Firefighters Battle Blaze in Low-Income Apartments in South Salt Lake; Some Units ‘Completely Gone’

Fire crews responded to an apartment fire near 3800 South and 300 East on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Photo: Gephardt Daily

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah, July 9, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Fire crews from several agencies responded to a fire Sunday at a low-income apartment complex in the area of 3800 South and 300 East.

South Salt Lake Battalion Chief Blaine Daimaru said firefighters arrived to find the second- and third-floor balconies on fire. A second alarm was called when it wasn’t immediately known if all the apartments have been evacuated. He said the heat was another factor in calling the second alarm, because the crews need to rotate so they won’t become dehydrated.

“Access was really tight,” Daimaru said of another challenge firefighters had to face. After the blaze was extinguished, they were still checking for any hot spots because of the size of the complex.

Daimaru said 18 units had to be evacuated and the residents won’t be allowed back in while investigators are still on scene. The cause and origin of the fire have yet to be determined.

Crews from South Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, Unified Fire Authority, West Valley City, Murray and West Jordan responded to the fire.

Daimaru had advice for anyone who is thinking about grilling or shooting off fireworks — anything involving fire: Watch what you’re doing; keep track of everything; and make sure your surroundings can’t become involved. He said to look around and don’t do anything near trees, bushes, or buildings that could be ignited by a spark.

Bob Tuttle is the property manager for the Housing Authority of Salt Lake County, which owns the apartment complex.

Tuttle said the building is “fairly new, so it’s up to code, and good structurally.”

“The thing about our residents,” he said, “is this is low-income property, so most of the people that live here don’t make a lot of money, so it’s going to be very difficult for them to replace a lot of things and put their lives back together.”

Tuttle said at least two units — and possibly more — are “completely gone.”

There were no injuries in the fire, but one resident was transported to the hospital because of respiratory problems aggravated by the smoke.

Tuttle said grilling is a “no-no” in the complex, and the Housing Authority just sent out a notice on Thursday, telling residents that fireworks are not allowed. Apparently someone had been lighting fireworks in the parking lot, he said.

The property is insured, but if the residents don’t have personal insurance, they can lose everything in a fire, Tuttle said.

“We do what we can. You can’t run it like an institution,” he said, referring to the apartment complex. “It’s people’s homes, people’s dwellings.”

Tuttle mentioned the length of time that could be required to gut and rebuild the units that were severely damaged and to make sure the building is structurally sound.

“Given that amount of damage, at least in those two units, we’re looking at, I would say, a month, six weeks, maybe two months. It depends on the condition of the units,” he said.

The Red Cross was called to assist those needing a place to stay for the evening, he said, and, “We’ll find out tomorrow what we’ll be able to do for them as far as extended accommodations, so that they’re not being a drain on the Red Cross if we can help that.”

When asked about the mix of people who live in the complex, Tuttle said, “We have refugees, a lot of chronically homeless individuals who were able to finally get housing through Housing First or Housing Choice vouchers. We have a large Nepali population … Somalia — all over the place — Latin America, Mexico.”

He went on to say, “Some of these people are some of the hardest-working people I know. They have families. A lot of times, the dad works two jobs, the mom works a job. Sometimes the dad watches the kids while the mom goes to work, then the mom comes home and the dad goes to work. When you say ‘low income’ and ‘refugees,’ these people are definitely not a burden on the system. They’re trying to make a contribution and improve their lives.”

Tuttle suggested that anyone who would like to help out may want to make a donation to the Red Cross.

“They can always use donations,” he said, “and some small children might need clothes.”

Then, speaking on behalf of the Housing Authority, he added, “If necessary, we will find housing for these people. That’s our mission, that’s our job. That’s what we do.”

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Real Salt Lake Scores Five Unanswered Goals in 6-2 Victory over Galaxy

Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman, left, is congratulated by teammate Albert Rusnak after scoring a goal against the Galaxy in the first half Tuesday night. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Jefferson Savarino scored two of Real Salt Lake’s five unanswered goals in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Tuesday night.

