by Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip
This past August, the Senate Democrats were invited to join the House Democrats on their Carbon/Emery County weekend excursion hosted by Representative Christine Watkins. With the aid of Rhoda, the House Minority Assistant, Representative Watkins planned the itinerary for the trip. Senator Patricia Jones, Senator Luz Robles, and I just tagged along. Thanks, House Democrats, for inviting us.
Friday evening, we enjoyed a dinner hosted by Representative Watkins and her husband at their home in Miller Creek. Several county officials attended the dinner and shared a lot of information with us about rural issues important to Carbon and Emery Counties such as mining, water rights, land use, energy development, higher education, etc.
The next morning, we caravanned to visit several important sites in Carbon and Emery Counties. First on the agenda was a tour of the Huntington Power Plant, managed and staffed by PacifiCorp. The plant tour was very educational. Power production is a complex process and a complex issue affecting every citizen in our state and country. The Utah coal mining industry and power production industry in these counties employ thousands of Utahns, who in turn, support their families and boost our Utah economy.
Unfortunately, I then had to return to Salt Lake City following the mine tour. The rest of the group proceeded to the Crandall Canyon Mine Memorial. The monument honors the lives of six miners and three rescuers who lost their lives in the 2007 mine collapse. The monument is also a tribute to their families.
Along with most Utahns, I recall vividly the angst I experienced as the events of the Crandall Canyon Mine tragedy unfolded. I send my best wishes to the families of the miners and rescuers and to everyone in the community.
The group next had lunch at Huntington Park, and Castle Dale Mayor Neal Peacock was on hand to visit with the group and answer questions.
Then the group visited San Rafael Swell’s Wedge Overlook. The Wedge Overlook is one of the most beautiful vistas in Utah, overlooking the San Rafael River as it flows through the “Little Grand Canyon.”
This trip provided a great opportunity to visit one of our state’s rural areas and learn about the lives and livelihood of our citizens who reside in Carbon and Emery Counties. I am glad I was able to make the trip to eastern Utah. As a legislator, I sometimes have to make decisions on behalf of every citizen in the state, both urban and rural. This educational experience broadened my view and will enable me to more fully understand important issues in our state.
Representative Christine Watkins and Husband John
Huntington Power Plant
Front Row: Rep. Chavez-Houck, Sen. Robles, Rep. Watkins & Rep. Moss
Back Row: Rep. King, Sen. Romero, Rep. Seelig, Rep. Litvack & Rep. Seegmiller
Senator Jones, Mayor Peacock, Senator Romero & Representative Litvack