a compensation specialist to do a study and I plan to institute his recommendations."
In the commission seat B race, Jeff Horrocks was the first to speak. "I live in Cleveland and have served as mayor there for the past nine years. I understand the process of government. I have served in law enforcement and the military, and I am a member of the Lions Club and numerous other organizations. In 2003, I retired from the Utah Highway Patrol. My platform is economic development, public lands, and responsible growth," said Horrocks. "I also feel that the county should help local businesses and entrepreneurs, and encourage relocation of businesses to this area. Our public lands need to stay public, and we need infrastructure to promote tourism."
Kent Wilson, candidate for commission seat B said, "I live in Orangeville and I am the owner of BK's. That business has been in our family for 37 years. I have served on many various boards in Emery County including the Emery County Economic Development board. For the past eight years, I have served on the Four Corners Behavioral Health board, and I have been active in the Emery County Chamber of Commerce. Through all the years of service, I have come to love every part of Emery County. I am self-employed and I have appreciated all the support from county residents in my business. As a result, I feel it is now time for me to give back to the community. My wife Julie and I both have past commissioners in our family, so we know what life will be like and what will be expected. My platform is economic development and multiple use."
Kollette Cologie, candidate for the clerk/auditor office said, "I was raised in Ferron and now I live in Castle Dale. I have been on the Castle Dale City Council for the past three years, so I have worked with budgets. I work at Dr. Kent McKell's office where I am the office manager. I like to work with the public and I like that very much. One of my goals for the clerk/auditor's office is to make it a comfortable place for the citizens to come into. I am not a certified public accountant but that is not required to hold this office. I will be surrounded by competent people and I am familiar with the Standard Uniform Accounting Code."
Brenda Dugmore, incumbent clerk/auditor said, "I am a certified public accountant. I was an independent accountant for three years prior to becoming the deputy clerk/auditor nine and a half years ago. When I became the clerk/auditor, we did not hire anyone else, so I have saved the county money by not hiring extra people. The clerk/auditor's office is responsible for accounts payable, payroll for all the county employees, and a $13 million budget. We have a balanced budget which is good for the county. I am a dedicated worker and I put in a lot of hours. My goal is to treat everyone with respect."
Gordon Bennett, candidate for sheriff said, "I have been a resident here for 18 years. I was raised in Millard County and I have worked in law enforcement for 24 years. There are many aspects to the job of sheriff, and I want this campaign to be run is a positive manner. Gossip and rumors are very bad and cause contention. This race needs to be honest and fair. Knowledge is the sum of what is known, the truths or facts accumulated in the course of time. Experience is something personally lived through or encountered. I have both and I feel I can be the Emery County Sheriff and do it very well."
LaMar Guymon, incumbent Emery County Sheriff said, "I have been the sheriff here in Emery County for 32 years. I live law enforcement and emergency medical services. It's my life. I have had extensive training, and I have been to the FBI academy. I want Emery County to remain a place where you can live, work and play safely. Many years ago I could have gone to work for the UHP and made twice as much money, but I chose to stay here in Emery County. I love it here and this is where I am going to stay. I have served on many other boards, including the travel bureau, and I have traveled to many places. Of all the places I have been, Emery County is the most beautiful, this is the only place to live. My family is here in Emery County, and that is just one of the reasons there is to keep Emery County a safe place to live. I have a solid plan for the future, and I have dedicated, well trained employees."
In the school board district five race, Owen Olsen said, "I live in Cleveland and have been the fire chief there. I helped start the fire chiefs association. It was then that we began to acquire equipment and buildings. I have worked in the school system for 31 years. I served in Vietnam in 1968 and I love this country and the system we have. I believe in the two party system. I will do my best to see that the taxpayer's money is used to educate students. There is also a great need for counselors in the schools. I will do my best to see that the teachers have the supplies and equipment they need."
Royd Hatt, incumbent in school board district five, said, "I was born and raised in Green River. I have held this seat for 17 years. I was a major proponent of moving the county line to include the entire town of Green River. There are some areas of great concerns in the school district. In the school safety issue, we are putting in stop gaps to ensure student and staff safety. Just because we are a rural location, does not mean that being safe is automatic. We have wonderful, dedicated teachers, many of whom are on the tail ends of their careers. We want to be able to hire new teachers who are just as dedicated and we need to entice that quality of teacher with higher wages, even though we are one of the highest in Utah."