Real Salt Lake (6-12-2) won at the StubHub Center for the first time since March 8, 2014.

Los Angeles (6-8-4) lost for just the sixth time in 22 matches on July 4 but fell to 1-5-3 at home this season.

RSL had a 2-1 lead at halftime after goals by Albert Rusnak and Kyle Beckerman. In the 36th minute, Rusnak was left uncovered and he took three touches to send it past Clement Diop for a 1-0 lead.

Beckerman was left alone on Rusnak’s corner kick in stoppage time and headed it home.

In the second half, RSL scored four goals in 19 minutes. Yura Movsisyan redirected a cross in the 62nd minute, Savarino drove in a shot from distance in the 72nd and knocked in a rebound a few minutes later, and Joao Plata capped it with an individual effort in the 80th.

Los Angeles scored on Ashley Cole’s close-range shot in the 41st and Bradford Jamieson’s deflected shot in the 89th.

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Usa Fencing to Set New Records at Summer Nationals in Salt Lake, July 1-10

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The 2017 USA Fencing National Championships and July Challenge is set to break new records when the world’s largest fencing tournament comes to Salt Lake City from July 1-10.

The 10-day event will draw an estimated 4,222 fencers from 47 states and 428 clubs. With 8,877 entries approved for the event, the tournament could surpass the 12-day 2014 USA Fencing National Championships as the largest fencing tournament in history.

“Salt Lake City has been a great host to USA Fencing athletes and families at Championships and North American Cups over the last two Olympic cycles and we are pleased to have this opportunity to bring the world’s largest fencing tournament to Utah,” said USA Fencing Senior Director of Operations Christine Strong-Simmons (Colorado Springs, Colo.) “We are so excited to partner with Visit Salt Lake and the Utah Sports Commission to make the Summer Nationals an outstanding experience in the host city for the 2002 Olympic Games.”

Competition will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Halls 1-5 with medals awarded daily. All events are free and open to the public.

Click here to view the complete schedule and preliminary seeding.

“It is great having USA Fencing host its national tournament here in Utah,” said Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. “This event continues to build our brand as ‘The State of Sport’ and we know it will have significant economic impact to our state.”

The USA Fencing National Championships features individual competition in categories from Youth 10 to Veteran +70 with athletes ranging from ages eight to 94. The July Challenge includes Division I, Junior and Cadet individual events as well as a senior team competition. Both tournaments include events in all three weapons: epee, foil and saber.

With the top fencers in the nation competing at the Salt Palace, eight of the 84 events being contested will field more than 200 competitors each. Y14 men’s foil and Junior men’s epee are scheduled to be the largest events of the tournament with 284 and 281 competitors, respectively.

Not only will national titles be awarded in Salt Lake, but the Summer Nationals serves as the final selection tournament for the 2017 Veteran World Championship Team with the top four athletes on the National Team Point Standings in the 50-59, 60-69 and +70 age categories earning the opportunity to represent Team USA.

In addition to the competition taking place in Salt Lake City, nine members of the 2016 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team will be in town to train in preparation for the 2017 Senior World Championships which begin in Leipzig, Germany on July 19. The men’s and women’s foil team as well as the women’s epee team will be training in Salt Lake, including:

Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif. / Men’s Foil), 2016 Olympic individual silver medalist and team bronze medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif. / Men’s Foil), 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist and three-time Senior World medalist Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y. / Men’s Foil), 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist and 2013 Senior World Champion Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Men’s Foil), 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist and 2015-16 Overall World Cup Champion Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / Women’s Epee), 2012 Olympic team bronze medalist and three-time individual Pan American Champion Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / Women’s Epee), 2012 Olympic team bronze medalist and three-time individual Pan American Champion Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky. / Women’s Foil), two-time Olympian and 2011 Senior World bronze medalist Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C. / Women’s Epee), 2016 Olympian and 2015 Pan American Games Team Champion Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y. / Women’s Foil), 2012 Olympian and three-time individual World Cup medalist

The Men’s and Women’s Foil National Teams will be hosting clinics for young fencers on July 7. The next generation of top saber fencers will have a rare opportunity as well when two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) holds a series of clinics between July 7-9.

