6 candidates seek 2 seats on the Hurricane City Council

The four candidates running for Hurricane City Council held a public forum, Oct. 4, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold St. George News

HURRICANE — There are six candidates for two open seats on the Hurricane City Council primary ballot. The two seats opening up are currently held by Kevin Tervort and Darin Larson, whose terms are ending.

In order to get to know the six candidates, St. George News sent an email questionnaire to each with the same set of three questions. Below are their responses, in alphabetical order.

Editor’s note: Candidate Brian Hawkins responded by text with a single statement, shown below. The sixth candidate on the ballot, Travis Christiansen, did not respond to St. George News.

Brian Hawkins

I know we need responsible and reasonable ways to grow. I believe in preserving and protecting our heritage. I know that as a community we need to decide on projects and efficiently complete them. Most importantly, I love Hurricane. I was raised in Hurricane by Kenneth and Leslie Hawkins. They taught me to value and love a good day’s work. I graduated from Hurricane High, served a mission for my church, married Erica and am working on raising two awesome boys. Working for Evan Brown, John Wadsworth and my father taught me the value of becoming a hard worker. As an adult, I was able to manage Bramall Farms, work for Scholzen Products and currently, I am self-employed. I volunteered for 12 years with the Search and Rescue and enjoyed the opportunity to lead teams and serve my community. The list of candidates is full of amazing people. I would like to represent the silent majority for this coming term.

Doug Heideman

Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?

I know I can do a great job for Hurricane by serving on its City Council. My slogan is, “It’s our city, and I want to empower your voice!” I’m a retired businessman, therefore, I have the time to devote to the position. There is knowledge and experience gained from living in eight different municipalities, participating in and studying their methods. I have a perceptive understanding of Planning and Zoning. I am committed to Hurricane and Southern Utah’s way of life.

What issues are the most pressing issues that you hope to address?

The most pressing issues I hope to address are: Managed community growth while following Hurricane’s master plan; Working to generate future water and power sources; Enhanced employment by attracting industrial diversity; and augment municipal infrastructure. I want to keep the “hometown” feel of Hurricane, while improving general standards for our residents.

How will you address the issue of rapid growth in Hurricane, especially in light of dwindling water reserves?

The comment that we need to develop more sources for water is true for the majority of the State. We are in a severe drought and we reside in a desert is common knowledge. I know that we have three wells, plus sources from Toquerville and La Verkin. Right now it is estimated, we are using 45 – 50%  of our present water supply. It requires educating the public on ways to conserve, but also strategically managing the increased growth. Using “water smart” landscaping, drilling wells (we have plans for two more in the works), and controlling pollutants.   

The Lake Powell Pipeline is still waiting on environmental impact studies to be completed and the total cost of this project ranges from 1.1 to 2 billion dollars. Utah’s water comes out of the Green River and flows into the Colorado River. California, Arizona, and Nevada are already working to take claim of this water away from Utah.

David Hirschi

Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?

First and foremost is that I am a fifth generation resident of Hurricane and I, like others who have lived here all their lives, moved back or transplanted here, love this community! After spending 14 years away from Hurricane while getting an education and establishing my career, my wife Dixie and I moved back 19 years ago to raise our family here in this community. Second, is that I have gained experience from life, leadership and learning from others, particularly my father who served as mayor of Hurricane for 12 years some of the needs and concerns as Hurricane continues to grow in the 21st century. 

What issues are the most pressing issues that you hope to address?

Growth is one of the biggest issues. Hurricane has over 20,000 residents now and is projected at the current rate of growth to double that in the next decade or two. We need to follow the master plan for growth and not just change every zoning law and continue to build high density housing projects that are unaffordable for young families and service workers. We need more affordable housing for purchase and for rent. The next pressing issue which is connected with growth is water. We live in a desert and must secure long term water or curb growth. Another important issue is maintaining high standards and values and sticking to the inspired Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution is under fire and hanging by a thread and we must stand by the Constitution to keep Hurricane Great!

How will you address the issue of rapid growth in Hurricane, especially in light of dwindling water reserves?

