Following the lunchtime rush on Tuesday afternoon, people crowded into the back dining area of Angie’s Restaurant to hear Chris Wilson, owner of Wilson Motors, kick off his campaign for Utah Senate District 25.
After his father died nearly four years ago, Wilson said he realized that life is short and felt motivated to get more involved in his community. As president of the New Car Dealers of Utah for the past year, Wilson found himself traveling across Utah making connections, learning about different issues, and wanting to get more involved.
“I knew I needed to give more of my time and resources to this wonderful community that has given me the opportunity to live here and raise my family,” Wilson said, addressing the crowd of nearly 50 people. “I believe that public service isn’t an option. It is vital. And we need better public servants who understand who they serve.”
Running as a Republican candidate, Wilson faces incumbent Lyle Hillyard in the primary election.
“The idea of taking on a 40-year incumbent has made for a lot of sleepless nights but I just felt like it was the right thing to do,” Wilson said prior to the event. “I think it is time for a change. I have some fresh ideas and a fresh approach and I will be able to listen to people.”
Citing the recent tax reform bill, which was sponsored by Hillyard, and a recent controversial tweet from the senator, Wilson said he wants to build a culture of active listening, responding and reacting to the will of the people.
As a member of the Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Alliance, Wilson recognizes the growth that is ahead for the valley and state as a whole and said he will work to attract industries in technology and aerospace and other clean industries and manufacturing companies that will bring high paying jobs to the community.
Hand-in-hand with this effort, Wilson said investing in the younger generations is critical to making growth a success.
“The best way for us to benefit from the investment we make in our children’s education is to give them the employment opportunities that allow them to stay here and raise their own families in this wonderful community and environment we love,” Wilson said. “I want my grandchildren to stay right here. And I think you do as well.”
As Angie’s servers began to pass around fresh scones with honey butter, Patrick Jenkins, a friend of Wilson, shared his hope for the fresh ideas Wilson had to offer and pointed out a table with voter registration cards and signature sheets in the back of the room.
“It is not just one guy running against an incumbent, this is a cause. This is something about democracy that has to happen,” Jenkins said. “To unseat an incumbent is an uphill battle. This gentleman that we are running against has been in office since I was in third grade. It is time to change things.”
Wilson’s family has been longtime friends of Hillyard and Wilson said he appreciates the efforts of the senator but there is a need for someone new to listen to the voices in the district.
“I’m the guy that can do that,” Wilson said. “With the state Senate mantle I can bring people together in a coordinated effort.”
More information about Chris Wilson and his campaign can be found at www.ChrisWilsonUtah.com