In a town hall setting at the Alumni House on Southern Utah University’s campus, the candidates first answered questions given from a moderator, followed by an impromptu question and answer period in which each candidate had an opportunity to ask a question to one of their contenders. The debate then wrapped up with questions from the audience and finally closing statements.
The candidates often parroted each other’s opinions as they debated various issues. With the economy still unstable and Cedar City struggling to increase the job base, candidates Maile Wilson, Holly Porter and Cedar City Councilman John Black agreed the primary concerns for the upcoming city council should be the budget, growth, infrastructure and creating additional employment opportunities.
Having worked as a councilman for several years, Black said he knew first hand the issues facing the city and would like to see the new administration continue on in the same direction as the previous one.
“We have maintained a strong and balanced budget even with the downturn in the economy,” Black said. “There’s a lot of cities that can’t say the same. I would like to see that continue.”
Black also expressed concerns over the potential federal sequestian currently hitting other areas of government.
In a private discussion after the debate, Black elaborated on what the sequester could mean for Cedar City.
“We have got to be careful. There are already other areas like the military that are experiencing cutbacks because of the sequester,” he said. “It hasn’t come to us yet but it was a topic of discussion at the last legislative session. We need to be aware of this and prepare for it because there are some things in this community, like the airport, that the sequester could have a major impact on.”
Wilson, who has worked in Washington D.C. in several capacities, shared her experience with nonprofit groups and bringing budgets into compliance with the law.
“The goal is to increase profits and decrease liabilities,” Wilson said, referring to what she would focus on in the budget if elected mayor.
In a question where the candidates were asked to describe two of their core personal values Porter started off the answers.
“Oh that’s easy -- honesty and integrity,” she said. “I will not stray away from these core values. In my real estate business I would rather walk away from a million dollar commission than to compromise my integrity.”
The other two candidates echoed Porter’s sentiments stating these same principles were key in their lives.
Another question posed was whether the candidates believed the current taxes in Cedar City were high and if elected, would they decrease them or leave them as is. They had to explain their answers.
Black said he felt taxes were never appropriate but that the city had to provide services and with those services came a price tag.
Wilson again reiterated her experience and said, if elected, she would go line by line through the budget to look at ways to save money and in turn, reduce taxes.
First joking she had never seen government cut taxes and that she would love to see that happen, Porter went on and said if elected, she would also look at more ways the city could save money.
Additional issues discussed included growth and infrastructure in which the candidates all stated they wanted to see the area grow with more retail and manufacturing industry. They also all agreed infrastructure was important however, diverted somewhat in what area they believed was the most important.
Citing outdated equipment for police and firefighters, Wilson said she believed increasing and updating the city’s technology was paramount to the future.Black talked about finishing the trail system while Porter said she would add to the list of her opponents with water and roads.
In the segment of the debate in which the candidates directed a question to each other, Porter asked Black to elaborate on his experience in the private sector he had mentioned earlier. She admitted she didn’t know he had any as his campaign literature only lists government jobs.
Black listed some of his employment through the years including, his experience office manager both for a car dealership and local engineering company.
For Black’s question, he quizzed Wilson on her knowledge of the budget by asking her what she believed were the most important items in the budget. Wilson didn’t directly answer the question but instead said, she would like to see where the money is going and making sure it is being spent as budgeted.
Wilson followed up questioning Porter on her busy schedule by asking her whether she had time to carry the position of mayor. Porter described how she had downsized her businesses as well as her personal life with her last child having just graduated from high school.
“I am ready,” Porter said. “I am ready for this job .”
The debate closed with candidates giving their closing statements in which each one lined out why they were the perfect candidate for the job.
The primary election will be held Tuesday Aug. 13. The two candidates still standing after that will go on to the general election in November.
For more information on where the candidates stand on various issues go to