Emery County Republican Candidates for Commissioner Debate Issues

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By Julie Johansen

The Emery County Republican Pre-Convention Debate was an opportunity for the three candidates running for county commissioner to introduce themselves and state their feelings about the office. This was accomplished through the candidates answering six questions presented to them. The crowd was welcomed by County Republican Chair Jesse Sloan and the question moderators were Virginia Sloan and Riata Cummings, while the time keeper was Doug Stilson. Each candidate was given a two-minute time period to answer the six questions and to summarize at the end of the questioning.

The candidates David Sebring, Travis Bacon and Dennis Worwood took turns answering. The first question was “What are your ideas to make Emery County better?”

Sebring stated that he was the President of Genco Mining and realized that it takes growth from within. He wants to promote local business expansion, decrease tax burdens and bring new businesses here. He also emphasized economic diversity and bringing unity back to the county, “Moving forward together”.

Bacon is in the motel business in Green River and said that Green River has agriculture and tourism. He feels that economic development is needed in Emery County. He added that there is a need to diversify the economy with industry and manufacturing. Bacon stated that our children are our greatest export and we need to try to stop that. He would also like to maintain the heritage and culture, the reason we live here, rural and private.

Worwood announced that he had lived in Emery County since 1982 and he agreed with the two other candidates. He has had five of his six sons who have been able to return to find employment and live here, making life much better for he and his wife Sherri. He hopes to find jobs to sustain families and come back to here to live. Worwood hopes to expand the quality of life here through economic expansion.

When asked, “With the exception of coal mines and power plants how can we expand economics,” all three candidates agreed that an Economic Development Director was important for the county, but it needed to be a full time qualified person who according to Worwood “would expand the amenities we have that other counties don’t have.” Sebring added it is difficult to run a business with the current tax burdens, but we have land, water and energy that should be bring industry such as data centers, distribution and coal centers.

Bacon felt that Emery County is a “Mecca” and, as outdoors brought the Silicone Slope to Utah, it can bring businesses here also. Another question for all three of them was “What will you do to lessen the tax burden placed on Emery County residents last year?”

Sebring noted his concern for citizens and employees and felt that county expenses should be reduced wherever possible. He questioned county vehicles for officials to drive.

Bacon suggested taking a hard look at the county budget without drastically cutting critical services. New businesses could diminish taxes for citizens. He also suggested addressing and compromising appraisals of personal property. More centrally assessed businesses would also help.

Worwood gave an example of the drought of 1990 and that Ferron City Council held a citizen meeting, asking citizens to conserve culinary and not use water for yards. Within hours the water use dropped 50%. He felt that department heads and commissioners could cut funding, but he recognized that we have unique challenges as we are so spread out water treatment plants, libraries, cemeteries, or senior centers.

Three other questions were asked and there seemed to be much of a consensus in most of the answers. All felt that it is important to keep power plants producing and sending out power as long as possible. Looking at methods such as carbon capture, more efficient combustion, extracting minerals and gasification were some suggestions.

Probably the most pressing question was the last one, which queried about the ability to work with fellow commissioners.

Sebring felt that it is okay to disagree, though there is a need to focus on everyone’s good qualities, smile and work out differences behind the scene.

Bacon wants respectful open communication. Discord can be healthy, but all three commissioners need to be in office for the right reason and truly listen to each other, business leaders and city councils. An open door policy- “A good idea is a good idea no matter where it comes from,” Worwood said, everyone should express their ideas while working to find a common ground. Public input could be used to understand and guide the commission.

Following the question, each candidate was given two minutes for closing comments and summary.

Travis Bacon thanked everyone for attending and being involved. He wants to make Emery County a better place to live and play. Service would be the honor of his life. He asked for their support and vote. He closed with “Everything is better with Bacon.”

David Sebring felt that this was his time for him to run for commissioner. He looks forward to reducing the tax burden. He has built Genco in a way that many felt couldn’t be done in Emery County. Sebring is looking forward to tough decisions that need to be made.

Dennis Worwood thanked everyone for the opportunity to run for this position. He enjoys helping people and has partnered with various agencies, such as the Forest Service, NRCS and the Soil Conservation Service. Worwood has connections with entities that will be crucial in the coming years. He feels that there are amazing people here and has the ability to work with them. He closed with expressing his appreciation for everyone’s support.

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