I have spent most of my life in San Juan County. After obtaining an Elementary Education degree, I returned home to teach. I retired from teaching in 2000 and expanded my cattle operation with my father. In 2004, I was elected San Juan County Commissioner. I have enjoyed serving the county since then.
As commissioner, I soon realized that building relationships with stakeholders, such as state and federal officials, is critical to help the county. It takes time to build important relationships. I have learned that in politics, who you know is often more important than what you know.
To maximize my value, I am heavily involved with organizations that work with the county. I have served in numerous positions on the Community Impact Board (CIB), Utah and National Association of Counties, State Joint Highways Committee, USACCC, and Chairman of the Bears Ears Advisory Committee. Ten years on the CIB has returned tens of millions of dollars in grants to the county.
I have been dedicated, reliable, and hardworking as commissioner. My ability to build the right relationships benefits the county. I plan to continue this dedicated work. These valuable committee positions do not come simply by becoming a commissioner, they come by building relationships with key leaders. I ask that you allow me to continue to represent this great county and its fantastic people.
I believe the greatest danger to our county is the influence of extreme environmentalism. We are under attack and it sometimes feels like a war. When the environmental assault on our county started years ago, the three commissioners unanimously decided to fight back to protect citizen rights. We soon realized this fight would be expensive, but we must try to win.
We defended citizens’ private property rights, voting rights, access to public lands, reduction of a massive monument, RS-2477 road claims, and claims against racism.
One of our biggest victories was the reduction of Bears Ears National Monument. We hosted Congressional and administration leaders, as well as the governor and legislators. Because of their visit, Secretary Zinke recommended a reduction of the monument to President Trump. This effort was a county-wide collaboration. Thank you to everyone who helped. We were thrilled to meet the President and attend the signing ceremony at the State Capitol.
Another victory was proving the RS-2477 claim in Recapture Canyon. This was very expensive but worth the money. Phil Lyman was a champion in this effort. Just this month, I helped secure $180,000 from the Utah Constitutional Defense Fund to reimburse the county for these legal expenses.
Moving forward, we face new financial realities brought about by the coronavirus.
We have hundreds of unemployed residents and need to get them back to work. The state has promised to help with economic development, but thus far, the online initiative has been the sole source of help. We need more than empty promises. Real jobs need to be created before the state has met their promise.
Recently, businesses that show a desire to locate here receive less than open arms from extreme environmentalists. They are basically told your business is not welcome. We must not let this continue. New businesses bring jobs and taxes. Everyone likes services, but it takes tax money to ensure services are provided.
I value every San Juan County employee, including the Sheriff and Road departments. I do not intend to fire anyone or eliminate positions except through attrition.
We have always been an extractive county. Extraction runs in cycles and if we don’t give up, it will return. I applaud the White Mesa Mill. I support mineral exploration but realize that environmental extremists work to eliminate exploration here.
The BLM assigned a master leasing designation to a mineral rich area in northern San Juan County. It is harmful to an area that has not only oil and gas, but huge reserves of potash.
We have experienced a negative impact to county income, not to mention the loss of high paying jobs. I will continue to work to get this designation reversed. I believe we have an excellent chance. Extraction has always been our life blood and we must fight back against extremism.
I am running again for county commissioner because over the past 15 years, I have been able to build real relationships with other county, state, and federal leaders. The vast amount of experience I have gained can only be made over time and by building partnerships.
The county is in a tough position. I want to help us return to the place we have been in the past. I want to do this job and help the citizens of San Juan County. We are pioneers and have been through hard times before. I love this county, this state, and this country. God bless you all.