Non-party candidate throws a twist into Commission race
Mar 21, 2012 | 2271 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The announcement of an unaffiliated candidate for the San Juan County Commission has thrown an unexpected twist into the local political scene.

Three candidates filed for the Commission seat now held by Republican Bruce Adams, including Adams, Democrat Willie Grayeyes, and Gail Johnson, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate.

The names of all three candidates will appear on the November 6 ballot, with the winner serving a four-year term as County Commissioner.

Bruce Adams seeks his third term as Commissioner. The retired teacher and cattleman served as commission chairman for the past six years.

Adams said that over the past eight years, he has a strong track record of partnering with local, state and federal government to help the area. A member of the Community Impact Board, Adams said he has helped bring $23 million in CIB funds for projects in the county since 2007.

Adams has helped bring law enforcement coverage in Spanish Valley, a senior center in La Sal, swimming pool and hospital projects in Monticello, fire stations in Mexican Hat and Monument Valley, and road and water projects across the San Juan County portion of the Navajo Nation.

He is a leader in the Utah and National Association of Counties.

Willie Grayeyes, from Piute Mesa near Navajo Mountain, served for 16 years as a member of the Navajo Nation Council and in many positions at Navajo Mountain, including Chapter President.

Grayeyes worked as a grant writer for Navajo Nation Chapters and serves on several local, tribal and national boards.

Grayeyes said he is running because the needs of communities have not been adequately addressed, including roads, economic development, and soil and water conservation.

Grayeyes said “communities need plans that are viable.” He adds off-reservation people are equally entitled to these services.

Gail Johnson served for eight years as San Juan County Clerk, from 1983 to 1991. She is a native of Monticello and ranches with her husband and son in the White Canyon area.

Johnson filed her candidacy with a petition that includes more than 200 voters in the district. She previously served in elected office as a Republican but chose to run in this election outside of party affiliation.

“I am pleased to be running as Unaffiliated,” she said, “to allow voters in this district, regardless of party affiliation, an opportunity to choose their county commissioner.”

Johnson is concerned about overspending in the county, transparent government, and multiple use of public lands.

Republican officials expressed concern about an unaffiliated candidacy. “You have to look long and hard to find unaffiliated candidates that win general elections,” said Al Clarke, Chair of the San Juan County Republican Party, “but the unaffiliated candidacies can do a world of harm to the causes that they espouse.”

Five candidates filed for three open positions on the San Juan School Board.

Incumbent Merri Shumway will be challenged by Kari Bake. Incumbent Debbie Christiansen will be challenged by Cody Nielson. Incumbent Bill Boyle will not have a challenger in November.

Hundreds of area residents attended political caucuses in the past week to select county and state party representatives.

A number of state and federal offices that will have contested elections.

A total of 16 candidates, including ten Republicans and two Democrats, have filed for the US Senate, including incumbent Republican Orrin Hatch.

Three Republicans and two Democrats have filed for the local seat in the US House of Representatives, including incumbent Republican Jason Chaffetz.

Ten candidates, including six Republicans and one Democrat, have filed for the Utah Governor position currently held by Gary Herbert.

Three Republicans and one Democrat filed for the State Senate position held by David Hinkins.
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