Incumbent Democrats Lorin Allred and Larry Duke will fight LaRen Provost and Moroni Besendorfer for the two available Wasatch County Commission seats. Allred and Provost are running for the four-year seat, and Duke and Besendorfer for the two-year position.
Topping the issues list for all candidates are economic development, finding a local site for a new landfill and the quick construction of roads both from Heber to Kamas and from Heber to Provo.Allred, who is completing his fourth year as a commissioner and second as chairman, says economic development is his top priority. Bilco, a company that manufactures steel doors, has recently decided to open a branch in Wasatch County, and that "has been my project," says Allred. He is trying to bring in more industry as well as promote tourism in the Heber Valley. He cites snowmobiling, hiking and proximity to ski areas as perfect reasons to sell the area as a recreational tourist attraction. He believes the climate and high-quality alfalfa grown in the valley make it an ideal spot to locate an Olympic-level equestrian center. It's something he is proposing to the state Parks and Recreation Division now.
Provost agrees Wasatch County should try to attract tourists as well as some "good, solid, clean industry." Although he would like to see some high-paying jobs, he is concerned the county's youths must commute to Provo or Park City now, and he is willing to host any business that would provide suitable employment. "We need jobs," he said, "just jobs."
Recently, the county was forced to move its landfill from within the limits of Heber when the city decided to expand its airport runway. Although sites for a new landfill were studied, none were found and the garbage is hauled to Salt Lake County. Provost says he believes the problem should have been resolved much earlier since the Heber site did not meet EPA standards and was filling up. He doesn't blame this particular commission but says county officials "have known this is coming for a long time."
Allred defends his commission's decision to have the waste taken to Salt Lake, although it costs citizens more. "We would have liked to have kept the cost down, but we had to move the landfill," he said.
Both candidates agree it was right to fight the Bureau of Reclamation to make sure Route A, the road from Heber to Kamas, was built when it was clear the Jordanelle Dam would flood the exiting route. They also support widening Provo Canyon Road.
Allred is a retired educator who taught for 35 years. He was a legislator for two years, is president of the local Lions Club and a member of the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce. He is 62, married and has five children and 10 grandchildren. He lives in Heber.
Provost owns his own auto-parts business and raises beef cattle. He was on the Heber City Council for four years, the Heber Planning Commission for two years and the Wasatch County Planning Commission for six months. He has been the fire chief for 28 years. He is 50, married and has four children and one grandchild. He lives in Heber.
Both Duke and Besendorfer believe finding a permanent home for the county landfill within Wasatch County is important. Besendorfer said the county should have planned for creating a new landfill long ago, but Duke said the huge proportion of the county owned by federal and state government prevented the commission from finding a local site for the dump.
Both candidates also favor lowering the 12 percent unemployment rate in the county, and both agree bringing in new industry is probably not the most practical way to do that. Instead, each stresses the Heber Valley's natural beauty and recreation opportunities.
Duke has been a dentist for 30 years. He has been on the County Commission for two years and was a member of the Heber City Council for six years. He is chairman of the March of Dimes locally, a member of Rotary and chairman of the Wasatch County Boy Scouts. He is 55, married, with five children and nine grandchildren. He lives in Heber.
Besendorfer is a retired educator of 32 years. This is his first political race, but he has been the director of Wasatch County Recreation for nine years and is a member of the Charleston Water Conservancy District board. He was educated at Brigham Young University, where he obtained the equivalent of a doctorate degree in education. He is 60, married, with three children and four grandchildren. He is a lifetime resident of Wasatch County.