On July 4, members of the fencing community will celebrate Independence Day at the USA Fencing Hall of Fame Ceremony where Olympians and World Team members will be among those inducted into the 2017 induction class.

Utah also is home to a thriving fencing community with more than 80 athletes from seven clubs competing in their home state.

Among the local athletes to watch are a trio of epee fencers from Schoolhouse Fencing in West Valley City who have each represented Team USA at the Junior and Cadet World Championships. Eighteen-year-old Tatijana Stewart (Ogden, Utah / Junior & Division I) brought home two medals from her debut at the Cadet World Championships in 2016 where she won silver in the individual and gold in the team competition for the best U17 fencers in the world. Wes Johnson (Pleasant View, Utah / Division I) won the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships and went on to earn a fourth place finish at the 2017 Junior Worlds in April. Dylan Nollner (Ogden, Utah / Division I) was the program’s first Junior World Team member, placing in the top 16 in 2012 and going on to earn two-time All-American honors at Duke in 2013 and 2014.

Athletes from Utah Swords Academy Fencing Club, Wasatch Fencing, Utah Fencing Academy, Park City Fencing Academy, JJL Fencing Club and Salle D’ Escrime Utah Valley also will compete in Salt Lake City.

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Poll: Trump Favorability Rating in Utah Drops to 45%

SALT LAKE CITY — Just over half of Utahns view President Donald Trump unfavorably, a slight decline in popularity since March, according to a new UtahPolicy.com poll released Tuesday.

Trump’s favorability rating among Utahns dropped 2 points in the months since the last poll, to 45 percent. Just 16 percent said they have a “very favorable” opinion of the president, compared with 20 percent in March.

Although Utah is one of the most Republican states in the nation, Trump won in 2016 with less than a majority of the vote, 45.5 percent. Republicans in the new poll strongly support him, however, with 70 percent saying they see him favorably.

UtahPolicy.com publisher LaVarr Webb, who writes a column for the Deseret News, said he believes Utahns are responding to the president’s personality, not his policies, and that he hasn’t made promised progress.

“I think Utahns, for the most part, would support his policy positions. But his incessant tweeting and just his narcissistic personality get in the way,” Webb said. “In the campaign, people understood that’s the way he was, but they had hopes he would shake Washington up.”

Trump is also being hurt by the ongoing investigations into allegations there was collusion between his campaign and Russia in the foreign government’s interference with the 2016 election, Webb said.

The poll was conducted May 31-June 5 of 607 registered Utah voters by Dan Jones & Associates for the online political news source and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.

Before the Utah GOP presidential caucus in March 2016, polls showed Utahns would prefer then-Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, over Trump.

A number of Republican leaders were reluctant to back Trump, whose bombastic style, and later his vulgar statements about making advances toward women in a leaked 2005 tape, turned off the state’s voters.

Trump is still doing a little better in Utah than he is in national polling. The most recent average of recent polls calculated by RealClear Politics showed 54.6 percent of Americans gave the president an unfavorable rating.

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Salt Lake Housing Special Deals That Are Available Now

Moving into the Salt Lake area may require you to find housing. You may not have a house or apartment yet. Trying to find a place to live is not that easy. There are many apartments and houses, but you have to find an excellent deal. Most of us are on some type of a budget, therefore you need to be very selective as you are looking at what is available. You should have no problem at all finding these special deals that are available using the following tips.

Where You Find Excellent Salt Lake Housing Deals?

Special deals are almost always available on the web. If you are looking for an apartment, there are apartment finder websites that will showcase the most affordable ones. If you are looking for houses, there are also rental websites for single-family homes. There will be a couple of different ones that you can choose from, and once you have selected a few that are very affordable, it’s time to submit your information. You will soon have the ability to move into either an apartment or a single-family home that you can afford because of the low rent.

