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Iron County Commissioner Jim Robinson is not seeking re-election, leaving the race for his four-year commission seat wide open.

Republicans Tom Cardon and Dennis Stowell face each other in the primary race next Tuesday for the right to meet Democrat Wesley Blake in November.Commissioner Roy "Pug" Urie does not face a primary run-off but will be challenged by A. True Ott in November. In the county assessor's race, incumbent Dennis W. Ayers is being challenged by Jay M. Graff in the primary. Tuesday's winner has no challenger in November.

Tom Cardon, a Cedar City businessman for 38 years, attended Cedar City schools and received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Utah State University in Logan.

Cardon has been involved in numerous civic and church activities. He is a past president of the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce and has served on the Cedar City Council. He has also been involved in the Utah Summer Games, has been chairman of the Cedar City Business Association and the Cedar City Recreation and Youth Committees and has served as the chairman of the Cedar City Airport Committee, of which he is still a board member.

Cardon says the county's biggest issue is growth and environmental issues that are obstacles to growth.

He doesn't believe that the prairie dog, which recently halted the construction of a new post office and the construction of a new furniture company trying to relocate to Cedar City, should be on the endangered list.

"These little animals live where they want to live, and if something happens to bother them, they'll move. We could go out tomorrow and census those animals and we'd find them everywhere," he said.

"There are few farms or pieces of property in the Cedar Valley where you aren't going to find them."

Cardon also says the prairie dog has created havoc at the golf course and nothing can be done because of federal limitations. "We need to get these animals off the endangered list because they are not worthy of being on the endangered list," he said.

Cardon is also concerned about water, saying the Kolob water has been talked about for 40 years or more. Cardon believes that the county needs to make plans and be willing to spend money to develop water sources, including Coal Creek water. "Thirsty Las Vegas is looking for water, and we need to be sure that we protect our rights and not let them come in and take water right out from under our noses," he said.

Cardon says he enjoys listening to the concerns of citizens and he has time to devote to the assignment. "I think I have some expertise to lend to the position, and it has been a while since a businessman has been on this particular governing board. I've had to live with budgets and recession."

He wants to work to lower the current mill levy and says the tax rate concerning commercial property in Cedar City has been re-evaluated and will be increased by 60 percent. Cardon questions the fairness of assessing a piece of property and increasing it 60 percent in five years. "There has got to be a better way to do it than that," he said.

Dennis Stowell, a native of Elko, Nev., graduated from Brigham Young University with a master's degree in chemical engineering. He worked for Martin-Marietta in Oregon and then worked as an engineer for Kennecott in Ely, Nev. He moved to Iron County and purchased his father-in-law's farm in 1980. In 1985, he became the mayor of Parowan, serving for eight years.

Stowell says his experience as Parowan mayor will be valuable if he's elected to the County Commission. He directed the construction in Parowan of a pressurized irrigation system. "The system has gotten rid of the ditches and weeds with the new pipe system and has saved a lot of water for the community," he said.

When Stowell was Parowan mayor, the city generated money through the sale of a block of power to St. George and earned enough revenue to resurface all streets in Parowan.

Stowell was also involved with the natural-gas expansion into Iron County. He served as chairman of the Southern Utah Gas Coalition, which selected the company to bring natural gas to the area.

He also worked on the phone project that approved toll-free service to Parowan from Cedar City.

Stowell says growth continues to be a very important issue for Iron County. He too thinks the prairie-dog issue needs to be addressed by the county. "We need to put some pressure on the governor, on the congressman and on the Fish and Wildlife Service and get the issue resolved."

If we need a habitat conservation plan, then it needs to be spelled out, Stowell says. The county needs some land-use planning to make certain that growth occurs where it's wanted and that it doesn't destroy the agricultural base, he says.

Like Cardon, Stowell feels that water is an important issue. "People are trying to control our water, and water is going to control our growth," he said. "We are going to have a real expensive time bringing water from outside areas. We are going to have to develop our own water. If some of the water that is available to us gets tied up, it will severely limit our growth. We need to control our own destiny," he said.

Stowell says the issue of rural representation on the commission is not an issue with him personally. But, he said, "of course, we hate to lose the seat over here in Parowan. . . . If there is any way to hold on to the seat in Parowan that Jim (Robinson) holds, then we want to do it."

Stowell, who considers himself a conservative, is opposed to tax increases. He believes in economy and efficiency in government. "We need to take a look at any places where government isn't being efficient."

In Parowan, Stowell says he eliminated some of the employees through attrition but didn't cut services. He says his theme is progress with financial responsibility.