Two Cache County officials moving on from local government service reflected on civic engagement at an open house in Logan on Friday.
After a decade of serving and working for Cache County, Jon White officially retired from Cache County Council, while former-Cache County Executive Craig Buttars has started his new role as the interim-Commissioner of Agriculture and Food for Utah.
Despite all of the political unrest and national division, Utah, and especially Cache County, have been largely sheltered from the chaos and violence seen in the nation’s capitol.
“In fact, Governor Cox issued a statement in his inauguration that we can be a beacon to the country,” Buttars said. “Our state government can actually be a beacon to the country, and to the national government, on how to come to a solution.”
Both White and Buttars look fondly on their time serving in local government — in fact, they encourage more involvement at the local level rather than the focus on Washington D.C.
“A lot of these solutions that are going to happen with the adversity we have in the country are going to take place in our neighborhoods,” Buttars said. “That’s where we’re going to see solutions to the problems our country has, through sitting down with people, talking and finding solutions to problems.”
Buttars served on the Cache County Council from 2009-2015, when he was elected the Cache County Executive. But even before then, he’d served as a state legislator representing Cache County and its rural interests.
White, the former mayor of Paradise, has served on the council since 2009, but chose to retire as a self-imposed term limit. He said serving the community, especially through councils and official positions “is a family tradition,” as his father and grandfather had both served as mayors before him.
“I think everybody should (get involved),” he said. “It’s like I say: If you don’t like what’s happening, change it. Don’t be one that just always complains.”
White added the most positive change comes from serving within the community.
“You get your eyes opened up when you actually get in there, do service and try to help somebody,” he said. “I don’t care whether it’s Boy Scouts, I don’t care where you serve, just get involved.”
Part of what made their time in the county more enjoyable was everyone’s ability to compromise and work together “to make this a better place to live,” White said, and Buttars agreed.
“I’ve tried to get all parties together to talk and decide what’s the best route to move forward,” Buttars said. “We need to have people who are willing to compromise when appropriate.”
Both Buttars and White said of their time serving the community and county, the approval of the Cache Water District in November 2016 was one of their biggest achievements.
“This county depends on water,” White said, especially due to the need for successful farming and agriculture.
Both Buttars and White have grown up farming and been in the agricultural business, so preserving that facet of the county has been a goal for each of them.
Buttars and White also said they were proud of getting the Cache County Event Center built, which opened in September 2018 and now serves as a gathering place at all times of the year.