Start Your Research Today For Salt Lake Housing

Your housing can be found very quickly using online services. Additionally, you should be able to find several that are in the local paper that are advertising their openings. You can talk directly to people that own the properties, or the apartment manager. They will be able to tell you how to submit your application. As long as you have a job, and you have good credit, you should have no problem getting approved for one of these places to live in Salt Lake City that will be the perfect size for you.

Utah Isn’t Done with Its Lake Powell Pipeline Application — but Wants Trump to Speed up Federal Approval

The letter to the White House was dated March 23; a copy was stamped as received by FERC on June 12.

Con Carroll, a spokesman for Lee, said the delegation felt it was necessary to request expedited treatment to limit the length of the review period once Utah’s application is complete.

Environmental reviews, he said, can be “a lengthy process and often stretch out years, so even though the application is not finished, it was still deemed necessary to put it on the radar of the Trump administration.”

He said he was not aware of any response from the White House. And, he said, he was not sure how the letter to the White House got to FERC.

According to the letter, the pipeline will cost about $1.4 billion to construct, but will generate an economic return of $1.5 billion and $19 billion in sales tax. The delegation also asserts that the pipeline will provide water for about 250,000 current and future residents in a region where demand for water will outstrip supply by 2030.

“The environmental review process has taken 10 years and cost $32 million,” they wrote, an apparent reference to work done by the state of Utah to prepare its submission to FERC.

“It is imperative that the review process be completed by 2018, which will require permitting and completed environmental review from FERC, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation,” the letter said.

Carroll said the delegation asked for the 2018 deadline because one year for an environmental review seemed like a reasonable amount of time.

Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council and a vocal opponent of the pipeline, was quick to point out the irony of the request.

“Left out of the letter is the fact that the Utah agency proposing the pipeline has requested three extensions of time from FERC to delay permitting because of concerns about whether the project is needed,” he said in a statement.

Utah’s Division of Water Resources submitted a project application to FERC in May 2016. However, shortly after filing it, the division said the 6,000-page document contained numerous errors and would require revision.

The state has filed supplementary material revising the application in the year since it was initially submitted and that process is not yet complete, it said Wednesday.

Josh Palmer, a spokesman for the division, said there is as of yet no projected date for the pipeline’s groundbreaking because it’s not clear how much longer it will take to finish the application paperwork.

“While there has been progress, the division is focused on ensuring all of the required paperwork and processes are carried out according to federal statute,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to work with Federal and project partners, as well as the public and interested stakeholders, as the process moves forward.”

A hydroelectric generation component of the pipeline proposal brings the project under FERC purview. Should the commission approve the project, it is anticipated that FERC would use the Lake Powell Pipeline License Application to generate the paperwork necessary to request other environmental permits.

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Utah delegation asks for expedited review of Lake Powell Pipeline by The Salt Lake Tribune on Scribd

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The Division of Water resources has proposed using the Lake Powell Pipeline to pump 86,249 acre-feet of water 140 miles from Lake Powell to St. George. According to the state delegation’s letter, this will “allow the State of Utah to use its legally-allocated portion of the Colorado River.”

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Salt Lake City, UT

West Valley City/Kearns/Taylorsville/Magna sits 9 miles to the west of Salt Lake City. The suburban area consists of large patches of residential developments that contain both single-family homes and apartment complexes. Featuring a suburban feel and designed with drivers in mind, the area attracts families who want an affordable cost of living, a family-friendly lifestyle and a convenient commute into the city.

