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Tooele features 3 legislative races

SHARE Tooele features 3 legislative races

In Tooele County there are two candidates in each race to represent Senate District 13, House District 1 and House District 21.

Incumbent Rep. Eli Anderson, a Democrat, is being challenged for the House District 1 seat by Republican Allen Gardner. The area is primarily Republican, but Anderson has been in office for three terms and is seeking a fourth.The House District 21 race features Rep. James R. Gowans, the Democratic incumbent, and challenger Jeff McNeill, the Republican challenger. Gowans, a former Tooele County schools superintendent, is seeking his fourth term, running against McNeill, the county GOP chairman.

Former Rep. Merrill Nelson, a Republican who won a House race years ago, is running against Democrat Ron Allen for the Senate spot. Senate District 13 includes all of Tooele County and part of western Salt Lake County. Information on the state Senate candidates was published in Thursday's Deseret News.

The Deseret News sent questionnaires to each candidate and, when necessary, followed up with phone calls to find out where candidates stood on a variety of issues.

In the Tooele County races, only Gowans did not respond to the questionnaire or phone calls.

The questions included such things as whether candidates thought the sales tax on food should be repealed and whether they want the school day lengthened in order to increase graduation requirements..

The candidates also were asked to identify the three key issues they see facing the state.

Complete questionnaire responses from legislative candidates who submitted their responses via the World Wide Web can be found online at the Deseret News home page.


Incumbent Eli Anderson, a Democrat from Tremonton, is being challenged for the House District 1 seat by Allen Gardner, a Republican from Mendon. Anderson is seeking his fourth term.

The district includes north and western parts of Box Elder County, parts of Tooele County (except areas around Tooele, Grantsville and Stansbury), and west-central Cache County.

Both Anderson and Gardner oppose longer school days and both note that polygamy is against laws already on the books in Utah. Anderson is open to the idea of repealing the sales tax on food but wants to be sure this won't harm local governments and the state. Gardner wants the tax repealed but thinks some state income tax monies should be used during a three-year transition period.

They are divided on the Legacy Highway: Gardner doesn't want it, Anderson "strongly supports" the proposed corridor.

In this district, Gardner wants substantial improvements for Highway 30 (Valley View Road), which he said is dangerous because it is narrow and lacks passing lanes yet carries plenty of traffic.

Said Anderson: "Valley View Road is one of many state highways that are being reviewed by a committee that also is looking at whether to turn them back to the counties. I would support a project to make improvements on Valley View Road."

Eli Anderson (D)

Address: 8790 W. Highway 102, Tremonton

Age: 43

Occupation: Quality analyst at Thiokol and farmer.

Personal: Married to the former Carol Richards; five children ages 11 to 21.

Experience: Served three terms in the Legislature, including service on several standing and appropriations committees. A member of the Native American Legislative Liaison Committee, the Utah Seed Council, Box Elder County Extension Advisory Board and was wagon master for the Utah Centennial Wagon Train.

Major issues facing Utah: 1. Growth and open space. We need to look at ways to make information available to local governments so the way Utah looks 20-30 years from now is the way we want it to look, with appropriate open-space planning and preservation of prime farm land. 2. Education. Utah ranks low nationally as far as dollars expended per pupil, and we need to work on that. I've supported classroom size reduction efforts. If we get children started off better, then it will pay great dividends. 3. Transportation. I strongly support the Legacy Highway. To take care of the ever-increasing growth along the Wasatch Front, we need a corridor that can move transportation.

Qualifications: I've got six years of experience in the Legislature. I have made myself very accessible to my constituency and have regular town meetings throughout the district. I also have been in the farming business for 22 years and have several years of experience in business administration.

Allen Gardner (R)

Address: P.O. Box 340, Mendon

Age: 72

Occupation: Runs private weed control business; retired as Cache Valley weed control supervisor; former farmer.

Personal: Married to the former Win Filpula; eight children, 42 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Served in Marine Corps in World War II.

Experience: Ran for mayor and lost, but attends city and county meetings regularly. Dealt with many government agencies as county weed supervisor. Experienced volunteer with literacy tutoring and training programs, Boy Scouts, PTA and Utah Historical Society. As a couple, served an LDS Church mission in South Carolina and Georgia.

Major issues facing Utah: 1. Water conservation and management. Water programs for the Bear River Basin are in the planning stages now and District 1 citizens deserve a voice in these decisions. I have experience in water research and planning programs. 2. Transportation. Highway 30 needs improvements and we need a west-side bypass through Box Elder, Davis and through Tooele counties. 3. Growth. Should be studied from perspectives of planning, zoning, education, land preservation and individual autonomy.

Qualifications: I have more experience and time than my opponent because I own my own business. I am available to work with constituents and have established a toll-free phone number for them.


Republican challenger Jeff McNeill wants to do something no candidate has done in the past eight years, beat Democratic incumbent James Gowans.

McNeill has strong views on topics ranging from preserving open spaces to a proposed nuclear waste storage facility in Tooele County. He would like to take his views to the Utah House of Representatives.

Gowans believes he's done a good job in his four terms and would like to return.

District 21 includes the Tooele County communities of Tooele, Grantsville, Stockton and Stans-bury Park.

Jeff McNeill (R)

Address: 3947 N. Rail Road Circle, Grantsville

Age: 38

Occupation: Construction contractor.

Family: Married with four children.

Political experience: Served on the Tooele County Sheriff's Advisory Board; was chairman of Tooele County's Republican Party.

Why are you more qualified: "I am proactive. I will get things done and not just wait in the wings to see them done. My experience as a businessman who deals with government regulations each day gives me insight as a legislator."

Goshute plan to build a nuclear waste facility: Supports the plan as long as it doesn't pose a safety threat. The revenue it would bring could benefit Tooele County residents.

Major issues: Preserve open spaces and prevent state government from getting too big.

Legacy Highway: Supports the plan but isn't sure which route he favors. Feels west Davis highway should be a toll road.

Olympics: No more tax dollars at all should go to support the Games.

James Gowans (D)

Gowans did not return the questionnaire the Deseret News sent to him.