Carl Albrecht [Photo courtesy of Carl Albrecht]

Voters residing in District 70 will soon decide between Utah House of Representatives candidates Carl R. Albrecht and Bob Greenberg.

Rep. Albrecht is the Republican incumbent serving a two-year term that began on Jan. 1, 2017. Greenberg is the vice chair of the Grand County Democratic Party.

District 70 encompasses the City of Moab and the southwestern portion of Grand County and includes the lands west of U.S. Highway 191. It extends north to Interstate 70, covers most of Emery County and all of Sevier County, as well as a portion of southern Sanpete County.

This election will be conducted by mail in Grand County.  

According to the Grand County government website, ballots will be mailed no later than 21 days before the election. After that date, the Elections Office will check systematically for new voter registrations and mail out ballots periodically up to seven days before the election.

The Moab Sun News spoke with Albrecht and Greenberg about their election platforms and what they view as pressing legislative issues.

Where do you live?

Albrecht: I live in Richfield. I’ve lived here for 44 years. I grew up in Wayne County.

Greenberg: I’ve lived in the same house in Moab for 40 years.

Why are you running for this term in the Utah House of Representatives?

Albrecht: I will have served a two-year term in the Utah House of Representatives at the end of this year. I feel like there’s some unfinished business on the state level and on the local level that I’d like to see taken care of.  

Greenberg: Utah has suffered from single-party dominance at the state legislature, and we know for any individual or group to be effective, there needs to be lots of good ideas, some of which will work and some of which won’t.

What is your previous experience in politics and other leadership positions?

Albrecht: In politics, I served for six years on the Richfield City Council. I served on the Sevier District Board of Education for six years. I served on the Utah College of Applied Technology Board of Trustees for 12 years, and the Snow College Board of Trustees for eight years. I was on the State BLM Advisory Council for two terms, and I was chair for two years. And, I served on the Governor’s Rural Partnership Board for eight years. As far as my career leadership, I worked for Garkane Energy, which is a rural electric power cooperative that serves southern Utah and northern Arizona, for 40 years and I was CEO for the last 23 years.  

Greenberg: I served on the Grand County Council for four years. I’ve been on many boards in Moab, including the airport board, the Solid Waste District board, chairman of the State Association of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Providers. And, I’ve been active in politics since I was an 11-year-old, giving out leaflets on the street for my favorite presidential candidate.

What is your educational background?

Albrecht: I graduated from Southern Utah State University and attended the University of Utah and Stevens-Henager College. I studied business and I had a lot of training when I was with Garkane; that goes with the territory.

Greenberg: I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in special education.  

What’s something interesting about you that voters may not know?

Albrecht: I enjoy the outdoors, hunting, fishing, four wheeling. I have nine grandkids and I enjoy spending time with them and watching them play sports. Something that I do enjoy doing that not many people know is that I announce high school basketball games on a local television channel.  

Greenberg: I’ve lived in San Juan, Grand and Carbon counties and worked in Emery County. I used to have a pilot’s license and flew a Cessna 182.

What is your platform?

Albrecht: My platform is, basically, “Less government is the best government.” The more that the state, the counties, the cities and local school districts control, versus the federal government, the better. I believe in the multiple use of federal and state lands. I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment and constitutional rights. I believe private enterprise most often works best. I really have no ax to grind in the legislature; I would like to help rural Utah in any way, shape or form that I can possibly can.

Greenberg: My platform is “No more wasting taxpayers’ money with ideological posturing.” The state must show the counties the same respect and deference that the state would like from the federal government, something that simply doesn’t happen right now. We need to step away from ideology and get realistic about economic development. It’s a cruel fantasy that the state legislature can “turn back the clock” on the state’s economy. The future of coal does not depend on the Utah State Legislature. We need to fund education across the board to secure our children’s future, but also to provide real economic opportunity to folks who are displaced by the changing economy. And finally, I support keeping our national monuments, parks and rivers intact and accessible not only to those of us who live here but also to be economic engines for the future.

What do you see as the most pressing legislative issues for Grand County and how would you address them?

Albrecht: Well, certainly Grand County has several issues that are important. One of them would be infrastructure needs as a result of high tourism visitation. Another would be housing — low income housing for those who work in the tourism industry there, and more diversity in your local economy, rather than just strictly tourism. I know there’s some other things, but tourism has about taken over down there, which is good for those who own the motels and the restaurants and the service industry, but most are not really high-paying jobs. A more balanced approach to the local economy. I know there’s a Transient Room Tax that could possibly be changed to allow local government more funding for infrastructure needs.

Last year, I passed a key rural jobs bill, House Bill 390, which incentives companies on the Wasatch Front or elsewhere to hire folks to work from their home or local areas online. It’s not just any online job; it pays 125 percent of the average county wage. After that company has had that person for 12 months, they receive an incentive of $4-6,000 depending on the class of the county. It secured $1.5 million per year for five years. It could create a lot of jobs if local folks get involved, get trained online. It could keep kids in rural areas, they won’t have to travel to the city to get a job. Households could supplement their income. Interested persons should contact their local Department of Workforce Services and GoEd.

Greenberg: Getting the state out of decisions that are best made locally. Increasing state funding for economic development, including our schools, our housing and the other critical points of our infrastructure.  