Explore the Neighborhood

Living in Kearns
Restaurants Restaurants sit along the busy roads of the West Valley City/Kearns/Taylorsville/Magna area. Predominately cheap to mid-price options include Thai, Vietnamese, Latin American and a range of other ethnic restaurants alongside burger joints, pizza parlors and steakhouses. For breakfast, check out Utah’s favorite scones at the Sconecutter. This eatery sells sweet breakfast scones such as the raspberry butter scone, but it also has sandwiches on homemade bread, pita wraps and Navajo tacos. Slurp a thick ice cream or yogurt smoothie with your meal. For dinner, locals enjoy Rincon Salvadoreno. Located next to an apartment complex, this restaurant serves Salvadorian food. If you’ve never tried it before, taste test your way through the combo plate featuring pupusa, tamal empanada, fried plantain and a milk and banana dessert. For evening entertainment, locals head to the Fox Hole, Copper Creek Pub and Grub or one of the other sports bars or brew pubs in the area. Fox Hole sits in a strip mall and has a neon sign in the window declaring “No kids This ain’t Chili’s ” This dive bar has a small crowd of regulars, burgers some rave about while others complain, and cheap drinks. For craft beers in an upscale atmosphere, head to the Copper Creek Pub and Grub. This brew pub welcomes families, has a long list of high quality beers and features a hearty menu of pub grub. For more exciting nightlife options, revelers must leave the suburban area and head to central Salt Lake City for clubs such as Area 51 and The Hotel / Club Elevate. History On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young and his company arrived in Salt Lake City and established the Mormon Church in the area. They named the river running through the area the Jordan River after the Biblical river of the same name. Initially, only a few farms existed west of the river, but Young proposed the west valley would eventually house millions of inhabitants. Although the West Valley City/Kearns/Taylorsville/Magna areas still have yet to reach that number, the area became increasing populated over the years. It experienced booms in the 1920s when paved roads linked the area to SLC and again after WWII as suburban developments emerged in the area. Designed quickly, the area became home to many multifamily developments. For arts and culture, locals head to the Leonardo in Salt Lake City. This museum hosts art and science exhibits, including traveling displays such as Body Worlds and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Transportation West Valley City/Kearns/Taylorsville/Magna residents enjoy free parking spots throughout residential and commercial areas. Highway-201 and Interstate-215 run through the area, providing drivers with convenient access to I-15 into downtown. Buses connect the area to downtown Salt Lake City. Riders can take buses the entire journey, or they can jump on the train from Redwood Junction Station to Temple Square Station. Walkers enjoy safety in the area, but it isn’t a walkable community. For bicyclists, the area has safe streets and dedicated biking paths, and maintaining a 10 mph pace, bicyclists can even commute into the city in less than an hour via the Jordan River Parkway. Cabs and Uber cars serve the area. Rather than trying to hail a ride in the street, call in advance to arrange a ride.
In the Kearns area, residents find a slightly lower cost of living than the metro area average. In this neighborhood, one-bedroom apartments rent for $710 per month, $41 less than the metro average. Taking the bus from the area to Salt Lake City costs less than $3, and riders can buy a daily pass for $6. Area gas stations price their gas at 8 percent less than the national average, and you can pick up a pint in a local pub for $3 to $5. Shoppers in and around Kearns have access to numerous shops at the Valley Fair Mall. The mall has a diverse crowd, and nearly half its stores are independently owned. Many national chain stores line Interstate-15, the most popular shopping corridor in the area, but a few specially shops and boutiques exist throughout the area as well. All the Rage Boutique sells fashion-forward clothing. Its hip space features pink walls, trendy jeans hung with matching shirts and a great selection of jewelry. For upscale furnishings and decor, shoppers head to The Black Goose Design. This shop carries everything from furniture and rugs to chandeliers, and it has decorators, designers and personal shoppers on staff to help patrons find the perfect items for their living spaces. For groceries, locals shop at one of the large chain grocery stores in the area, such as Harmon’s or the Walmart Supercenter, or they head to specialty shops such as the Vientiane Oriental Market. In the summer and winter, you can visit the Wasatch Front Farmer’s Market to check out local produce and artisan fare. The West Valley City/Kearns/Taylorsville/Magna area contains many parks and spaces for outdoor recreation. One of the largest in the area, Oquirrh Park features baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a skate park and a BMX track. Next door to the park, the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center offers indoor workout opportunities, including swimming. The fitness center charges daily admission of $3 to $4 per person and has membership plans available. Neighborhood parks in Taylorsville including Azure Meadows and Bennion have playgrounds with swings and slides. Also in Taylorsville, Millrace Park hosts a fenced-in off-leash area for dogs, and the park also has a playground and paths for jogging or walking. For outside entertainment, locals head to Pioneer Park in central Salt Lake City for the twilight concert series. Held annually in July and August, this city-hosted event features free music from a range of bands.
Nearby

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Housing Market is HOT

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) It’s home buying and home building season, and demand is up right now.

