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COMMISSION SEATS: UTAH COUNTY

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Commission seat A (Republican)

Malcolm Beck is the current chairman of the Utah County Commission.A two-term commissioner, Beck has served in county government since 1988. He previously served as an American Fork city councilman and as that city's mayor.

With his fellow commissioners, Beck supports a nine-point plan to reduce emissions and meet the federal standards, and he opposes mandates from the Environmental Protection Agency that he said would be a needless burden on Utah County taxpayers.

In Beck's two terms as commissioner, the county has benefited from having a balanced budget and reduced county taxes. Consequently, the county has prospered more than any other in one of the most prosperous states in the United States, he said.

Beck, who worked for U.S. Steel for 30 years, is retired. As commissioner, he is a full-time public servant, he said.

"Since I've been in office, I've been giving to it full time," Beck said. "I have no outside business interests or anything else going on. I'm here in this office all the time."

In addition, he supports the 20-year-old "gentleman's agreement" that ensures equal representation from the county's north and south ends, as well as its midsection. Beck lives in American Fork.

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Additional Information:

Commission seat A (Republican)

Jerry D. Grover last ran for county commissioner, albeit unsuccessfully, against Gary Herbert as an independent candidate in 1992.

Grover, a senior environmental engineer at Geneva Steel, said the major issues facing the county are air quality and having qualified, competent officials in office.

Air and environmental quality are his areas of expertise. He said he already brought up possible solutions being proposed by the commission, including installing a remote-sensing program and eliminating oxygenated fuels.

While county commissioners say they're pleased with decisions they've made that have left the county richer and lower-taxed than most of its counterparts, Grover said they have left the job half-done.

According to Grover, the county could save nearly $7 million if the federal government were forced to pay taxes and other fees it exempts itself from. Those savings would allow the county to eliminate fees and taxes, including motel and restaurant taxes, he said.

A Provo resident, Grover also criticizes the current county political system, which allows commissioners, who are paid nearly $50,000 per year, to show up for meetings only once per month.

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C. Thomas Anderson has served as a member of the Alpine City Council since 1991.

The owner and broker of Alpine Park Realty, Anderson also previously served on both the Alpine Planning Commission and the Utah County Planning Commission, including stints as chairman of each.

"I understand growth and building," he said. "That knowledge and experience is needed to maintain our quality of life."

According to Anderson, county leaders have been allowing growth outside of cities and towns, creating an "urban sprawl" similar to that in Salt Lake County.

"We're supposed to be doing the opposite down here," he said. "Growth should start in the cities, rather than having the outside growth and have them become cities."

Also, he said he would like to see a "clean and well-maintained" Utah Lake that would be an asset to Utah County. He voiced concern about several businesses that are operating on the lake's west side.

"We've got to change the way things are going," Anderson said. "Without changes, we're not going to have any improvement."

He also supports the contention by commissioners that the commission should include members from different areas of the county.

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Robert W. Stringham stepped down from his post as the Utah County Democratic Party chairman to seek the County Commission seat.

Stringham has previously run for several offices, including an unsuccessful bid in 1988 to unseat former Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah.

Rather than run for his fourth term as party chairman, he said, he decided to run for commission and "bring some balance into local politics.

"There are no checks and balances here," Stringham said. "Politicians have been operating behind closed doors."

He said that there are "tremendous problems in Utah County," including questionable actions by officials in the Utah County Planning and Zoning Department, the Utah County attorney's office and the Utah County Health Department.

Stringham still faces 16 charges of communications fraud, a second-degree felony, and an additional charge of racketeering stemming from incidents that occurred between February 1990 and February 1993.

Stringham said he believes the charges are an effort on the part of an individual or individuals in the Utah County attorney's office to keep him from running for public office.

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Commission seat B (Republican)

David J. Gardner is a relative newcomer to politics. This is his first attempt at public office.

Gardner served as chairman of the Utah County Family Life Conference for three years and as a therapist for the Utah County Council on Drug Abuse Rehabilitation.

"The obligation and goal of every public servant should be to make specific aspects of life easier for those he or she serves," Gardner said. "It doesn't really matter what a person's particular job is. Public officials must listen carefully to people's concerns and then help make their jobs easier."

On the issues of county growth and crime, he said that proper management is critical.

"Management of the systems that support our growth is essential. We must have a long-term plan to manage growth if we are to maintain the quality of life we have created in Utah County. We must also act now to stop gangs from further infiltrating our schools and communities. Maintaining and supporting family values is the key to a safe community."

He also said that county officials must fight needless interference from state and federal government.

"EPA regulations, restricted land uses and oxygenated fuels are all examples of excessive government mandates," Gardner said. "Alternatives must be found that will return control to the people of Utah County."

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Richard A. Johnson is serving his first term on the County Commission.

Johnson, who stepped down from the Nebo School Board in 1990 to run for the commission, pledged to continue his efforts to reduce taxes, increase employment and economic development and maintain a high standard of living for Utah County residents.

"I'm committed to continue in the direction we've taken in the past several years," he said. "That direction has seen no county tax increase in the past four years, the lowest per capita spending for county government in the state, the lowest unemployment rate in Utah and the highest per capita growth in economic development of any county in the nation."

He opposes federal intrusion into county issues. "We don't need Washington telling us what is good and bad for us," he said, referring to the air-quality issue.

A Benjamin resident, Johnson favors the current "gentlemen's agreement" that guarantees equal representation of county areas on the commission.

"The best way to serve everyone is have everyone represented," he said. "County government works best when we have representation from the north, south and central parts of the county like we have now. With the other two commissioners coming from the central and north parts of the county, we have a team that works well together."