The Kane County Employee’s Association hosted a commission candidate debate and straw poll at Kanab Center on October 18th from 6-8 PM. Taylor Glover, Kane County Public Lands Director, acted as MC for the evening, and Wendy Allan, Kane County Planning Commission Administrative Assistant, was the debate moderator. More than one hundred Kane County employees and residents were in attendance.
Commissioner Andy Gant, Republican write-in candidate for commission Seat A, Celeste Meyeres, Republican candidate for commission seat B, and Camille Johnson, Republican write-in candidate for commission seat B were in attendance for the event. Pat Horning, Democratic candidate for commission seat B sent word that a family issue prevented him from appearing. Patty Kubeja, Republican candidate for commission Seat A, chose not to attend.
Mr. Glover opened the event by thanking the Kane County Employee’s Association for hosting, going on to describe the debate’s format as consisting of both general and candidate-specific questions from Kane County employees and the audience to be answered by the participants, with time allowed for rebuttals, if necessary. Candidates were not provided with the questions before the debate, though they were advised about the general topics to be covered. A coin toss prior to the debate determined which candidate would receive the first question, and Celeste Meyeres won the toss.
More than two dozen questions followed, across a wide range of topics. Readers interested in individual answers provided during the 90-minute debate are encouraged to view the recording online at https://youtu.be/zhIr79d5F0U. Audio begins at about the 7-minute mark.
For the purposes of reporting, it should be noted that every candidate on the dais was consistent in representing a platform of fiscal responsibility, preservation of the county’s heritage and culture, thoughtful and managed economic growth, access to public lands, attention to water and power needs, and confidence and support for the county’s employees and the skilled and important work they undertake on behalf of its residents.
Hot-topic answers provided by the candidates in attendance included:
All three candidates stated they have faith in the election system and will accept the results.
The candidates made clear that they are committed to working respectfully and productively with other elected officials and county employees.
The candidates affirmed that an appropriate relationship between a commissioner and county employee consists of clear communication via appropriate channels.
The three candidates stated their support for the East Zion Initiative in its current iteration, noting that it will provide significant financial benefit for the county.
After the event, Celeste Meyeres commented, “Thank you so much to the KCEA and community members who participated in putting on such a well-run and informative event.”
Andy Gant said, “I feel like the questions to the candidates were informed and to the point, making it a lot easier for people looking for real information.”
Camille Johnson said, “I feel encouraged by the attendance tonight and very encouraged by the Straw Poll results! We can do this. I have confidence in the voters of Kane County!”
A straw poll was held after the debate, with mock ballots made available to attendees to vote for commission candidates. The results were:
Commission Seat A: Andy Gant - 69 votes Patty Kubeja - 16 votes
Commission Seat B: Pat Horning - 5 votes Camille Johnson - 49 votes Celeste Meyeres - 33 votes
Meyeres, Kubeja, and Horning are on the ballot for the general election. Johnson and Gant are running as write-in candidates. Kane County residents will make their choices for commission seats A and B in November.