The Salt Lake Home Builders Association joined Fresh Living today to talk about how demand is much higher than supply in Utah right now.

“If we stopped building homes right now, in 24 days we’d be out of homes to sell,” explained Jaren Davis, of the Salt Lake Home Builders Association.

Salt Lake Home Builders Association is also announcing a brand new show on KUTV coming up.

Watch the segment for more information, or visit their website SLHBA.com

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New Utah Gop Chairman Rob Anderson Already Devising Ways to End Party’s sb54 Fight

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Just a few days after his surprise win in the race for Utah Republican Party chairman, Rob Anderson was already devising a strategy for ending the legal fight over a controversial state law that’s driven the party into debt.

Anderson, an airline pilot, told the Deseret News he’d been advised he legally has the power to halt the GOP’s lawsuit against the state over the law known as SB54 that allows candidates to bypass the party’s caucus and convention system.

“Unilaterally, I could end the lawsuit in my position, by myself,” Anderson said, but would risk being removed by the GOP’s governing State Central Committee. “There’s a lot of political capital to think about that. But no, I’m not inclined to do that.”

Seated in the state Republican Party headquarters’ small conference room during a recent two-day break in his flight schedule, the former Davis County GOP chairman said he’s looking for a solution that’s “not me, but we.”

Anderson said he wants to bring together a small group of party leaders to meet with Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, as well as lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature, to see if there’s a deal to be made.

While those negotiations are underway, Anderson said the party will “stay the course” with the 2014 lawsuit, now pending before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge in Utah upheld much of SB54.

By the next time the central committee holds its first meeting with him as chairman in September, Anderson said he’ll be ready “to paint a picture of exactly where we stand and what our options are for the future, and then the vote is up to them.”

Whether he can be successful in stopping the lawsuit remains to be seen. Anderson signed the Count My Vote initiative seeking more of a voice for himself and other voters, something he said he wouldn’t do now.

“You can be Republican and not support the caucus-convention system,” Anderson said. “But do I think it works? Yes, I do. And that system is diluted by SB54 because people can bypass the caucus-convention system.”

Anderson said it’s his “fiduciary duty in this position to encourage people to go the caucus-convention route,” and he would caution GOP candidates against taking the alternate path to the primary ballot, gathering voter signatures, as allowed under SB54.

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One of the most vocal opponents of SB54 on the State Central Committee, Chris Herrod, a candidate for Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s soon-to-be-vacant seat in Congress, said “important constitutional principles are at stake.”

“The decision will eventually be made by the State Central Committee. I’m still a member of that,” Herrod said. “Rob says he wants to protect the caucus (system). You can only hope he does what he says.”

Utahns, however, overwhelmingly support keeping SB54, according to a new poll for UtahPolicy.com that found 70 percent in favor of the law that created a dual candidate nominating process.

Rich McKeown, a leader of the Count My Vote initiative to create a direct primary that prompted the original SB54 compromise, has warned the petition drive could be relaunched if there’s a threat to the alternative ballot route.

Still, McKeown, a Republican who has worked closely for years with another Count My Vote leader, former GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt, said he was encouraged by Anderson’s election by delegates to the state GOP’s annual convention on May 20.

“There are lots of people who have felt disenfranchised by the Republican Party, so I think there is a real opportunity for improvement here,” McKeown said. “A lot of what is being said sounds hopeful.”

Anderson defeated both James Evans, who was seeking a third term as GOP chairman, and Phill Wright, the party’s vice chairman, at the convention after telling delegates the Republican Party had lost its way.

