Do you want to learn more about what’s happening at the state and local government levels?
If so, come down to the Grand Center on Friday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m. for a town hall meeting with state lawmakers and local officials. The Grand County League of Women Voters and Sees Moab have organized the free meeting in an effort to get more local residents engaged in the goings-on in Grand County and the state capitol building in Salt Lake City.
Utah State Sen. David Hinkins and Reps. Carl Albrecht and Christine Watkins will be making an appearance at the event to give their insights on what they have planned for the next legislative session, which begins this month. Members of the Moab City and Grand County councils will also be on hand to speak and take questions from the audience.
Speakers set to be in attendance are Grand County Community Development Director Zacharia Levine, Moab City Manager David Everitt, Moab City Police Chief Jim Winder, Moab City Council Member Kalen Jones and Grand County Council members Curtis Wells and Mary McGann. Newly elected Mayor Emily Niehaus will be moderating the event.
The panelists will discuss points of concern that many Moab residents share, such as ATV/UTV noise mitigation, the Utah State University-Moab campus, and Arches National Park’s potential reservation system and proposed fee increases. Other items on the list slated for discussion include short-term rental regulations, Transient Room Tax (TRT) law amendments, Gov. Gary Herbert’s 25k rural jobs initiative, 2018 appropriations and funding priorities for education, and health care funding and administration in Utah.
“The town hall with our state representatives and city and county officials is a unique opportunity for the public to participate in the deliberation and collaboration between these government entities,” Grand County League of Women Voters Co-president Barbara Lacy said. “The audience will be permitted to ask questions, giving our government officials the opportunity to hear from concerned citizens, so I hope we have a tremendous turnout.”
At a town hall meeting held last fall with Hinkins and Albrecht, the two lawmakers were interested in having more, similar meetings in town and even “jumped at the chance,” Grand County League of Women Voters board member and Sees organizer Bill Topper said.
Community engagement in local politics is important to these legislators, Topper said, as it helps them to deliver on the needs of this particular area in accordance with the state.
“There are a lot of issues that people have different opinions about in Moab and Grand County,” Topper said. “Our state officials recognize that and hope to help get us on track to coming together to fix the problems we face as a community. They realize that holding more events in town will help them to achieve that goal.”
Due to the work of organizations like the Grand County League of Women Voters, Sees Moab and local elected officials, Moab was the only city in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District to host all eight candidates who ran for former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ seat at the same time. The forum for CD3 candidates was an overwhelming success and paved the way for eventual winner John Curtis, R-Provo, to comment on the courteousness of local residents and express an interest in returning as soon as he is able.
“Grand County has a steady line of communication with our state legislators involving key issues and our legislative agenda,” Wells said. “I view this as a key component of my job as a councilman … This town hall is an opportunity to give members of the public access to this dialogue.”
League of Women Voters, Sees Moab to host local and state legislators at Jan. 5 town hall
“There are a lot of issues that people have different opinions about in Moab and Grand County … Our state officials recognize that and hope to help get us on track to coming together to fix the problems we face as a community.”
What: Moab Town Hall Meeting
When: Friday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m.
Where: Grand Center, 182 N. 500 West
The Grand Center is located at 182 N. 500 West. For more information, go to: facebook.com/events/459202371141827/.