LAVERKIN – There are five LaVerkin citizens aiming for two city council seats this election season. They are: Chantelle Browning, Darwin DeMille, Kenneth Hooten, Ray Justice, and Josh Melessa.
St. George News asked the candidates one question: “Why are you running for city council?” Below are their responses:
The main reason she wants to run for city council is to help improve things – including the condition of the roads and public safety, candidate Chantelle Browning said, since the police department is understaffed with only four officers.
Browning, a former Miss LaVerkin, said she feels her experience writing grants for her fifth grade classroom at Hurricane Elementary will be a valuable skill if elected as a councilwoman.
She has lived in LaVerkin most of her life, knows many of its residents, and wants to help the community. Browning has been involved with many of LaVerkin’s activities since she was a child.
“I’m trying to do what I can,” she said. “I have no ulterior motives.”
During his 14 years living in LaVerkin, Darwin DeMille said he has sometimes been irritated by people who use their service in city government for their own personal gain instead of working solely with members of the community in mind.
He said he would like to see more common sense and fiscal responsibility in the city’s government, such as valuing public safety more by not cutting its budget.
The city government’s main priorities should be things like ensuring water comes out of taps, city roads don’t ruin residents’ cars and emergency responders arrive promptly, DeMille said.
“Everything else is secondary,” he said.
Kenneth Hooten said he is running because he feels it is every citizen’s duty to serve his or her community.
His skills developed as a manager in the postal service will be valuable if elected a councilman, he said. During his career with the postal service, he gained experience managing finances as well as employee-employer relations. Hooten said he has also served as president of the Anchorage, Alaska (where he lived for 35 years) branch of the National Association of Postal Supervisors.
“It would be an honor and a privilege to serve the people of LaVerkin,” he said.
“I am an Eagle Scout and patriot of this great country,” candidate Ray Justice said. “I take my duty to God, country and family very seriously.”
An incumbent city councilman who has served the city in a variety of capacities the last 10 years, Justice said he has the experience needed “to help the new mayor and council ride the economic rollercoaster these next four years.”
Justice said he loves LaVerkin and wants to see it grow in the right direction. He is ecstatic about the new hotel in town (especially since he is an assistant manager of a hotel in Springdale) as well as the new Family Dollar store. He said he would like to see a “real restaurant” added to LaVerkin’s offerings near the intersection of state Highways 9 and 17, which he said is one of the most underutilized intersections in the state.
“I have seen the ups and downs of the city and have a great feeling of ownership and a vested interest in the successes of LaVerkin,” he said.
Josh Melessa, a state delegate and already active in the Washington County Republican Party, said current mayor Karl Wilson encouraged him to run.
He is concerned about his children’s future and “wanted to step up,” he said.
A transplant from Enterprise, Melessa said he feels indebted to LaVerkin because the community has been so good to him and his family. He loves LaVerkin’s small-town feel and wants to keep it that way.
He wants to give a voice to the people of LaVerkin, Melessa said, to ask what their concerns are, and do his best to resolve those concerns.
Some of Melessa’s own concerns he said are the city’s lack of sidewalks on some busy streets and the lack of sufficient law enforcement, bringing up the fact there have been thefts in town recently. He said he realizes that such improvements will come little by little, but he wants to be a part in implementing them.
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