What would you do for the residents of Grand County to further economic opportunity?

Albrecht: That has been a focus for me in the rural areas I serve. That’s a tough thing to do. I’d like to see the rural economies diversify. In the Moab area, I’d like to see improved highway infrastructure. There needs to be some infrastructure down there that would help the whole area and improve safety.  

Greenberg: The best way to create new jobs is to grow existing businesses. One of the big brakes on our economy right now is our lack of affordable housing. The state can play a critical role in creating a better climate for development of reasonably-priced housing. Uses of the Transient Room Tax need to be opened up. Right now it’s being spent in a lopsided way.

What would you do to protect the water resources and air quality of Grand County?

Albrecht: You have the Colorado River there, that’s really an asset to Grand County and Moab. The quality of that river needs to be a priority for recreation. You also have water rights that need to be protected in that area.

Air quality, that’s a difficult one. There’s a lot of pollution coming from Las Vegas and Southern California that drifts up into that area and affects folks that want to visit and smoke from the fires. We need to see what we can do to limit fires. Our forests are in bad shape in that regard. Those forests are our watersheds. Protection can be done in a number of ways. Timbering is one aspect that needs to be looked at, so there would be less of these catastrophic fires. At the appropriate times of year there needs to be more prescribed burns. It needs to be a multi-pronged approach. We have gone 100 years trying to suppress fires, so now we have got this huge undergrowth. We get a burn scar, and then the monsoon comes down and the earth gets washed into the waterways. There is not going to be a quick and easy fix.

Greenberg: State resources to monitor water and air quality are stretched critically thin. The state oversight of major polluters in our county has been woefully inadequate. I’m thinking of the evaporation waste disposal ponds up by Cisco, the Atlas tailings, and dust from overgrazing and construction.  

Since the federal government leaves much of this oversight to the state, we need to step up and protect our health by fully funding the state agencies responsible for protecting us from environmental hazards like poor air and water quality. The state needs to lobby our neighboring states and the federal government to deal more effectively with the dust from overgrazing in Arizona and the air pollution from the oil patch in New Mexico instead of using our political credit to chase ideological lost causes.

How should public lands should be managed in Utah?

Albrecht: There needs to be some land that is maintained as national parks. National forest lands and BLM and state lands, as I stated earlier, are multiple use. I think the public needs to have access as much as possible to those lands, for a variety of reasons: mining, timbering, recreation, hiking, hunting, fishing, whatever is available and people enjoy doing. In the parks, that’s a different story; those lands should be protected.

Greenberg: First of all, we should stop using them as a political football. That will go a long way to ensuring appropriate management of our public lands. Utah and Grand County residents are very clear that outdoor recreation access to wild places: camping, hiking, biking, Jeeping, boating, are all very important to us. We need to manage public lands in such a way that their potential value to the extraction industries doesn’t destroy their value to our families and to our tourist industry. If we don’t drill, log or mine right now, those resources won’t go away. They’ll be there in the future and they’ll be even more valuable.

Do President Trump’s values align with your own?

Albrecht: Yes and no. For the most part, I think he’s done a good thing as far as stimulating the economy, providing jobs and addressing economic concerns. I’m not in favor of a president who tweets all the time. I would say many of his actions I have been supportive of, but there are some that concern me. He’s a different president; he didn’t come up through the ranks of politics. He thinks differently, he acts differently. He’s trying to run the country as a business. Some people have a hard time with that. But overall, many things I am satisfied with.

Greenberg: That’s a kind of broad question, and it’s hard to separate how he describes his values from how he behaves. For instance, in the area of immigration, my grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants. I’m a second-generation American, and frankly, there would be no state of Utah as we know it without immigrants. So, I find President Trump’s fear of immigration to be very disturbing.

How is your campaign funded?

Albrecht: The first term I funded it entirely on my own. I did not accept contributions. However, the second term I have accepted some contributions. It’s a big district that I represent. The state doesn’t reimburse me for travel. Rural legislators have a lot of costs involved in the big geographic area they represent.  

Greenberg: Right now, it’s one-third my money and a few contributions from local supporters. I’ve not received any money from corporations or PACs, nor do I intend to.

What else would you like for voters to know about you?

Albrecht: I’m a country person who grew up in an agricultural and tourism community in Wayne County. My parents were involved in tourism. They owned a couple of motels, a grocery store, a restaurant. I think I understand what’s going on down in Moab with tourism. My main focus at the legislature is to help rural Utah in any way, shape or form that I can.

Greenberg: I’m very proud of my community. Southeastern and central Utah are full of wonderful people, beautiful places and vibrant communities. If we keep our eye on practical solutions to our problems, and real opportunities to enhance our future, the future looks very bright.

If someone wants to learn more about your candidacy, or support your campaign, what should they do?

Albrecht: I have a website, You can find me on Facebook. You can call me at 435-979-6578 or you can email me at I’ve been down for several public meetings and forums and I’ll be back again.  

Greenberg: They should call me at 435-260-9665 or email me at The Utah Lieutenant Governor’s website has a short blurb, but I welcome the opportunity to email or chat with people. The more I learn about what people believe is important, the better job I can do as the state representative.

Candidates speak in-depth about campaigns, local issues