We either need to secure new water sources such as the Lake Powell pipeline or be prepared to put a cap on growth. We are quickly tapping our present resources for present and future growth and if we don’t receive more precipitation annually than we have the past few years we may need to adapt our landscaping to be more in harmony with living in a desert. This is a huge issue that needs to be addressed and solved as we work together to find the solution.

Darin Larson

Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?

I have lived in Hurricane for over 20 years. I am a member of the Hurricane Valley Rotary Club and love serving in my church and our community. I have served on the City Council for seven and a half years and have been actively involved in many of the city departments as we have seen Hurricane grow. I think that I am the right candidate because of two words: Common Sense—I think that oftentimes people get into political service with a goal to change the world. In my time on the Hurricane City Council, we have seen tremendous growth in both our population, as well as demands upon city staff and departments. Having a common sense approach to these demands means that we need to consider the rights of existing residents as well as those who want to make Hurricane their next hometown. We need to recognize the growing need for services and staffing. Finding a balance is key. I believe that my experience on the council is very valuable as we move our community forward in the future. I feel that having an understanding and a vision of Hurricane in the future is vital.

What issues are the most pressing issues that you hope to address?

Growth: I have lived in Hurricane since 2001 when the city was just over 8,000 residents. We are now approaching 23,000. We have subdivisions and projects of over 12,000 dwellings that are already approved, so over the next 10-15 years Hurricane has the potential to more than double even if we don’t approve one more project. The rights of property owners is very important to me, however good measured growth will be extremely important for our community. Water: Our ability to develop our own water resources is critical. We are currently in plans to drill several additional wells in and around Hurricane. This, along with a renewed effort toward conservation, is so important for our future as a growing community in a desert environment. Infrastructure: As citizens we are well aware of the congestion of traffic on State Street due to tourism, our roads running north to south are far beyond their capacity. I believe the time is now to bond for road projects providing access to the south fields and future developments that are under construction. We need to have an emphasis on our power transmission and substation construction to help with the increased loads we are experiencing. I also have been a big supporter of expanding our trail systems to enhance the quality of life for everyone.

How will you address the issue of rapid growth in Hurricane, especially in light of dwindling water reserves?

It is vital to develop our existing water rights. We also need to pressure the Washington County Water Conservancy District to help offset our expenses because our efforts allow the District to continue to provide water resources to the rest of the county. That burden should not just be ours, it should be shared by the District members. I am a proponent of the continued development of the Lake Powell Pipeline and feel that it will be the key to helping our community thrive in the future. Without expansion of our water resources we will have a crisis ahead of us. I want to be a voice for Hurricane and think that my experience will help move the city forward in prosperity.

Kevin Thomas

Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?

I have served one term on the council before and gained invaluable knowledge from that experience. I learned who I really represent (which is the citizens) and not the city. I learned how things are done and where things can be done better and improved upon. I now know better how to represent the citizens and how to hold the government accountable to them. I am a true conservative and will fight for the values that conservatism represents.

What issues are the most pressing issues that you hope to address?

Growth. We don’t need more high density. We have a ton of high density areas that are already zoned for that and have yet to be built on. I’m not in favor of re-zoning parcel after parcel from agricultural to high density housing. I’ve watched St. George, over the last few years, completely change. Not in the way I’d like to see Hurricane go. Hurricane has been seeing those changes too. It’s time to stop the endless expansion of high density housing in Hurricane. Water is also a big issue. It has been a big issue and will continue to be especially in the midst of a drought like we are in. Acquisition as well as conservation are topics of discussion that have been and are ongoing and need to continue. Government overreach: Now that we have experienced a world pandemic with Covid-19 we have seen the behavior of those in government with power. Their ever encroaching ideas would have us all at a standstill and under their thumbs at every moment if we let them. We can’t allow that to happen. In these United States of America, Government answers to the citizens, not the other way around.

How will you address the issue of rapid growth in Hurricane, especially in light of dwindling water reserves?

We have to acquire more water and we need to conserve.

For all of St. George News’ coverage of 2021 municipal elections, click here.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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