By Ed Wallace, Publisher, Sep 3, 2023

Donation and expenditure disclosures for each city council candidate were released last week. You can see the official documents from the City of St. George by clicking on the link. Two candidates were disqualified for not returning their forms by the deadline. We now have 14 candidates.

It’s important to look carefully at each candidate’s donations. It’s not hard to figure out who the “Good Ol’ Boys” club is supporting. Four of the top five candidates with the most donations seem to have a very high opinion of themselves and have contributed heavily to their own campaigns.

On that link you can see a crude report filled out by each candidate…. that’s all the City requires.

Steve Kemp lent himself $10,000 out of $34,325 – appx 29%

Steven Jennings provided $16,000 out of $25,525 – appx 63%

Jimmy Hughes/Hughes Mortuary gave himself $16,783.77 out of $17, 203.77 – appx 97%

Matt Heaton/Optmistic Endeavors (His LLC) provided $16,799 out of $24,218 – appx 69%

One has to wonder why they would do that for a $20,000 a year job?

Nationally, the answer to that question is well known:

In the past several decades, the motive of a Republican or Democrat politician advancing their influence by running for political office has absolutely nothing to do with representing the interests of the American people. Nothing. Their interests are to engage within the business of politics, while presenting themselves as qualified actors to retain the premise of political service.  This is why a senatorial candidate will spend $10 million to win an office that only pays between $16,950 to $794,210 a year, with the top 86% making $794,210.

The business of buying, selling and controlling policy, is the core operation of people within the US political system.

Of course, that could never happen here.

In my opinion, a Spectrum editorial published back in May by Warren Wright, a resident of St. George, nails it: Entitled “The growth machine is doing its work on St. George and Washington County”, Wright writes:

“Business dealings were going well for the buyers and sellers, but not necessarily for “society as whole.” I found that our local Growth/Promotion Machine and Tourist Industry (GPMTI), pretty much had a monopoly on the major decision-making here in the St. George-Metro area — being the real power brokers, and sort of a “mutual admiration society.” … It seems back around 1970 changes began to take place. Instead of a “Protectorate,” land speculators, money-changers and promoters began having visions of dollars dancing in their heads and priorities changed to that of exploit rather than protect…. The common good has almost always been of secondary consideration to worshiping the false idols of money, prestige and notoriety…. The majority of residents here in Dixie don’t get giddy over every new scheme or event that comes down the pike and only brings more people, traffic congestion and increased social problems. Tens of millions of dollars have been foolishly spent over the years enticing people to visit and relocate here.”

The following graphic below shows the ranking candidates in total campaign donations.