Washington City Candidates Discuss Job Growth


UPDATED Aug. 12, 2011, 1 p.m.

WASHINGTON CITY – As part of our commitment to keep the community informed, St. George News has contacted, to the best of our ability, each person running for Washington City Council. The following, in no particular order, are your candidates for Washington City. Candidates who would like to be interviewed, for a future story throughout all of Washington County, may email Editor-in-Chief Jen Watkins at [email protected].

A “Meet the Candidates” has been scheduled for Aug. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Washington City Community Center. Residents are encouraged to submit questions prior to the event to [email protected] or by phone, 435-669-3381.

Washington City Utah electionsKress Staheli

I grew up in Washington City where I learned what it means to be part of a community. I’ve served in the Army National Guard and obtained an Accounting Degree from Southern Utah University. I’ve built a successful insurance business and currently serve on the planning commission. I support low taxes, disciplined budgets, property rights, proper planning, and a downtown that feels like home. I’m ready to be a voice for the citizens of Washington City.

How do you propose building a sustainable local job base with adequate paying jobs for locals?

The private sector creates jobs. Washington City can facilitate new industry and job growth by creating a desirable environment for businesses and marketing what we have to offer. An example of where we have an opportunity to create this environment is by proper planning and zoning of land in our city near the new regional airport and southern corridor. Washington City will have great access to the airport with the widening and extension of Washington Fields Road. We could also provide tax or building permit incentives for new companies. The key is to sell potential businesses on what we have to offer.

Ben Martinsen

Ben Martinsen and his wife, Jennifer, have lived in Washington City for more than seven years. They are the proud parents of three children. Martinsen is an active volunteer in the community and contributes his time and effort to a variety of community, church, and family. Martinsen holds a master’s in business administration from Southern Utah University and has owned, operated and sold several businesses.

Martinsen is passionate about Washington City and where the city can go with the proper direction and leadership and he knows how to offer such things.

How do you propose building a sustainable local job base with adequate paying jobs for locals?

Job creation is vital to a strong economy and there is opportunity in Washington City for this. The city needs to maintain the jobs that it currently has by not over-taxing existing businesses. The city also needs to allow for an environment that will stimulate business growth for existing and future businesses.

I would work closely with the Washington County Economic Development Council and other organizations that allow for these two key items to happen. There will also need to be a diversification of businesses that are brought into the city through tiered tax incentive programs.

Washington City Utah electionsDaniel Drown

Daniel Drown was born and raised in Sandy, Utah. He married his wife, Chantel, in 1999 and has four children. Dan moved to Utah’s Dixie in 2006, and chose Washington City as the place to live, work and play. Since his arrival in Washington City, he has helped resurrect the Washington City Chamber of Commerce, on which he now serves as current president.  Drown also coaches and is director of operations for Washington Little League.

How do you propose building a sustainable local job base with adequate paying jobs for locals?

I will use my skills as a successful businessman in Washington City to ensure that every great business, small or large, feels wanted in our city. I have already started by supporting the existing businesses through the Chamber of Commerce. I will create a permit packet for small businesses that makes the process simpler so they can focus on making their business grow and hiring more people. Engaging larger businesses and offering the right incentives for making Washington City home is another goal of mine. I bring new ideas and am part of the positive solution for business.

Washington City Utah electionsJeff Turek

Jeff Turek grew up in Washington City, and has lived most of his life in this community. He and his family reside in the Washington Fields. Turek is currently employed as the operations manager for Scholzen Products Company. He has served on the Washington City Council since November 2006. Jeff’s strongest qualification for this position is his love for the community, and his desire to improve the quality of life for each resident.

How do you propose building a sustainable local job base with adequate paying jobs for locals?

With the widening of Telegraph Road and the loss of several downtown businesses, we need to focus on the rebuilding of our downtown. We have to get rid of the unfinished building on Telegraph Road and revitalize that area. We need to continue developing relationships with businesses, site selectors, and developers.  Commercial opportunities surrounding Exit 13 must be promoted.  I will be prudent in planning and developing the future business park and commercial centers adjacent to the airport and along the southern corridor.  As these areas develop, many jobs will be provided, and the city’s low property tax rate will be maintained.

Washington City Utah electionsRon Mayfield

Ron Mayfield, married 39 years, has four children. Community involvement includes coaching sports teams, church activities and working with various city committees. He is a retired fire battalion chief 30-plus years, currently a college instructor, consultant and licensed realtor. Mayfield holds a bachelor’s degree in business / management and many professional certificates. He has many years of experience working with cities in all areas. Mayfield said he is committed to using his experience and listening to wants, needs and desires of the citizens.

“Preserve Tradition, Plan for the future,” he said.

How do you propose building a sustainable local job base with adequate paying jobs for locals?

Assist local businesses, such as commercial, industrial, service professionals, etc. with technical education, tax breaks, decreased operating costs, city assistance and incentive programs.  Partner with the local college and communities. Design and maintain a city plan for growth to include specific areas for specific businesses to locate and operate.  Actively seek new businesses and industries.  Use technology and personal discussions to entice and attract businesses to our community.  Find businesses that enhance our community and can operate anywhere like technology based businesses/industries.  Become a friendly city to work with, offer incentives and assistance to bring and keep them here.

Washington City Utah electionsRon Truman

I was born in St. George.  I’m happily married and blessed with six children.  I have a bachelor’s degree in business management, with a finance concentration.  In 1988, I received my law degree from Brigham Young University, graduating at the top of my class and was the lead articles editor for BYU’s law review.  I’m an “AV” rated attorney with the law firm of Dixon, Truman & Fisher and was awarded the 2009 Mountain States Super Lawyers award.

How do you propose building a sustainable local job base with adequate paying jobs for locals?

Building a sustainable local job base with jobs for locals requires that we, in the short run: (i) create a business friendly environment; (ii) encourage businesses to locate to our area by offering discounted land, tax incentives, if necessary, and an educated and competitive labor force; and (iii) buy from and use the services of our local businesses, including contractors and suppliers.  Over time, we must discover what is truly great about our community and then market that in a manner that makes people want to live, raise a family and work here. “If you build it [they] will come.”

Justin Holbrook

Justin Holbrook provides his background in bullet point:

• Born and raised in Burley, Idaho;
• Graduated from burley high school, 1988;
• College internship farm management company Washington, Utah, 1995;
• Attended Utah State University, Logan, graduating with a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture, 1996;
• Married to Angie Holbrook and together have four children;
• General manager of 2000-acre corporate farm in Parowan UT, 1996-2005;
• General contractor, built 4 custom homes in Washington City, 2005-2008; and
• Currently vice president of business development at Holbrook Asphalt Co.

How do you propose building a sustainable local job base with adequate paying jobs for locals?

With the renovation of Telegraph Road nearly complete, and the newly opened airport, we have a great opportunity to capitalize on the marketing of Washington City. In the business world today, with all of the communication and technological advances, it makes it possible for companies to be able to operate from virtually anywhere. This allows us to go out and court many different types of businesses to our area. We need to make the climate in our city friendly to business. We also need to make changes in ordinances that would allow local companies to be given preference over out-of-state companies on large construction and development projects.

Responses not received from Jean Arbuckle, Dennis Gibson and Micheal Heaton.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.

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