HILDALE — Two current City Council members hope to regain their seats, while a few local celebs set their sights on winning the upcoming election.

According to the stats provided by the World Population Review, Hildale has a current growth of 2.67% in population. However, the city has seen growth of 8.18% since 2020.

This year, three City Council seats are up for election and are currently held by Lawrence Barlow, J’Var Dutson and Brigham Holm. While Barlow and Dutson seek re-election, Holm has moved out of the city limits and is ineligible for candidacy.

Meanwhile, four local community leaders have filed their candidacy and seek to fill seats on the City Council to govern one of the fastest-growing economies within the state.

The four residents seeking to be elected are Luke Merideth, Darlene Stubbs, Derick Holm and Jared Nicol.

What follows are candidates’ bios and their responses to questions asked by St. George News.

The incumbents

Hildale City Council Incumbent Lawrence Barlow is running to be a voice for the city’s people this election, Location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Lawrence Barlow, St. George News

Lawrence Barlow

Barlow was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Hildale City Council and has served on the City Council for six years.

Born and raised in the Hildale area, he has served his community for over 30 years in various volunteer capacities.

He completed his paramedic training at Utah Tech University (then Dixie College) and attended numerous trade schools and certification courses in healthcare, emergency communications, incident management and vocational skills including truck driving, traffic engineering and safety management.

He helped re-establish the GOP Caucus presence in the community and re-engage the community in elections.

What is the top primary city issue you are concerned with?

“I was instrumental in creating and submitting to the federal court a constructive solution for the city and am passionate in my defense of the process to establish a true Representative government for all the citizens of Hildale.

“My working knowledge and passion for the area give me the ability to advocate for solutions that are considered the best outcome for the entire community.”

Two other issues he feels are a high priority include water source development and economic development.

What makes Hildale so important to you?

“Hildale has the gift of reset of culture, population, economy and government. This unique opportunity affords us the ability to set 100 years of vision and goals leveraging all the wisdom and experience of our community partners. I can see the day that Hildale will be a beautiful front door to Utah. We will live up to our motto of ‘Welcome Home.’”

Hildale City Council Incumbent J’Var Dutson is running to be a voice for the city’s people this election, Hildale, Utah, July 12, 2023 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

J’Var Dutson

Dutson has served on the Hildale City Council for six years now.

A resident of the Short Creek area for 55 years, he is 67 years old, married and considers himself a Conservative Republican.

He attended Utah Tech University (then Dixie College) and has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University (formerly Southern Utah State College) in business management.

He has worked in the construction contracting industry for 49 years and has been in supervision and management. He operates his own business. He has served on the Hildale-Colorado City Utility Board for five years, previously before his current position on the City Council.

What is the top primary city issue you are concerned with?

“I have been involved in building infrastructure in our local area, and many of our neighboring towns and cities, and look forward to making good decisions in working with our council and constituents, in making continued progress on our water, sewer, and gas systems, roads, curbs, gutters and sidewalks, for the betterment and future of our community.”

Other notable issues include staying within the budget, staying on top of taxes and continuing to move the city forward.

What makes Hildale so important to you?

“I have lived here and been part of the building up of our communities since incorporation and have seen the improvements that have been given by us as volunteers through sweat and tears to build up the towns from its inception.

“I will use this experience to continue building up and remembering all that has been given in the past and look forward to using my continued business experience
on matters of Council to continue in the conservative voice and values I hold dear.”

The challengers

Hildale City Council Challenger Darlene Stubbs is running to be a voice for the city’s people this election, Location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Darlene Stubbs, St. George News

Darlene Stubbs

Stubbs was born in Hildale and grew up in Colorado City, Arizona.  She moved out of Short Creek at age 15, later attended Utah Tech University (formerly Dixie State University) and graduated with an associate’s degree. She moved back to the Short Creek area after 15 years.

Along with being heavily involved in community organizations and events, she serves on multiple local nonprofit boards and is an administrator of social media pages for local job postings and the Short Creek Running Club.

She has been the parade director for the Fourth of July parade for seven consecutive years. She’s also a member of the airport advisory board and co-founded the local Fly-In airshow. She arranged a local symposium for the high school students and airport tours each year, emphasizing her support of schools and youth. She added she hosts the cemetery cleanup.

She was a write-in candidate in 2021.

What is the top primary city issue you are concerned with?

“A cohesive, informed, professional, efficient, and transparent city council is mandatory. The people need to be educated in the actions of the government at all times.”

Other issues of priority she said include promoting youth sports, controlling tourism, better animal control services, maintaining water rights and keeping the reputation of the city.

What makes Hildale so important to you?

“My love for our hometown runs deep, and, should my run be successful, I look forward to representing the people and places that continue to help build me. I want to help encourage and showcase the significant growth our communities are experiencing in terms of perspective and quality of life, and keep helping create opportunities to bring our communities together.”
Hildale City Council Challenger Luke Merideth is running to be a voice for the city’s people this election, Location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Luke Merideth, St. George News

Luke Merideth

Merideth grew up in the Phoenix, Arizona, area but moved to Hildale three years ago after working with the Dream Center since 2017. He is currently the director of the nonprofit organization. After serving five years in the Navy, he now works within the industries of mental health and victim resources within the community. He serves on the Southwest Behavioral Health Coalition and has degrees in business and counseling.

