Candidates for Logan’s upcoming municipal election discussed how council members can balance responsibility to their constituents with being conscious of how their decisions impact the entire county at a meet-the-candidate event on Monday evening.
“We do have to take care of our citizens, but we live in a bowl,” said Tom Jensen, one of the incumbents on the ballot. “We breathe the air. The air doesn’t know where the boundary lines are and neither do tourists and neither do businesses, in many cases.”
Candidate Abraham Verdoes shared this same idea of taking care of Logan’s residents while being a good neighbor. As Logan strives to keep up with the changes happening in the valley, he said these relationships will be an important tool.
“Obviously we need to build consensus where we can, but we can’t let that delay implementing solutions in a timely manner,” Verdoes said.
Jeannie Simmonds, one of the other incumbents in the race, said one example of Logan’s leadership role in the county is the recent discussion on plastic waste management. Because Logan wanted to ban single-use plastic bags within its boundaries, this led to all the communities in the valley discussing a more extensive plan to manage plastic waste.
“Each community is independent and they each have their own desire to be what they want to be,” Simmonds said. “So we have to be mindful of that as well and try to work for solutions that are better for the entire county with Logan city always thinking first.”
Many of the candidates discussed how the relationship between the city and the surrounding communities needs to be a mutually beneficial one. As a downtown business owner, candidate Mark Anderson said it is shoppers who come to Logan from other parts of the valley that help businesses like his thrive.
“They depend on what services Logan provides, and we depend on them coming and spending some money here,” Anderson said.
Another issue the candidates discussed was how to ensure the city continues to develop positive relationships with the community at Utah State University.
“Most of us would probably not be here if it were not for the university in some fashion,” said candidate Ken Heare. As an Adams neighborhood resident, Heare said he knows how the student community relationship can be challenging and that regular meetings to discuss the needs of each group could be helpful.
Candidate Keegan Garrity shared how he has seen ideas from the university benefit the city as a whole, such as the fruit gleaning project, which helps families in need get access to produce that would go to waste, and Aggie Blue Bikes.
“I’m trying to imagine what Logan would be like if it didn’t have the university and it wouldn’t be as fresh and lively as a city,” Garrity said.
Most of the candidates mentioned how working to better integrate the students into the city could be a good next step in improving the USU/Logan relationship.
“Functionally, we work together very well,” Simmonds said. “I think the students feel like they are not full residents of the community and they don’t participate downtown as much as I would like them to be able to. In many ways they sort of float through our lives, and we would love to have them be more a part of the fabric of our community because it makes our community that much better.”