Election 2018: Utah Senate District 28 candidates share personal stories, discuss goals and priorities

Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE   Incumbent Republican Sen. Evan Vickers and Democrat challenger Mark Chambers are vying to represent Senate District 28 in the Utah Legislature.

The district covers parts of Washington, Iron and Beaver counties.

In order to help voters get to know the candidates and what they intend to do if elected, St. George News presented them with a short series of questions ranging from personal details to what their big legislative push may be if elected, the answers are listed below.


Republican Rep. Evan Vickers is seeking a second term in the Utah State Senate. Outside of his work as a state senator, he’s a business owner and pharmacist. 

If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you would sponsor or what Utah law would you work on repealing or amending?

“Since I am a sitting senator I actually have already opened some bill files for this year so I will tell you about one of them. I was approached by a state child welfare worker who told me about a situation where he was assaulted by an individual as he attempted to fulfill a court order to remove a child from an abusive or dangerous situation. He had a law enforcement officer with him but the adult present actually physically assaulted him during the incident.

“He explained to me how highly emotional these situations are and how sensitive he and other case workers try to be when faced with these difficult tasks. He received physical harm during the incident and had to be rescued by the law enforcement officer. It turns out that there really is very little protection under the law for these case workers when something like this occurs.

“The bill we are pursuing will explore the option of increasing the penalty for the individual that commits the assault when a case worker is fulfilling his/her court ordered duties. We have looked at laws in neighboring states and are currently working with law enforcement and state agencies to determine what might be an appropriate penalty. FYI, as Senate Chairman of Higher Education Appropriations and Health and Human Services, I have run bills each year repealing unnecessary and out of date policies and reports. I can say that it has been a very enjoyable experience running those types of bills.”

Of the following three issues, which one do you believe is the most important to Utah voters: housing, water or education? Briefly explain why.

“Obviously housing, water and education are all critical to Utah but I will choose education since I am very passionate about this and see first hand the critical needs in this area because of my position as Senate Chairman of Higher Education Appropriations. I also need to note that I am the first college graduate in my family. We have a strong economy in Utah and that brings in significant tax monies to fund the necessary programs in our state.

“Every year we see upwards of 10,000 jobs go unfilled in our state because we don’t have the trained workforce to fill those needs. It is imperative that our public education system educate our children in a fashion that will allow them to succeed after graduation from high school. In today’s society it is critical that those students go on to achieve some type of post-high school education whether it be in one of our technical colleges or in one of our institutions of higher learning.

“To assist in this we need to do a better job of directing students to professions where they can excel whether it be as an electrician, a plumber, a computer technician, a teacher, a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, a pharmacist (I have to throw that in as I am a pharmacist) or one of large number of other needed professions. Education is the best economic development tool we have and it is imperative that we continue to fund education adequately and work to improve our education programs.”

Please tell us about one of the following: your most embarrassing moment, an interesting fact about you or a mistake you made that you learned the most from. 

“I am a pretty big guy and one time we were traveling together as a family going through Kanab. We stopped to eat at a restaurant and were put in an area where they only had plastic chairs, you know those white plastic, stacking chairs that you see all over. There were quite a few people in the place along with our family. I had gone to the restroom and came back where my family was busy talking as were all the other patrons.

“I plopped down in my chair and it proceeded to shatter into about 3 pieces with me sitting on the floor in the middle of the pile of plastic. My family looked at me and didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or just keep quiet until I let them know I was ok just embarrassed. The waitresses came running over to make sure I was all right and I assured them I was but needless to say I was very red faced and reluctant to sit on another one of those death traps.  I sat down very carefully the next time.  I blamed it on a faulty chair but my family had other thoughts.”

 


Democrat Mark Chambers is seeking to replace Vickers in Utah Senate District 28. He was the ticketing director for the Sundance Film Festival, Utah Symphony and Opera and ArtTix.

If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation you would sponsor or what Utah law would you work on repealing or amending? 

“Increasing the education budget. I believe we should go back to the old tax formula 7% (not 5%) for those making over $500k a year. This will bring $355 million more a year to education.”

Of the following three issues, which one do you believe is the most important to Utah voters: housing, water or education? Briefly explain why.

“Education. Utah students are the lowest funded in the country. Utah is last. I believe our children’s education should be a priority. Smaller class sizes and better pay for teachers. Do you know if your child’s school has a school nurse or a school counselor dedicated to your school? Most schools do not have one. I believe that it’s time to make education a top priority in the state of Utah.”

Please tell us about one of the following: your most embarrassing moment, an interesting fact about you, or a mistake you made that you learned the most from.

“I am a fifth generation Utahn, born and raised in Salt Lake City. Ten years ago, I settled in Springdale. Since then, I have served on the Springdale Town Council, Secondary Water Advisory Board and the Southwest Mosquito Abatement Board.

“As the Ticketing Director for the Sundance Film Festival, Utah Symphony and Opera, and ArtTix I gained a strong fiscal background, tracking more than $15 million in ticket sales annually, managing budgets over $800,000, and supervising workforces of more than 50 employees. I worked closely with the Salt Lake County auditor, attorney, treasurer and elected officials. I served on the Board of Directors of the Salt Lake Visitor’s Bureau, the International Ticketing Association, and Z-Arts.”

For other Election 2018 stories, click here.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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