Candidates for the four-year Utah County Commission Seat B are Richard A. Johnson and Marie F. Van Wagenen. Sid Sandberg, now serving in the position, is not seeking re-election.
Republican Richard Johnson said, "I would like to serve the people with integrity."A resident of the unincorporated area of Benjamin, Johnson has served three terms (10 years) on the Nebo School Board and five years on the Utah County Planning and Zoning Commission. He was president of the School Board twice and was chairman of the commission for one year.
Johnson said he is capable of making tough decisions for the county. He said problems with the Utah County Jail, such as overcrowding, will not be easy to solve. While the county jail will need an addition, Johnson thinks there is a limit to what has to be provided.
As a county commissioner, Johnson wants to focus on the economic development of the county.
"We need to sell Utah County and be careful who we sell it to," said Johnson. He would like to see Utah County emphasize the development of high-tech industries and work with the expansion of the high-tech industries the county already has.
Johnson supports a Utah County Fair with a self-perpetuating, workable budget. He said he has the know-how to help with a county fair based on experience as a past president of the Diamond Fork Riding Club, which produced the Fiesta Days Rodeo, and a manager of the Utah State Junior Livestock Show.
Johnson was born and raised in Spanish Fork. He graduated from Brigham Young University before attending dental school at Loyola University in the Chicago area. Johnson has a dental practice in Spanish Fork.
Democrat Marie Van Wagenen is running for the County Commission because she sees the
need for a change.
"The two-party system works best," said Van Wagenen. "A democratic government needs the checks and balances of the two-party system."
Economic development is high on the agenda of topics Van Wagenen would like to address as a commissioner. She thinks taxes on businesses must be kept low to attract new industries and help established businesses prosper.
"We must do everything possible to clean up our environment," said Van Wagenen. Industry should be held accountable for polluting the environment, she said, adding that "Geneva Steel makes a good-faith effort."
Van Wagenen would like to see planning and zoning strengthened. "These functions are worth the time and energy put into them. . . . We must avoid further development in agricultural areas."
Government needs to be sensitive to the needs of senior citizens, Van Wagenen said. She thinks the county is doing a lot of good now for senior citizens, but she said more will be needed as the size of the elderly population grows.
A county employee for 26 years, Van Wagenen thinks the County Commission needs more of an "open door policy." Commissioners should be more accessible to the public and county employees, said Van Wagenen.
"The commission's role is to serve the citizenry, not itself," she said.
Van Wagenen lives at 2983 Apache Lane in Provo. She retired from the county in December 1988. Twelve of her 26 years of county service was with the county commissioners.