With St. George city municipal elections approaching, candidates discuss what they will do to help the town and university grow together.
Mayor Dan McArthur will be running to keep his seat against Jon Pike, a current city council member. Ed Baca, Joe Bowcutt, Tara Dunn and Michele Randall will all be running for city council. Each candidate was asked the same questions involving Dixie State University and the city.
What will you do as a member of local government to help Dixie State University?
McArthur: “There are a lot of things around campus we need to do with housing because the university is constrained with space. We need to make sure they can continue to grow, and we want the city to help with this process.”
Pike: “I have been on the board of trustees for over four years. I know the vision and goals of the university, and I support them. Since I have this experience, I will not have to learn on the job and will be able to help the school grow.”
Baca: “I strongly believe the existence of Dixie State in this town is the most important thing right now. I want to help the school expand and get more degrees. I want to diversify the careers that are available for students after they graduate from college.”
Bowcutt: “I haven’t heard of any concerns from students or the community about the school I want to work on having a good relationship with the school and find solutions that help everyone that is involved.”
Dunn: “I am the youngest candidate that is running this year. I think I am open to more modern ideas and events. I want to focus on creating events that will benefit the demographic of the students.”
Randall: “The past councils have done an awesome job to maintain a strong relationship with Dixie over the years of their growth. I want to have interaction with students and with university officials. I want to make students feel welcome here in St. George.”
Why is it so important that DSU students vote?
McArthur: “It is the American way to get out and vote, and if students start to make it a habit now, it will continue in their lives forever. We have students who come down from the school to ask about events, and working with the city to make the events the best they can and having the right people in office helps with that. We want students to make the community part of their education experience.”
Pike: “Education is critical to our future, and we need people to vote who are in the middle of their education. It is important to vote now because the leaders elected will be in charge of zoning and student housing. We will directly affect the students who attend the university here, and they need to put the right people in to represent them.”
Baca: “There is this idea right now that young people are not being heard. The first thing that can stop this is by getting out and voting. It is important to remember to hold the people you vote in accountable throughout their term. If not, we will lose our values, and the Constitution that was created to protect us will be lost.”
Bowcutt: “This is one of the few countries in the world that you get to vote. Whoever is elected will affect the students and their futures.”
Dunn: “Students need to have their voices represented. There is a status quo right now dealing with voting where only the older majority votes. We need to have more diversity at the polls, and if students voted, that would help a lot.”
Randall: “The most important vote you can participate in is local city elections. This is the level of government that matters because codes and ordinances are passed that affect everyday life.”
Does the success of the university and the city influence each other?
McArthur: “When the city doing is good, the school is doing good. When the city is doing bad, the school is doing bad. They go hand-in-hand. When the school wanted to change their name, I fought hard to keep Dixie in the title because, to me, Dixie means unifying the community and making us all one.”
Pike: “DSU is the catalyst for economic development in the city. I think our biggest problem is that St. George is not considered a university town, and that is hurting us. If more businesses come because of the growth of the university, it will help the town grow as well.”
Baca: “If we work with the university to make more degrees, it will help the business in St. George and hopefully make students who graduate want to stay here. A big problem that is holding the school and the city back is zoning codes that are in place right now, and I want to take another look at them.”
Bowcutt: “Dixie State is a big money maker for the city. If we help the university grow, the city will be able to grow and expand as well.”
Dunn: “We want the university to do well and reach the goals they have set. We also want the student body to succeed here in St. George. The rules that have been set by the city have been kind of an adversity for city growth.”
Randall: “The city starts to grow when you start to focus on getting businesses to come that will positively affect the community. We want businesses that will allow students who graduate to stay in St. George and have a job.”