The fight over SB54 has resulted in “a shrinking membership, escalating debt and a tainted Republican republication. We are a house divided,” Anderson said in his speech, calling for an audit of party finances.

A closer look at the books, Anderson said, has shown the Utah GOP is in even more debt than he feared and finances are in a “shambles.” He said the party owes more than $450,000, including $300,000 in legal bills.

“It doesn’t surprise me, but it’s disheartening that it got this far,” Anderson said, noting that the $4,000 rent on the Eagle Gate offices hadn’t been paid yet for the month and that it’s going to be different to make payroll.

Anderson said he’s seen the worry on the face of the party’s treasurer, Abram Young, who told him, “You don’t understand how many sleepless nights I’ve had over finances.” Anderson said he assured Young he’ll have the resources he needs to do his job.

B.J. Griffin, a curriculum and multimedia designer who produced campaign materials for Anderson’s race for chairman, including a series of videos, is now the party’s part-time executive director — for now a volunteer position.

Griffin said Anderson marks “a dramatic change” for the GOP. He said he sees his job as “making sure the normal, average member of the Republican Party can be happy and excited about the messages and stand proudly as a Republican.”

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon said he’s not so sure Anderson represents that much of a shift for the GOP.

“I did see one of his videos online about how socialists are taking over the state of Utah and the minds of our young children,” Corroon said. “I hear from the press that he’s more moderate, but my first experience … didn’t lead me to believe so.”

The video is aimed at getting Republicans to recognize that the popularity in Utah of self-described Democratic socialist 2016 presidential candidate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is causing the state to lose “our next generation of conservatives.”

Anderson describes himself as a moderate politically, at least by Utah standards.

Although his first run for office was his successful bid for Davis County GOP chairman two years ago, Anderson said he learned plenty about politics during his years of service as an F-15 fighter jet pilot in the Air Force and Air National Guard.

It wasn’t until he divorced soon after moving to Utah in 2006 and began dating the woman he married just over five years ago, Utah Federation of Republican Women President Kathleen Anderson, that he got his first exposure to party politics.

Back in 2011, Rob Anderson said the couple went on a date to a Salt Lake County GOP dinner, and he suddenly realized they weren’t there to enjoy a meal with friends as candidates pulled him aside to talk about their races.

“I didn’t have any interest in getting involved,” Anderson said.

That changed when his wife, who had resigned as secretary of the Davis County GOP over friction with then-Chairman Wright, talked him into challenging Wright’s bid for a second term.

Despite limited campaigning and zero political experience, he won that race by three votes and said the job turned out to be pretty straightforward once he got the finances in order.

“As far as leadership goes, I’ve led men into the combat theater,” said Anderson, who noted on his campaign website that he is a veteran of four tours of duty in the Middle East. “I know how to run an organization.”

Kathleen Anderson said there were political skills her husband has had to learn.

She said he “stammered through” his speech to Davis County delegates when he was running for chairman.

“None of that came naturally to him,” she said. “He’s not a politician. It’s not his background. But he’s very smart.”

Rob Anderson got behind Donald Trump in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign, even though many Utah Republicans backed other candidates, because he believed “Trump had the most realistic chance” of winning.

Anderson said he and Kathleen, who served as Trump’s Utah communications director, stuck with him even after a 2005 recording of Trump talking about making sexual advances on women surfaced late in the campaign.

During his own race for chairman, Anderson said he downplayed his support for Trump.

“It wasn’t going to help me. I didn’t hurt me. I just didn’t discuss it,” he said. “I love the guy. … He’s doing the right things.”

Chris Karpowitz, co-director of BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said concern over the Utah GOP’s growing debt probably played the biggest role in Anderson’s election.

“Republicans in Utah are still trying to figure out what it means to be a Republican in the Trump era,” Karpowitz said, but “financial issues are key as well, especially for a party that prides itself on its fiscal conservatism.”

Contributing: Ladd Egan

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