Candidates see LaVerkin as a place to put down roots

LaVerkin Bridge State Route 9
LaVerkin Bridge, LaVerkin, Utah, January 2013 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

LAVERKIN – Whether coming from a family with long roots in the Hurricane Valley area or establishing roots of their own, the candidates seeking seats on LaVerkin City Council this year see the city as a great place for young and old alike, a place for families and a place to stay.

Five candidates, including two incumbents, are vying for three seats: Micah Gubler, Richard Hirschi, Darshan Josi, Debbie Lee and Randy Reeve. Hirschi and Reeve are incumbents seeking re-election.

Micah Gubler and family | Submitted photo, St. George News
Micah Gubler and family | Submitted photo, St. George News

Micah Gubler

If he were to only accomplish one goal if elected to the LaVerkin CIty Council, Micah Gubler said, “It would be to provide more reasons for families and individuals to put down roots and stay in LaVerkin.”  

Gubler said that LaVerkin is a great place for an individual or young couple to find a starter home but once they have outgrown the home and want to upgrade, many relocate to other communities.  

“I would like to help be part of a comprehensive solution to that by improving the roads, attracting new development of nice subdivisions and new businesses that can succeed and continuing the great progress that is currently being made by our parks, recreation and public safety departments,” he said.

If he is not elected, Gubler said he would continue to make a difference by volunteering on various commissions or committees within the city as well as being an ambassador for LaVerkin.

“I feel that the residents here are as friendly and as good as they come,” he said, “and it is a great place to call home.”

Gubler said he has had several opportunities over the years to move away, but he and his wife of 18 years, Martha, have come to the conclusion that there is not anywhere they would rather live in Southern Utah than LaVerkin.

“I grew up playing any sport that I could and I have carried that love of sports and activities with me throughout my life,” Gubler said.

He has now transitioned from playing sports to coaching them and is currently a member of the Hurricane High School girls basketball coaching staff.

Gubler said he is an avid pickleball player and would love to see pickleball courts built in LaVerkin in the near future.

“It is a multigenerational sport that can be enjoyed and played by the very young as well as those who are in their 70s and 80s,” he said.  

His family is the joy and success of his life, Gubler said. He has six children, ranging in age from a senior in high school to a preschooler, and said of his family:

We love spending time together camping and hiking, as well as supporting each other in our various activities and events.

Richard Hirschi | Submitted photo, St. George News
Richard Hirschi | Submitted photo, St. George News

Richard Hirschi

An incumbent who has served one term, Richard Hirschi said that his goal is to make LaVerkin residents happy, being fair to all, especially when it comes to growth. He wants to see “good growth,” he said, in which everyone has a say.

Good things are coming down the line in LaVerkin, Hirschi said, citing specifically two new hotels slated to be built soon.

If not re-elected, Hirschi said, he would still want to be involved with the city in some capacity because he is retired and has the time to serve.

He is friendly and easy to get along with, Hirschi said but jokingly added, “maybe sometimes I’m too nosy.”

A native of Hurricane, Hirschi was an all-state lineman on the Hurricane High School football team in his heyday. He has been happy to live in LaVerkin for the last 35 years. Over the years, he has had several good job opportunities that would have required him to move elsewhere, but he stayed put.

During his career, Hirschi has worked for Utah Power and Light, the Hurricane City Parks Department, and the Hurricane City Fire Department, from which he retired as deputy chief four years ago.

His wife, Ruth, is a big reason he is who he is, Hirschi said.

“If I hadn’t married her, I’d be in trouble,” he said. “She reminds me all the time to be a good person.”

Together they raised two sons and a daughter.

One of Hirschi’s hobbies is geocaching. He said he has found every one of them in town and several years ago, while driving to Georgia with his son, he found one in every state along the way.

Darshan Joshi

Joshi was contacted repeatedly for this article but did not respond by publication time.

Debbie Lee | Submitted photo, St. George News
Debbie Lee | Submitted photo, St. George News

Debbie Lee

“My goal is to see that LaVerkin City becomes the best place for families to establish roots, raise their children and enjoy the recreation that LaVerkin has to offer,” candidate Debbie Lee said.

She feels her goal can be accomplished by enforcing city ordinances, addressing neglected property, encouraging community awareness and helping the city become an inviting place for business.

If not elected, the best way she said she can accomplish her goals is to be a leader in the city.

If I expect individuals to be good members of society then I need to be one too,” she said.  “I will create awareness and bring attention to the issues that exist. I will be actively involved in giving service to my community.”

Something special about Lee is that she has an identical twin sister.  

Lee grew up in Southern Utah and graduated from Dixie High School, Dixie State University and the University of Utah.  She said:

I believe that as we educate ourselves and work hard that we create opportunities and our own success.

Randy Reeve | Submitted photo, St. George News
Randy Reeve | Submitted photo, St. George News

Randy Reeve

“There are many things that I would love to see happen in our community,” Reeve, an incumbent candidate for City Council, said of LaVerkin. “We have miles of road that need to be repaired, we have a police department that needs to double in size, our public works department can barely keep up with demand and we have many outstanding parks that lack playground equipment for the kids.”

Each budget year, Reeve said, the city is faced with the challenge of balancing everything from the cost of roads, which is extremely high, to the cost of office supplies, which of course is very low. Even keeping in mind these demands, Reeve said, he would like to see more programs to keep both adults and children active.

“One such program that I would like to see happen in town is the 4-H program,” he said. “They have classes ranging from cooking and sewing to robotics and computer coding.”

Additionally, Reeve said he would like to see the city initiate classes taught by the police department to help citizens stay informed about the current dangers that children face, women’s self-defense, identifying criminal activity and emergency preparedness.

If not re-elected, Reeve said he would continue to work with elected officials and make his thoughts and suggestions known and volunteer in areas of interest with his added free time.

Reeve is quick to point out that he has family members tied to the building of the canal, three generations of ancestors who have helped establish the Hurricane Valley into what it is today.

Reeve said he feels blessed with the opportunity to raise his kids “in the farming and ranching way of life,” and is proud to say that, on a dare, he participated in the barrel races at the Peach Days Rodeo in Hurricane where he took fourth place in the 18-and-up age group and first in the men’s group.

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