ST. GEORGE – What does Chris White have to offer the residents of the county if elected to the Washington County Commission? In his words, a better communicator who knows how to organize people and get things moving.
“I am a very effective communicator,” White said. “I have experience reaching out to people, making organizations function together, and getting a group of people together to make things happen.”
The county also needs a commissioner who is open, accessible, reliable, and promotes citizen involvement, he said.
“And I am very good about getting out a message,” White said. “I think that experience is what will benefit Washington County the most.”
White is running for County Commission Seat A on the Democratic ticket against Republican Zachary Renstrom. This is White’s second run at the commission. In 2012 he ran against incumbent Commissioner Alan Gardner and spoke to his belief that the Lake Powell Pipeline should be voted on by an educated citizenry, and that the county should outsource services where possible.
The pipeline: Educate the people, then put it to a vote
“I would like more citizen involvement,” White said concerning the contested Lake Powell Pipeline. “I would like the Washington County Water Conservancy District to reach out and give (the public) more information.”
White said a citizenry that is more aware and knowledgeable concerning the pros and cons of the pipeline can cast an educated vote on the matter. This is particularly important when considering the potential final cost of the pipeline, he said.
Water district officials have said the pipeline will cost nearly $1 billion. Others, like White, are not so optimistic, as other estimates place the price at $4 billion to $5 billion.
County government outsourcing
White also believes that what services the county can outsource to the private sector, it should. The county can also do a better job of catching up with technology in order to innovate and streamline services.
Why employ someone with the county when you can have the private sector do things more efficiently and effectively, White said.
“I’m not against county government,” he said. “What I’m against having is wasteful government.”
Renstrom, White’s opponent, said the county government already outsources to some degree. Overall, though, Utah law mandates what services a county is to provide and can’t be outsourced easily, he said
Vision Dixie, public transportation
White spoke generally about growth, touching more on some of the issues it encompasses in relation to the county.
Washington County will continue to grow because it’s a beautiful place, White said. In order to best accommodate that growth, he pointed to the Vision Dixie plan, an organization of the county’s municipalities formed in 2006 aspiring for collaborative direction for the growth of Southern Utah.
“Vision Dixie talked a lot about (there) being a planned out, organized growth,” he said, “and making sure we build in an effective way rather than just do a master plan and throw houses all over.”
As the county grows, the infrastructure will need to be in place to help accommodate it. White supports a potential, countywide mass transit system as a part of that. He praised the work the City of St. George has done with SunTran, which will soon include a route into Ivins and is being discussed in Washington City.
Thus far public transit has been handled between the cities. “I would like to see the county take more of a leadership role in this,” White said.
Touching on other facets of infrastructure, like his opponent, White also supports the creation of the so-called Northern Corridor between Interstate 15 and state Route 18, despite it going though the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
“I think we should push forward with it,” he said, adding there is always room for compromise between those who support the road and those who do not due to its going though desert tortoise habitat. “Most often you hear people say it has to be ‘either-or,’ I don’t think so,” he said.
To learn more about Chris White and his position on the issues, visit his website.
- All St. George News reports related to Election 2014
- His ‘unique set of abilities’ will help prepare county for future, Renstrom said
- Iverson aims to continue as county commissioner, prioritizes economic development
- Van Dam calls for return to Vision Dixie principles, uniform infrastructure
- Renstrom says background as civil engineer, patent attorney will benefit county
- White aims for County Commission Seat A
- Gardner, White contrast on public lands, water district and county government
- Democratic candidates seek to bring different perspective to Utah House, County Commission
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