The campaign for Washington County Commissioner has been unusual this year, not only for its energy, but also because of the civility with which Alan Gardner and I have conducted our campaigns while explaining our different visions for the county's future.
On Thursday, October 30th, Naghi Zeenati, Gardner's brother-in-law, circulated an email that broke from this civil dialogue. Because Zeenati's email includes numerous inaccuracies and false claims which do not reflect well on him or Gardner, I wish to set the record straight.
Zeenati inaccurately claims that I have raised thousands of dollars "from environmentalists all over the country" and will be beholden to their agendas. I have, in fact, made thousands of fundraising requests during this campaign, mostly among County residents. From my requests, a total of 325 contributions have been received. 78% of them are from Washington County, 9% from the rest of Utah and 11% from outside Utah. Only 5 organizations contributed, all were businesses, and none were environmental groups. All candidates' financial disclosure forms are available at the Utah Lieutenant Governor's website for verification.
To launch my campaign fundraising effort in August, I solicited contributions from everyone I know. Zeenati's claim of "thousands of dollars" raised from environmental groups is incorrect. Six individuals who work for 5 different environmental groups contributed a total of $675 from their own personal funds. This is less than 2% of the total raised. Zeenati's suggestion that I do or would owe my allegiance to any environmental group is unfounded.
Zeenati suggests that my promise to "protect our beloved red rock playground" is somehow disloyal to "the interests and needs of local people." My accomplishments show that I understand the clear connection between protecting our signature landscapes and sustaining the tourism and housing industries that depend on these landscapes. Realtors, land developers and contractors know that beautiful scenery translates into money in the bank. My skills and experience can help find the needed balance to protect the best remaining scenery so real estate professionals can continue putting money in the bank years for years to come.
Zeenati says that I advocate for "stunting the economic life of Washington County" by shifting economic vitality to Kane County that would otherwise reach Washington County. Zeenati did not mention my plan for expanding Washington County's economy by helping us become the Solar Power Capitol of Utah. This economic diversification is critical to refocusing and strengthening our recession-prone, construction-dependent economy.
In 2007/08, I led the campaign against the ill-conceived and health-reducing Toquop Coal Plant. After the community—and Representative Dave Clark—stood behind my position, Alan Gardner switched from pro-Toquop to anti-Toquop.
My track record shows a long history of making our lives better through community service. My loyalty to the interests and needs of our community is clear. This is my "real agenda."
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