City Council Candidates Discuss Improvements Needed in St. George


ST. GEORGE – As part of our commitment to keep the community informed, St. George News has contacted, to our best ability, each person running for City Council. The following, in no particular order, are your candidates for St. George. 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].

st. george city council electionsGloria Shakespeare

Gloria Hurst Shakespeare was born in Panguitch, Utah, to John and Beth Hurst. In 1957, her parents moved their store, Hurst Variety, to St. George. She has four siblings: Ross, Kathy (Isom), Buck (Gloria’s twin) and Bruce.

Gloria graduated from Dixie High and Dixie College.  In 1968, she married Tom Shakespeare. They are the parents of 9 children. Because of her love for St. George, Gloria has been passionately involved with City issues for nearly 20 years.

Where do you believe St. George needs the greatest improvement and how?

An area which needs improvement within our city is better property management for our rental properties.  Poor property management opens the door for illegal activity, inside and out of the rental unit, resulting in safety issues for neighborhoods and the community as a whole.

The “Good Landlord Program” is a program I have worked and advocated to bring to the City of St. George. It is set to address illegal immigration, criminal activity and property care. It is financially incentive-based.  It trains and educates property managers in many areas, including: Tenant Screening and Tenant Selection. Good Landlords make Good Neighbors.

Matt Mortenson

I am a Utah native and fell for Southern Utah while attending SUU in Cedar City.  Opportunity would take me from this area to Phoenix for eight years where I became a real estate appraiser and agent.  Now, my wife and I have returned to the place that was always our goal for settling and raising a family.  I run my own appraisal practice and work as an agent for Equity Real Estate.

Where do you believe St. George needs the greatest improvement and how?

I want to make a good city, a great city.  I see multiple areas were we could help the city grow and create jobs.  The main thing that needs focus is job creation. In order to do that, we need to make concerted efforts to bring in employers from outside the area.  We can compete with other cities in the state and beyond to attract companies to our city.  This is St. George and any employer would love to bring their company here with all of our positives, we just have to let them know about us.

st. george city council electionsJ. Bryan Dial

J.Bryan Dial was raised and educated in Southern Utah. Bryan graduated from Dixie College and received his Master of Public Administration degree from SUU. Bryan was the City Manager of Enoch, UT, so he knows what it takes to make a city run. Bryan’s uncompromising integrity gives him the ability to stand up to special interests and the political system. Bryan is married to Danalee, and the proud father of Roman and Portia.

Where do you believe St. George needs the greatest improvement and how?

I get it; we need to be able to do more with less. Jobs are the real thing we need in St. George. Jobs that can support a family and make St. George the place to live, work, and play. Right now the best thing government can do is get out of the way and let the community decide what business they want and actually let the free-market work.

To improve the area all we need to do is unleash the natural hard-working and creative potential of the people of St. George. It’s time to get to work. No excuses!

st. george city council electionsSam Laub

Born and educated in Dixie
Served a LDS mission to Ireland
Married to Bernie Brady in 1992- Father of 4 children
Employed by City of St. George 18 years- Water Services
Ran for St. George City Council 1999- came in 4th with 3 seats open
Graduate Leadership Dixie Program- class of 2001
Member of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife- Dixie Chapter
Member of Utah Public Employees Association since 1999
Involved in local independent film

Where do you believe St. George needs the greatest improvement and how?

The current recession has been hard on our local economy. Every citizen of St. George has been affected in one way or another. It is very clear diversification of our local economy needs to be one of the top priorities.

Although service industries, development and construction are vital and have their place, we can handle future downturns better by making a transition to light manufacturing and technology. Every effort needs to be made to attract and keep quality companies who provide career positions with upward movement.

Tara Dunn

Community service has always been a passion of mine, which I have continued since moving to St. George with my husband and three children. I serve on the Friends of TLC Board; the Tri-State HIV Taskforce Board; and the Washington County School District’s Parent Advisory Council, in addition to volunteering in my children’s classrooms. I have extensive real estate and business experience, as a Realtor, managing our rental properties, and having owned a downtown business.

Where do you believe St. George needs the greatest improvement and how?

St. George’s strongest asset is her people and the greatest improvement needed is the empowerment of the people. Advocacy-not silence, freedom-not repression, diversity-not uniformity will pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.

The City must encourage innovation and jobs with a business-friendly climate, and empower citizens with people-friendly policies to allow our great city to grow into a community that works for the collective all-not the selective few. Local government should be “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” not against the people.

As we look towards the future, we must put the people first.

DR Wall

I have been a St. George resident since 1984. I have 5 children and have been working as a commercial pilot for the past 8 years. I have always wanted to become politically active; after years of seeing problems, shortcomings, and inconsistencies within the government, I wanted to make a difference. I feel a common sense approach and actually being a public servant is how I can make a difference.

Where do you believe St. George needs the greatest improvement and how?

First and foremost, I would create avenues for communication between our city leaders and the community. I’ve seen where dozens of decisions made by our city government have created discord in the community simply because there was no communication shared in which such decisions were based on.

This lack of communication sets up suspicion, distrust and quite frankly, distastes for our government officials. Also, such communication would help create checks and balances, helping keep city officials working towards common goals, as opposed to self-serving or individual interests.

Responses not received from Gil Almquist, Jon Pike, James Joseph Atkin, Ed Baca or Jimmie Hughes.

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  • Henry August 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Well two of the incumbents didn’t have anything to say, I wonder why?
    If only they would give up and realize that most of us don’t want them

  • Dorothy Engelman August 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks to the St. George News for providing another avenue to learn more about the candidates; it is curious that not all the candidates took the opportunity to respond…No response definitely sends a message!

  • Peter September 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

    The lack of participation is no big surprise. Either they really have nothing to contribute, or they are afraid to be questioned by the media. I surfed around a lot and can find nothing on the candidates. Sorry state of affairs…………………………

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