BYU professor wins seat in Provo election

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Four newly-elected city council members will serve in Provo as 8 percent of registered voters turned up Tuesday to show their support.

Hal Miller, a professor of psychology at BYU, will join Gary Winterton, Kay Van Buren and Gary Garrett in the Provo council chambers. All four members are new to the council, a unique and rare experience in voting history.

“It’s quite unusual,” said Provo Mayor John Curtis when asked about the lack of incumbents running. “We have four new seats and we are excited to work with them.”

Garrett, who won his race by a margin of 42 percent, said he is thrilled and excited for the opportunity to serve.

“The first thing I’ll do is listen and learn,” he said. “I am very pleased and grateful for the opportunity to serve. A lot of great people have served before me and I’ll have to get up to speed as quickly as possible.”

Winterton secured his position on the Provo council edging his opponent by a mere 20 votes.

“Life is good,” he said. “I’m really happy and pleased with the campaign we ran. We were positive and kept our focus the whole way through. We just had a great experience.”

Winterton said he hopes to bring more unity to the council and include residents in the decision making process.

Van Buren joins Winterton in victory as well as principle. He said he hopes to bring partnership between the council and residents as well.

“Our whole campaign has been built on building, and partnering and communicating,” Van Buren said. “I want people from different parties and different areas work together to make Provo a better place.”

In addition to teaching as a professor of psychology at BYU, Miller is the president of Provo’s Boy Scouts of America district and a former dean of BYU General and Honors Education. Miller secured his seat on Provo’s council with 57 percent of his district’s vote. Miller is a Democrat, but municipal elections in Utah are non-partisan.

Orem City residents returned two incumbent council members for another term. Hans Andersen, a local certified public accountant, was elected as a new council member joining Margaret Black and Mark Seastrand as the successful candidates to serve on the Orem City council.

The three will serve with three holdover council members and with newly-appointed Mayor James T. Evans. Evans replaced Jerry Washburn who died from cancer in September.

“I hope that whoever is elected will be willing to look at the issues and support decisions that will benefit our great community.” Evans said.

Black was elected to serve a second term in Orem.

“Thanks to everyone who helped me in this election,” she said. “We have a wonderful city that’s very well run, and I look forward to working to make our city even better in the next four years.”

Dean Dickerson, Shiree Thurston and John D. VanCott were unsuccessful in their election bid for Orem Council seats.

Incumbent councilman Carl Hernandez decided not to run for re-election. Hernandez serves as assistant dean of the BYU Law School.

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