Tim Glenn [Photo courtesy of Utah Democratic Party]

Voters residing in District 69 will soon decide between Utah House of Representatives candidates Christine Watkins and Tim Glenn.

Rep. Watkins is the Republican incumbent serving a two-year term that began on Jan. 1, 2017.

Glenn is the Democratic candidate.

District 69 encompasses lands south of Moab in Spanish Valley on the east side of U.S. Highway 191. The district also includes all of Castle Valley and extends north to Interstate 70, covers Thompson Springs and Green River, includes Carbon County and a portion of Duchesne County.

Nearly 32,000 people resided within District 69 as of the 2010 census.

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 asked Watkins and Glenn to share their election platforms and their thoughts on what they see as Grand County’s most press legislative issues.

Where do you live?

Watkins: I live in Carbon County. I live out in the county and my husband and I garden and work on 2.5 acres with chickens, deer, rabbits and an occasional badger.

Glenn: Green River.

Who is someone who has helped, guided or mentored you in becoming the person you are today? Can you say how their mentoring or guidance impacted you?

Watkins: I have had many mentors in my life. A favorite was my high school home economics teacher, Mrs. Janice Pierre. She encouraged me to continue my leadership endeavors in school and in class. She was fun, sincere, and well-spoken and a great role model.

Glenn: I’m always learning, and always looking for inspiration or guidance from the people who surround me. Everyone has something to offer, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open. With that said, there are several people from my church community who I reach out to for guidance. Also, Hope, my wife, consistently proves she’s the better half of our partnership.

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

Watkins: I am the incumbent and have served for a total of six years.   am excited to have seniority and the responsibilities and opportunities that come with seniority.  

Glenn: I’ve always had an interest in policy, not so much politics. But after the last few years, I’ve felt like I could have a positive impact on our communities. I’m much younger than the average age of a state legislator, and I believe that my fresh perspective will be a valuable addition to policy making. All Utahans should have access to representative government, not just the wealthy or connected. I want to be an example of that. To put it simply, I think I can make a difference.

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

Glenn: I’m a museum director, so I have a lot of experience working in a leadership position. I am also on the executive committee for the Office of Museum Services Board with the State of Utah. I’ve served on the Utah Museum Association Board, and I’m the chairman of a local youth education non-profit in Green River. I also serve on the Green River Trails Committee, and I am the chair of the Emery County Democratic Party.

Watkins: I started out with leadership opportunities in church, school, and family.  My husband was a city councilman in Castle Dale and I helped support him in that position.  I served on the Castle Dale City Planning and Zoning board for many years and also held leadership positions in the Emery Education Association.  I served as the Executive Director for the Southeastern Utah UniServ. I have always felt that my voice was important and took advantage of opportunities that presented themselves to strengthen that voice.

What is your educational background?

Watkins: I have a B.S. in Elementary Education (USU), three Special Education Endorsements (BYU), and a Master’s of Educational Leadership (U of U).

Glenn: I have a Master’s of U.S. History from the University of Utah. My thesis was on the history of communication technologies (telegraphs and telephones) in the national parks during the early twentieth century. If you want to talk about the changing definition of wilderness through history, I’ll be at your house in 10 minutes.

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

Watkins: I was raised on a dairy farm and was an attendant to Cache County’s Jr. Dairy Princess.

Glenn: I was the winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition in 2017 for a novel titled “Forever Desolation.”

What is your platform?

Watkins: I am a strong advocate for our rural interests. I support multiple uses of lands, the mining industry, and I support a public education system. I believe in less government, strong families, and a healthy environment for small business, which is critical in rural Utah. I am an advocate and supporter of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Glenn: I want to fix state code when it comes to the Transient Room Tax (TRT). I want to develop economic diversification and get us out of the boom and bust cycle. I want the value of teachers to be reflected in their pay, and I want to make health care available to more rural Utahans. I believe public lands are a protection for the middle class, and I want to be a strong voice representing rural Utah for the protection and stewardship of multiple uses on public lands. I hope to be a check on radical voices coming from rural Utah that are trying to destroy our access to our public lands heritage.

