Castle Country Radio Stations Meet the Candidates segment took place on Tuesday, September 20 at the Carbon High School library. The Q & A featured current Carbon County Commissioner Casey Hopes and his opponent Tony Martines to answer questions submitted by local citizens via email.

A coin toss determined which candidate would introduce themselves and share their platform, first up was Tony Martines. He spoke about many conversations he had with his dad, “I never thought I would get into politics that’s one thing I’ve learned, my dad use to be the Mayor of Price back in the 80s and so he and I would go back and forth on some ideas, I would tell him the way we ought to do this, maybe we out to do that. He said you know you need to get into politics.”  When the mines started closing he took a look at his kids and their friends, thinking to himself, what kind of jobs or opportunities will be available for them when the time comes, it was this that spurred him on to get into politics.

Hopes believes that Carbon County is the hidden gem of Utah and has a lot to offer the people in the community. He too wants to make sure that there are opportunities for the younger generation that choose to stay in the county. As he completes his first four years he stated, that there are multiple things that he has come to find about the county, “The generosity of the people the ability of the people to work in a common theme to help the community as a whole. I am and will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have served as a Commissioner in this county. There are great and wonderful things happening.” The main focus has and should continue to be the county diversifying their economy so that our younger generation can stay here.

The Q&A started off with a very important question regarding what each candidate’s economic views for Carbon County’s future and what would be their role in shaping it. According to Hopes, “One thing that we need to understand that the government’s role in economic development is providing an opportunity for businesses to be successful here. As a Commissioner we’ve tried to lessen the regulations and the processes so that we are more business friendly.” The county has worked really hard to set up economic development and redevelopment for newer industries, manufacturing and other industries to come into our community.

Martines answered as well, “We all understand what we’re use to around here its the coal, the oil, the gas, those industries obviously have failed to pinch. I’m optimistic however though I believe that we do have a good infrastructure but I think the best asset that we have are the people. What you can do as a politician is attract other industries here so when the coal mining, when the gas, so when the oil pops back up that it will just be a bonus for us.” A friendly invite reaching out to those businesses and industries to become a part of Carbon County is important.

Another big question given to candidates involved the talk of construction of a multi-million-dollar Carbon County Recreation Center, how would they support it and how would it be funded. “I’ve always said that I was in support of a Rec Center and I still stand to that. Right now I don’t know that it’s the proper time to be building a Rec Center. I think we need to solidify and sure up our economy before we go into that endeavor. We are building other recreational opportunities for our children and our youth. We’re building some soccer fields, we’re making sure that we maintain our baseball fields and softball fields for recreational opportunities for our youth,” stated Hopes. As far as the structure of a Rec Center, mineral monies would be a great resource once those monies increase. The maintenance and operation of a building would need to be pass forward in a form of a vote to the people in Carbon County.

The Q&A segment took just under 2 hours with various questions ranging from energy resources/concerns, drug court process, the economy, tourism, as well as how to form open communication between elected officials and the community.

Hopes used his closing remarks to thank his opponent, “I would like to thank Tony again for running, for giving me the opportunity to do a little soul searching and to find out if I’m doing the right things and if we’re working hard enough on creating opportunities for our citizens. As I stated in my opening remarks, Carbon County is truly the gem of all of Utah. We have so many opportunities here and I am thankful for the opportunity to have served and I will serve if re-elected in the same manner. I will be in my office, I will be making those contacts, making those phone calls, I’ll be answering your questions.”

The reason for Martines run for Carbon County Commissioner is he wants what’s best for our community, “We have some challenging times right now with the coal and energy going away….but I know with my connections and my experience in the energy industry I can bring some other things here. It’s just a connection that you make, you have to do that as a politician, you have to stay in communication with the people that elect you.”

Both candidates agreed the important of voting and encouraged community members to get out to the polls.

To hear the entire Q&A of Meet the Candidates click on the audio link below