Van Dam calls for return to Vision Dixie principles, uniform infrastructure

Paul Van Dam is running for County Commission Seat B out of the Democratic Party.

IVINS – Washington County Commission candidate Paul Van Dam believes the county is on the verge of a great leap in the next five years, and he would like to spend the next four making sure the county has a plan for it.

Van Dam is running for Commission Seat B on the Democratic ticket and has said his experience serving as the Salt Lake County District Attorney and later as the Utah Attorney General, from 1989-92, has prepared him to serve on the County Commission.

“I can be useful to the people of the county,” Van Dam said during a brief introduction to the St. George City Council Thursday.

Van Dam said he will promote the principles of Vision Dixie in the continued growth and development of the county while also maintaining the quality of life people enjoy.

We should build up and not out,” he said.

Van Dam is opposed to the Lake Powell Pipeline. The potential costs of the pipeline are far greater than the people are being led to believe, he said.

St. George News caught up with the commission candidate at his home in Ivins and asked him more about the issues he sees facing the county and how he may address them if elected.


The Vision Dixie plan promotes a balanced approach to growth and infrastructure while also protecting the county’s signature landscape. Van Dam said he believes facets of Vision Dixie have been either forgotten or ignored by public officials.

Among the principles promoted by Vision Dixie is that of directing growth inward rather than outward “so we don’t have houses from border to border,” Van Dam said. Building “outward” will create sprawl, something that Vision Dixie was created to help avoid, he said.

“I’m for smart, considered growth,” he said. “I am certainly against unconsidered growth.”

A way Van Dam proposes to help the county and its municipalities better implement Vision Dixie is by creating a uniformity of laws and infrastructure that promotes the plan.

We must have infrastructure and laws attuned to Vision Dixie,” he said.


A growth issue on the minds of many Washington County residents is that of water. The Washington County Water Conservancy District continually touts the need for the Lake Powell Pipeline, while opponents decry it as unnecessary and horrendously expensive.

Van Dam said he doesn’t believe the water district has been forthcoming about the projected costs of the pipeline. WCWCD officials estimate the pipeline will be nearly $1 billion. Van Dam said it may be closer to $4 billion-$5 billion. The added interest over the next 50 years will also amount to tens of millions of dollars annually, he said.

Instead, Van Dam promotes water conservation, which he said tends to be treated like a dirty word in the county.

Working with a Republican County Commission

“There’s a great deal to be done that has little to do with politics,” Van Dam said. If elected, Van Dam could himself be the sole Democrat on the County Commission, or could be in the company of fellow Democrat Chris White who is running for the county’s Commission Seat A.

However, on issues related to public lands, there will likely be a difference of opinion, he said. The Commission and Van Dam’s opponent, Republican candidate Victor Iverson, want to put a highway, often called the Northern Corridor, through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.

That would be something of an area we would have to arm wrestle,” Van Dam said.

For more information on Paul Van Dam and details on his platform, visit his website.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Old Man October 14, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Vision Dixie – – I saw their map that showed all the little villages where everyone could walk and not use vehicles. Control the land, You Control the People. It’s all about CONTROL. No Thank You.

    • Bender October 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      I saw this other map, OLD MAN, where the county was filled rim to rim with low density sprawl and you had to drive a car to get to church and the supermarket. Control the land, you control the people. It’s all about CONTROL. NO THANK YOU.

      • Old Man October 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm

        Force people to live in tight confines, force them to rely on mass transit take away their cars, give them buses. Then when they are control and all you have to do to get them to vote your way is threaten to take it away. There is a reason all the blue states are in that position.

        • Bender October 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm

          Force people to live in spread out housing developments, force them to rely on cars and take away their mass transit, give them Buicks. Then when they are control and all you have to do to get them to vote your way is to threaten to take it away. There is a reason all of the red states are in that position.

  • Ralph October 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    If you are running on the Democratic ticket the party of Barry forget about it. He ruined that party while destroying America.

  • visionless dixie October 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    There is a reason Mr. Van Dam was Utah State AG for ONLY 3-4 years. Do some research people. Mr. Van Dam would be better if he used his retirement for actual retirement. Cut from the same cloth as D. Englman…..or vice versa.