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

Watkins: The Transient Room Tax (TRT) law is of major concern to Grand County. Another Representative has filed a bill and is working on that issue. I will support the efforts to put more of that money into infrastructure.  

Glenn: We need to fix the Transient Room Tax (TRT). Rural communities should have a choice on how TRT revenue is spent in their community. The current code assumes tourists don’t have an impact on the space they inhabit. We should be able to use TRT to improve our communities. I propose that the state allow rural counties to set an annual budget and decide how much to spend on infrastructure, mitigation, marketing, etc., rather than force us into the two-thirds marketing and one-third infrastructure box. This is already a huge problem in Moab, but as other rural communities rely more and more on tourism (Green River included), the problem will only continue to grow.

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

Watkins: I know affordable housing has been a struggle in Grand County for many years. I continue to support efforts to build more housing. I also support the effort by the Grand County School District and USU-Moab to make applied technology education available to students and adults living in Grand County. I will help funnel additional money into those programs.

Glenn: First and foremost, I’d be interested in hearing ideas from the local municipalities and then trying to figure out how the state fits in. I won’t pretend to know more about what the residents of Moab want than the folks living there. What I can say is that access to affordable housing has a huge impact on economic opportunity. So does developed infrastructure.

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

Watkins: I co-sponsored a resolution asking the federal government to continue to pay for the removal of the radioactive uranium cleanup. I have and will continue to support the efforts to clean up this area in Grand County.

Glenn: Again, this would be an opportunity to partner with local leaders and municipalities to find solutions at a state level. Water is obviously a precious resource in our region, and some of the agreements that we currently operating under, like the Colorado Compact, are problematic.

How should public lands be managed in Utah?

Watkins: (No answer was given.)

Glenn: Public lands should belong to the public, as simple as that. Federal laws keep our Representatives accountable to the public when it comes to our lands, and I’d like to keep it that way. Obviously, locals are more emotionally and economically connected to their local landscape than people who do not live here, and locals should have a meaningful voice in matters of public lands. But that does not mean they should be the only voice.

Do President Trump’s values align with your own?

Watkins: (No answer was given.)

Glenn: Absolutely not. As a citizen, I will always hope for the success of our President and of our government. As a legislator, I hope to be a consensus builder and problem solver on the state level — someone who is willing to work with anyone. But that is not what this questions asks. This question asks if I share Donald Trump’s values, and I can answer with certainty that I absolutely, unabashedly, do not.

How is your campaign funded?

Watkins: My campaign is funded by me, friends, local supporters and groups that support my voting record.

Glenn: My campaign has been funded almost entirely by small donations from friends, family and supporters. The only exception being a $250 donation from the Utah House Democratic Leadership Council. The average donation for my campaign is about $88.

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

Watkins: I have always worked with elected officials and people who have issues with state government in Grand County. During the “Great Recession” I passed and supported legislation that helped the Grand County School District. I have worked with our senator on many issues to help the people who live, work and play in Grand County. I worked on an issue for the Castle Valley Volunteer Fire Department in the last legislative session. The bill I filed did not make it out of the Senate, but I continue to work for less duplicate financial filings for volunteer fire departments.

Glenn: I never had a plan to be a politician. I’m not running for any kind of personal gain or interest in my career. In fact, the thought of only seeing my family on weekends for a month-and-a-half in the winter is pretty depressing. But it is time for new voices to rise up in Utah. People who are not career politicians. People who have fresh ideas about our state. People who aren’t afraid to put their political career on the line for issues that are genuinely important to the whole of us. I’m a dad — who runs a museum, who is still paying student loans, who is often worried about my lack of savings, who likes to be outside and who wants to help make a difference in my community. I hope you’ll trust I have your best interest at heart.

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

Watkins: I have a Facebook page, Representative Christine Watkins District 69. My email is christinewatkins@le.utah.gov and my phone number is 435-650-1969. I like texts.

Glenn: They should go to my website at www.votetimglenn.com. They can also find me on Facebook, Twitter (tim_populi), Instagram (votetimglenn), or they can email me at timothy.aaron.glenn@gmail.com.

Utah House of Rep. candidates discuss election platforms