Politically experienced Vickers faces professionally experienced Chesnut in run for Utah Senate District 28

WASHINGTON CITY – The Utah Senate District 28 election race presents two candidates, Republican Evan Vickers, and Democrat Geoffrey Chesnut.

Senate District 28 candidate Evan Vickers, Cedar City, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of the Committee to Elect Evan Vickers

Evan Vickers

Vickers is currently the state representative for Utah House District 72, having served a single term thus far. He now seeks to represent the people of Utah’s state Senate District 28.

Outside of politics Vickers is a businessman and a pharmacist, he currently owns and operates Bulloch Drug and Township Pharmacy in Cedar City. Vickers received his pharmacy degree from the University of Utah, and is a 32-year resident of Cedar City.

Vickers has served in many positions within various organizations throughout the years, such as the Cedar City Council, the Cedar City Water Board, Utah Pharmacist Association Board of Directors, Iron and Beaver County school boards, and many others. In the state House, he currently serves as the vice-chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Facets of Vickers campaign include education, energy, immigration, and state rights.

For more information and a full range on the issues Vickers is campaigning on, visit his website.

Question: What last minute appeal would you make to the voters of District 28, the single reason they should vote for you?

Answer: Vickers said he has a strong affinity for the whole of District 28. “My appeal is to the strong affinity I have to this district, I grew up in Beaver, I’ve been in Iron County since 1980, with business and family,” he said. Through his service in Utah’s House of Representatives, Vickers said he has spent a lot of time in Washington County with his legislative colleagues.

“I’m very well connected to all the elected officials throughout the district.”

Question: If elected, you’ll be moving from the House to the Senate – what differences do you envision, what will a senate seat afford you that the House did not?

Answer: Well I guess No. 1 is that it is a game of numbers, you’re one of 29 instead of 1 of 75 – there are subtle differences in the way that business is conducted – until I experience it firsthand I won’t know for sure, but you have the potential to get things done more quickly than in the house.

The primary main thing that’s going on as you move from one body to the other is it’s an opportunity to position myself to better serve the constituents.

I’m not a lifelong politician. I don’t plan to be there forever.

One thing I’ve tried to do in the past 4 years, is to develop a relationship in both (legislative bodies) – leadership – you’re not starting from ground zero.

Don Epson is running for Assistant whip down here from Southern Utah, that’s one race; I hope he’ll get in. We need that leadership from Southern Utah.

Question: When many people think of Evan Vickers, they think of Iron County. But District 28 extends to citizens of LaVerkin, Hurricane and even Washington City. What is your appeal and purpose for those cities?

Answer: Vickers said that obviously this is the newer part of the district for him, the part he doesn’t have as much experience in. But he said he has been working on Washington County issues for the past four years.

“I’m very well connected with the mayors, the county commissioners, I think the people can rest assured I’ll represent their interests.”

In particular, Vickers said the Applied Technology building in Cedar is nearly off the docket, freeing us up to look at Dixie. He said that getting Dixie State College university status is a priority.

Another ongoing concern is funding for water, Vickers said, acknowledging that Iron County is pretty much out of the Lake Powell Pipeline project but Washington County is very much involved in it.

Farther north, Vickers said he wants to get an open corridor from Beryl to Milford to allow farmers to have a better cash crop harvest. He said that most of 28 is still a pretty rural district, there are a lot of interests from Farm Bureau and Farm Act – even in Washington county there are still a number of producers we need to take care of, he said – to make sure their interests are still viable.

Senate District 28 candidate Geoffrey L. Chesnut, Enoch, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of the Geoffrey L. Chesnut Campaign

Geoffrey L. Chesnut

Chesnut is a lawyer focusing on bankruptcy and reorganization and has established a practice in both Cedar City and St. George. He graduated from Southern Utah University and received his law degree from Arizona State University.

After graduating from SUU, Chesnut worked with the State of Utah as a case manager for the Department of Services for People with Disabilities. While attending ASU, he clerked for Superior Court Justice Sally Duncan.

Chesnut and his family relocated to Southern Utah upon his graduation from law school.

On his website, Chesnut said he sees the “effects of medical catastrophe, unemployment, business failure, lack of education and poor decisions,” and the impact these can have on society as a whole.

“We need strong voices in the state legislature, dedicated to the issues important to southern Utah,” he said. “Not just more votes for the power bloc in northern Utah.  Our concerns are unique.”

Issues Chesnut campaigns on include economic development, education, family values, and the role of government.

Question: What last minute appeal would you make to the voters of District 28, the single reason they should vote for you?

Answer: “I think that the best reason to vote for me,” Chesnut said, “is that I am qualified due to my professional experience as an attorney to review the budget as a legislator, that allows me to find the hard questions that need to be asked.”

Chesnut said that in his profession, he handles reorganizations, bankruptcies, budgets – not just for businesses but families – he helps those who have poor habits and aren’t fiscally responsible. Because of that, he said he is able to address the tough questions they need to face.

“I’m not beholden to the governor,” Chesnut said. “my opponent has been endorsed by Gov. Herbert and I think there are some problems in the legislature.”

Chesnut said that working together with and a partnership with the executive doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to things that need to be challenged. For example, he said, “settlements – the $13 million payoff with UDOT to avoid litigation; the issues regarding the breach in cybersecurity that have resulted in three-quarters of a million dollars in identities stolen, that’s costing the state a lot of money when you’re talking about a year’s worth of identity protection.”

Recently, Chesnut said, the legislature has begun to take on issues of nuclear waste disposable and violations of the regulatory scheme there. But he said it doesn’t seem that there is a lot of accountability there.

Question: If elected, you’ll be moving into your first elected position, how do you envision your existing roles informing your role as senator?

Answer: Yes, unlike my opponent who’s been nearly two decades in elected office; four years legislature and several years on Cedar City council,  things he trumps as qualifications. I question what their motivation is for such a long career in public service – I think public service is an honored trust that should be taken on seriously.

Question: You are based out of Iron County. But District 28 extends to citizens of LaVerkin, Hurricane and even Washington City. What is your appeal and purpose for those cities?

Answer: I have an office in St. George and in Cedar City, I split my time three days a week in St. George and two days a week in Cedar City.

I encounter people of lower income in my work and trying to get themselves established.

There’s some concern in (Washington) county in terms of transportation system – millions invested in northern Utah but in Southern Utah we can’t get a coordinated system beyond Deseret Industries down to Walmart – where the state has the ability to help – that’s a commitment – an infrastructure – public transportation is a difficult industry to privatize, if it were possible to privatize that would have happened that way.

People in Washington City and those smaller municipalities get ignored because they’re not St. George. The same happens from northern Utah, where I-15 (here) isn’t the corridor it is on the Wasatch front. Southern Uah needs more attention.

For more information and a full range on the issues Chesnut is campaigning on, visit his website.

Map showing the Senate districts of Southern Utah

Ed. Note:  This story may be updated as candidate interviews are obtained. Updated 12:20 p.m. per Evan Vickers interview. Updated 6 p.m. per Geoffrey Chesnut interview.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.


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