    • Bender October 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      A Democrat that gets elected to state wide office in Utah for any length of time had to have strongly resonated with the voting public. Having the D behind your name is a huge handicap… like trying to run a marathon with your shoes untied. Van Dam is the grownup in this race. Hold your prejudice and check the right box.

      • Old Man October 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm

        Hold your prejudice and check the right box.
        Your Right, Thank God, you seen the light.
        Don’t vote left wing

        • Bender October 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

          “Your Right”
          My right? Don’t understand OLD MAN.

  • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) October 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    He has come a long way since Bloodsport!

  • NoThanks October 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    NOT THANKS. What we don’t need is ANOTHER SLC Democrat importing the fabulous ideas that have resulted in SLCs decline. Every single one of them back Obama and think exactly like him.

    • Bender October 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Some world class critical thinking going on in your noggin NOTHANKS. You appear not to know anything about Van Dam except that he is a Democrat from SLC.
      There is one guy in this race that wants to stop the ruinous expenditure of billions of dollars on an unneeded water project. It’s not the guy with the R by his name. You party line voters are being played for suckers by your Republican politicians. They abuse you and you come back for more.

  • El Jefe October 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Van Dam is as good as done. Save a ton of money and just quit now….or switch to Geico.

  • Ron October 14, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    St. George is a great place to live . . . now. If voters have their way, it won’t be so great in another 20 years. Fortunately for me, at my age I only need those 20 years. After that, all you proponents of unchecked growth can have it.

    • Bobber October 14, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      The majority of voters here are trained like dogs to vote for the ‘R’ because thats how the LDS likes it…

      • Realist October 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm

        Or trained to vote “R” because we don’ t like our city turning into “D” run Chicago, LA, or New York with all their “lovely” attributes….last time I did some research, Utah and it’s “R-ness” is a wonderful place to live with excellent quality of life. If you don’t like the way “R” does it, “D” California (and all the fun and costs that go with it) welcomes you!

  • Vietnamvet October 14, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    It is ironic how the left knowing that the present drought is caused by global warming and is going to get worst before it gets better, is using the conservative word “conservation” as a solution to record low water levels rather than considering the lake Powell pipeline because the right seems to be lying about the cost.
    Have they not noticed that lake mead has been drying up for the last 15 years. Las Vegas is already screaming for more water.
    Get a clue moron.

    • Vietnamvet October 14, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      New comer Van Dam wants to know what Las Vegas and water has to do with Utah, republicans are keeping it a secret.

    • Bender October 15, 2014 at 10:17 am

      And Lake Mead is drying up why VIETNAMVET? Lemme help you out. The Colorado River is over-allocated and running at historically low levels. Since you clearly view yourself as not a moron, I’m sure you are aware that Lake Powell is an impoundment of the Colorado River upstream from Lake Mead. It’s not a given that there will be water available in Powell to pump even if the pipeline is built. You’re welcome for the clue.

      • Old Man October 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        Yea Yea you guys have been claiming that for years. At one time it to be Dry by 2015. How that working out.

        • Bender October 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm

          How’s what working out old gummer? Right now Powell’s at 51% capacity and Mead is at 39%. Makes even a dull-witted old codger like you think twice about sinking $4 billion in capitol costs into a pipeline. That’s $27,000 for each man, woman and child in Washington County. Interest on $4 billion, assuming, financing at 5%, would be $200 million each year. If that don’t rattle yer suspenders, someone needs to check you for a pulse.

  • Not buying it October 15, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Go back to salt lake where you belong.

  • Robb Willie October 15, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Oh, for the love of Elroy Jetson’s Mother! Won’t someone vote for this poor man? Give him a job, anything! Dog catcher…desert tortoise herder…wrangler for the endangered Snail Darter…anything!

  • Bender October 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Wilma Jetson?

  • beacon October 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Perhaps some of you should actually talk to Paul Van Dam and get the real details from someone who has far more information and experience than you do and who would actually be willing to talk with you about it in a reasonable manner – a manner that has little relevance to the conversation going on here. Yes, Washington County is a great place to live now. The question is will it stay that way or be ruined by those who are only here to make a buck. By the way, Mr. Van Dam was a one-term AG and Salt Lake County DA because he knows what happens when you want more than that. People spend their time working to raise money to get re-elected rather than spending that time doing the work they’ve been elected to do.

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