San Juan County Republicans gathered at a private catered dinner at the Lamplight Restaurant in Monticello on Thursday night (March 26). The event was the annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
Keynote speaker was Senator David Hinkins of Orangeville, who now represents Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties in the Utah State Legislature.
Hinkins is the first Republican Senator to represent Southeastern Utah in many years.
Hinkins came across to those assembled as one who cares deeply about what is happening in America and in Utah. He said, “I really didn’t need this job. I already have too many irons in the fire, but I am concerned about where we are going as a state and a nation, and I felt I needed to do something.”
He had never run for public office before and seemed a little surprised that he beat his good friend, Brad King of Price.
Hinkins is a fifth generation Emery County resident. His ancestors came from Wales to work in the coal mines. His large extended family and that of his wife mostly still live in Emery and Carbon counties and work in the coal industry.
Hinkins is an electrician whose company specializes in repairing and maintaining large electric motors. The company he founded when he was 22 years old now employs 32 people and is an integral component of the energy industry in the Carbon-Emery area. Hinkins is also a cattle rancher, and has many other interests.
The Senator sponsored five bills in the just completed Utah Legislature. Four bills were passed and signed into law. Despite that remarkable performance for a rookie, he said the bill he didn’t get through was the one dealing with the San Juan County jail expansion. He expressed his regret.
Commission Bruce Adams spoke up and assured him that the county would be back next year to try again to get the necessary funding. County Commissioners Adams and Lynn Stevens had worked closely with Hinkins during the legislative session and thanked him for the work he had done for the San Juan County area.
One of the four bills Hinkins shepherded though to the legislature cleared the way (from the State’s perspective) for the massive $12.5 billion nuclear power plant project planned for the Green River area. There are still hurdles to clear before construction begins. However, if everything falls into place, the project could employ 3,000 during construction, and have 900 permanent employees for the 70 year life of the project. In today’s dollars, the project would generate $156 million in property tax revenue annually for Emery County.