He said he is actively promoting local businesses as he is a member of the board of the UZONA Chamber of Commerce.

He has served two years as the Hildale District 1 County and State Delegate, helping vote on behalf of Hildale in state elections and issues regarding jurisdiction and legislative actions.

He is active in promoting youth recreation as the Water Canyon High School wrestling coach.

What is the top city issue you are concerned with?

“Small-town government transparency is essential to maintain accountability and uphold the trust of our citizens. Implementing clear and easily accessible public reporting mechanisms for government activities and expenditures, ensuring that our taxpayers can easily monitor how their money is being utilized.”

He said his belief in the well-being of the community means maintaining a place of good health, both mentally and physically, and a happier lifestyle.

He said other important issues are the infrastructure needs of the city to maintain necessities such as roads and monitoring spending.

What makes Hildale so important to you?

“My love for this community translates to a desire to serve in any way I can. My work at the Dream Center is dedicated full time to the needs of the community, and I would be honored to translate my civic and government experience to being a voice on the city council.”

Hildale City Council Challenger Jared Nicol is running to be a voice for the city’s people this election, Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Jared Nicol, St. George News

Jared Nicol

Nicol is not a new face to the Hildale elections. He was a former member of the City Council but dropped out of re-election in 2021 to take care of personal issues.

He was born in Midvale and moved to the community 8 1/2 years ago. He said his father, being a city councilman for Midvale, was a big inspiration to him in being involved within the community and government. He has five children and two great-grandchildren. He has been in the real estate industry for 30 years and is a certified paramedic. He says he considers himself both a “Reagan Republican” and a “Trump Republican.”

What is the top primary city issue you are concerned with?

“I believe government should be based on honest and fair deliberations that are free from threats, favoritism, undue influence, and any other form of impropriety.

“The most pressing issue I see for the city is having leadership … wanting and demanding transparency and disclosures from all city officials and staff. We should not allow big decisions to be made outside of the public eye and we should not allow backdoor deals of any kind.

“We also need to have leaders who will put the main focus on the residents of Hildale City. The council needs to band together and not allow the mayor and staff to spend most of their time and resources on items with personal connections while other items get postponed and forgotten. It is important to be aware and involved with the main issues in our neighboring cities, but Hildale City should be the focus and top priority of the mayor and the City Council.

“The current administration focuses time and resources on many personal ventures that originate outside of Hildale (and outside of Utah) as the city continues to have the same issues with no clear plan or resolution.”

Other issues, he said, include seizing business planning power back to the city from “outside of the community” organizations and businesses, as well as ensuring the government is following the city’s general plan.

What makes Hildale so important to you?

“Hildale City is one of the most unique and wonderful places not only in Utah but in the United States of America and the world. I love living here and I am blessed to have raised my children in such a beautiful and amazing place. It is important that we have the best foundation we can and that we get it right.

“The government of Hildale City is still pushing forward slowly and will soon hit its stride. We need to make sure we have all the kinks worked out, so we don’t fall back to where we were in 2017. The promise is there, and I will work my hardest to make sure we achieve it.”

Hildale City Council Challenger Derick Holm is running to be a voice for the city’s people this election, Location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Derick Holm, St. George News

Derick Holm 

Holm is running again for City Council after running in the 2021 election. In his late 20s, he is the youngest candidate on the ballot. He was born and grew up in Hildale. He moved to North Dakota for four years before moving back about six years ago.

He has two children elementary school age and younger.

He is a stucco contractor and has been a member of the local Planning Commission for the last four years. He grew up in the private schooling industry and has been a manual laborer all of his life.

What is the top primary city issue you are concerned with?

“Open space and being conservative. I don’t want to see our town transform too fast. I am not against growth and all that, but I don’t want to lose that small-town, home-sweet-home feeling. We need to be conservative and be as fair as possible with people.”

He said he wants to see more pull on the “dark skies” policy to preserve the ability to see the stars at night. He said that means prioritizing less artificial lighting and reducing light pollution as the city grows. He also mentioned water management as a priority.

What makes Hildale so important to you?

“I feel like we are the free-est city. I feel so comfortable here. It is very low crime, very safe and neighborly. It is a wonderful place to be. I want to keep it that way and that is why I don’t want it to grow too fast.”

Election information

The mail-out ballots have been sent out and election-day guidelines have been announced by Washington County. Hildale City can drop off mailed-out ballots at the Hidale Library located at 440 E. Newel Ave. The library is open Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The nearest voting center for Elections Day on Nov. 21 is Hurricane Community Center located at 63 S. 100 West in Hurricane. The voting times are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, click here for the Voter Guide to 2023 Elections in both Iron and Washington Counties.

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