I have been involved in politics at the city council level as well as a county commissioner for the past eight years. Early in my career I ran the county recreation program in Monticello. I took care of the ball park along with Frank Young. We put lights on the little league field and established a new ball field near the swimming pool. I also organized a fast pitch softball league and started the Monticello fast pitch tournament during the 24th celebration. This tournament has lasted for the past 30 years.
I have also been involved in the Junior Livestock program for 30 years serving as vice president and then president during the construction period of the barn facility which is still in use.
I love San Juan County and have tried to be involved in the community as much as I could.
Experience. My experience in the political arena has been extensive. I realized early as a county commissioner, that in order to help the people of San Juan County, I needed to be involved in the state and national organizations. I have been able to get appointed by the Governor, to several key positions.
I have been a member of the permanent community impact board. This board has the responsibility of administering oil, gas and other mineral royalty money’s that come to the state of Utah. Only six of the 80 county commissioners receive at large appointments to this board. I feel very lucky to be one of these six commissioners. San Juan County has received over $30 million in loans and grants during the period I have served on this board.
I am also vice chair of the state joint highway committee. We prioritize highway and road projects along with UDOT representatives for Utah.
I also serve as the Utah Association of Counties Public Lands chair. All county commissioners attend and discuss statewide public lands issues at the meetings. We develop statewide strategies and share information. I was selected to be a member of the Governor’s Client Committee to help advise the governors office on legal matters concerning roads in counties. I meet with the Governor regularly to advise him on rural county issues.
At the national level, I have served for seven years on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Subcommittee. This year I was selected to serve on the public lands subcommittee. The national organization meets twice a year to develop legislative resolutions that the national organization will lobby Congress in behalf of 3,300 counties in America.
These two subcommittees have been very informative, and I have been lucky enough to have some resolutions pass and be presented to Congress for consideration. I was also selected to serve on the Rural Action Caucus and invited at NACO’s expense to fly to Washington, DC this past spring. I enjoy working with county commissioners from all over the USA.
Philosophy. I believe that I work for the people of San Juan County. Therefore, I am on the side of the people. I am not in favor of bigger government or growing the government. I want to protect the people from big government.
For the past four years, the county commission has had a hiring freeze on new employees. This simply means we do not intend to grow our workforce any bigger than we had four years ago when we made a decision to put a freeze on new positions in the county.
We determined that we just could not afford new positions and we wanted to treat our employees with respect. We ask each employee to produce a little more in the workplace and the commissioners developed a philosophy to retain employees not retrain employees. We try to offer competitive wages to keep our employees in place and not let another employer steal them away from the county.
I believe that partnerships with other agencies will benefit the county in dollars saved. When the citizens of La Sal asked the commission for a senior center, we went to our partners for help. The center had a price tag of about $250,000. With help from USDA and the CIB, the county invested $40,000 of our dollars, USDA invested $110,000 , and CIB $100,000. Best of all, a local contractor, Tri-Hurst Construction, won the bid to build the center.
Another project involving partnerships is the $9 million Lisbon Valley Road project. The county’s share on this project was about $500,000 with our partners providing the rest of the funds. It is simple, use one dollar from the county funds to become 5 or 10 dollars in the final project.
Relationships with other officials is of great importance to San Juan County. I believe in attending all possible meetings with other agencies. If you don’t show up to the meetings, you don’t have any input or influence in the final decisions. I show up to state, national and tribal chapter meetings.
I am a strong advocate for the citizens of San Juan County. I try to represent their views and speak in behalf of them. I support all of the citizens in San Juan County, not just the interest of my district. I believe that we are all “county” commissioners.