Emery County residents had the chance to hear from state and local candidates at the Meet the Candidate night sponsored by the Emery County Economic Development Council and the Emery County Progress.
The candidates began with a three minute introduction and then answered questions written down by the audience.
Bob Springmeyer is the democratic candidate for governor. He has 30 years business experience and he said small business would be the focus of his administration. He said in the past if you worked hard and played by the rules you could get a job, if you were sick you could afford reasonable health care; but now people are slipping and sliding and things are more difficult. "We need to do better, we can do better. All children should have access to health care and should be prepared to enter the workforce or college. I am willing to stand up to the legislature," said Springmeyer.
David Hinkins is the republican candidate for the state senate. He has been a businessman in Emery County for the past 33 years. He is especially concerned about the safety of SR-6. He lost a sister and brother-in-law on that highway and they left behind a small child. The road needs to be four lanes. He said when the decision was made not to build Hunter 4 in the 80s it cost the county jobs. Enough research is not going into coal gasification plants which can keep coal a viable resource. "We need to develop the school trustlands more and utilize those resources more. We need to develop resources like tar sands. The corporate taxes in America are among the highest in the world. Japan now is over taxed, too. Countries like Ireland make it easy to do business, an Ireland construction company now owns Staker Construction," said Hinkins.
Bill Dew is running for congress. He is the republican candidate for the seat now held by Jim Matheson. He said he answered the phone the other day and a pollster asked him if the election was held today who would he vote for in the third congressional district, Bill Dew or Jim Matheson. He said he would vote for Bill Dew. The pollster then asked him if he was sure he would vote for Bill Dew and Dew said yes, very sure. At the end of the message it said it was paid for by the Jim Matheson campaign.
The audience got a chuckle out of this story. Dew said the huge gas prices are hurting families. America needs to drill in ANWR which is the largest oil field in North America. "We need to drill off the coast of Florida. We need to develop oil shale and tar sands. The tax cuts are going to expire in 2010 and Congress refuses to make these tax cuts permanent. I've talked to people who are scared that if a democratic administration takes over in January that they will lose their rights to use public lands. We need secure borders. We need to streamline immigration," said Dew.
Janeal Dugmore is running for school board for Ferron. She started her introduction with a little school humor, she said on a school test a student was asked what the four seasons were and they answered; salt, pepper, catsup and mustard. She said she wants to be involved and be part of the process for change and decision making. Our children are our greatest resource. Children need a good education so they can get good jobs. She would like to set a new vision to help children in their education. She feels the school board sets the climate and vision for the district. She has a business degree from Utah State and has three sons. She helps with the operation of her family business Dugmore Heating and Appliance in Ferron.
Drew Sitterud, incumbent republican candidate for county commissioner said he is here for the people of Emery County. He thought someone had put up a lot of political campaign signs for him, but then he looked closer and they said Dew not Drew. Sitterud said he grew up in Orangeville. He had great parents. "There's not a prettier place than Emery County," said Sitterud. He said he's had some trouble and if anyone wants to discuss that or ask him questions he will be glad to talk to anyone about it; his cell number is 749-1959 and home-384-3287.
He said he is a member of the CIB board which has never had a member from Emery County before. Bevan Wilson is on the board, but in conjunction with his UDOT position. CIB funds have helped with the events center, fire departments and the new pool. As a member of the CIB he can help pull that money to Emery County.
Laurel Johansen is the incumbent candidate for school board from Castle Dale/part of Huntington, Lawrence. She said children are important and it's important to keep kids competitive. The school district has faced a lot of problems with declining enrollment and they have worked hard to keep class size down on average Emery County classrooms have 22 students and upstate it is into the 30s. A new math program has been introduced, computer replacement is on a five year rotation to keep technology current. She talked of the concurrent enrollment classes that save students money as they receive college credit free of charge. Johansen said Emery County schools have remained strong and she appreciates the support she has received.
Austin Johnson is the current auditor for the state of Utah. He is the republican candidate for re-election. He has served in this position since 1995 and he oversees that money is spent the way it is supposed to be spent. He has worked hard to modernize his office and a lot of the audits are now done electronically. He has taken back a lot of the audits from private business. He audits, colleges, cities, towns and helps towns with the budget processes to assure everything is done properly. All audits are on the website for anyone to see the work done in the auditor's office. He trains government officials and CPAs so they know what their jobs are. Johnson has 30 years experience as a CPA. He is excited to be the auditor again with the continued support of voters. He came to the Meet the Candidate night to get out in the community to get to know the people a little better. He said no one pays much attention to the auditor. If he is in the news it's usually bad news.
Mike McCandless is the challenger for the school board seat currently held by Laurel Johansen. He said he believes you don't have the right to complain about something unless you are prepared to do something about it. He has lived in Huntington most of his life. The main reason he is running for school board is because of his five children. He is involved with the school system every day. He was raised by a teacher and his father taught for 31 years. McCandless currently serves on many boards throughout the state including the Applied Technology and the North Emery Water Users. He is the Emery County Economic Development director. He served as a legislative lobby and just this past year helped passed two bills of a benefit to rural Utah. He believes there should be more accountability in the school district and repercussions for bad decisions. "We have a great school district," said McCandless.
Sam Singleton is the incumbent school board member from Ferron. He has a desire to continue to serve on the school board. He looked at the audience and saw many of his former students, He said he was a teacher for 41 years. During his time with the school board they have been able to accomplish many things. They have worked with the county on the swimming pool and donated the land where it is being built. They also donated the land where the children's justice center is being built. "We have a quality education system and I am happy to work with the classified and certified personnel," said Singleton.
Rue Ware is the incumbent in the school board race for Orangeville. He came to Orangeville when he was 3 years old and has a long history in the county. He is a graduate of Utah State University and the Emery County School system. He trained in the Air Force and was offered a job teaching at the school he attended, but he told them no he wanted to go home, so he returned to Emery County. He taught in the Emery district for many years as a shop, math and Utah history teacher. He taught 2,100 people to drive as a drivers education instructor.
Laurie Pitchforth is the democratic candidate for the county commission seat currently held by Drew Sitterud. She is originally from Kamas and moved with her family to Delta where they operated a restaurant. In Delta, she met her husband Shane Pitchforth who worked for Utah Power. His work brought the family to Emery County. Pitchforth has been active in community service over the 23 years they have been in the county. They have helped with Peach Days, youth soccer, PTA and she was a Ferron city council member for several years. The past seven years she has been the director for the RSVP program and the foster grandparent program. These programs have been rejuvenated and now serve as a large volunteer base. "I believe in community service and believe I have a great deal to offer the county," said Pitchforth.
Brad King is the democratic candidate for the state senate position open due to the retirement of Sen. Mike Dmitrich. He has been a member of the House of Representatives for 12 years. Public education is very important to him as is transportation. King said he has enjoyed serving the people of Carbon and Emery counties and hopes to continue to do so. His parents are from Emery County and he was raised in Carbon County. He holds a bachelors and masters degree and is a professor at CEU.
Editors note: Due to space constraints in this issue of the Emery County Progress, the second part of the Meet the Candidates story with the profiles and questions the candidates answered will appear in the Oct. 7 issue of the Emery County Progress.