San Juan County
Phone: (435) 587-2128
I was born in Monticello, Utah and raised in Blanding, Utah. Growing up in this area I spent a lot of time hiking, jeeping (later on the jeeping turned to four-wheeling), hunting, working on my family’s farm/ranch, and falling in love with San Juan County. I especially enjoyed spending time riding in the tool box of Jerry Holliday’s D7 Bulldozer while my dad built roads, ponds, and oil well sites from Aneth to LaSal and everywhere in between. I also enjoyed working with my family on my parents’ land out on Mustang Mesa.
High School Years:
In high school I tried to be involved in everything I could be. I played 4 years of football, 3 years of basketball (missed one year due to a wrist that I broke in football and refused to go to the doctor until after the season was over with), 1 year of track, 1 year of Tennis, Future Business Leaders of America, Upward Bound, Close-up (Learning how the government works and attending a week long program in Washington, DC), Yearbook staff and editor, Senior Class officer, etc. etc. etc. In addition to being very involved in school activities I also made time for hunting, trapping, paintballing, four-wheeling, and many other outdoor activities. I enjoyed every minute of high school but I understood that it was just a moment in the rest of my life.
One highlight from this era of my life came after I read a book on the Doolittle Raiders of WWII. I was determined to meet one of the two Raiders who were born in Utah before they died. Although my family thought I was crazy in my endeavor, I was rewarded by being able to meet Chase Nielson at his home in Brigham City, Utah and he spoke with me for over 3 hours about his life. I learned a great deal about sacrifice and determination from that experience.
After graduating from San Juan High School I spent two years as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Ukraine Kyiv (Kiev) Mission. I learned Russian and Ukrainian as well as the importance of service, and helping those who cannot help themselves.
After returning from my mission in Ukraine I finished up my Associates Degree at the College of Eastern Utah-San Juan Campus (before it became Utah State Eastern). I have always had a little bit of extra pride when telling people where I started my college education. It shows people that it isn’t where you come from or where you begin as but rather where you are going and what you can accomplish that matters the most.
I then attended Utah State University in Logan for my bachelor’s degree in Political Science and then applied to law school. I frequently get asked why I attended the University of Wyoming for law school and I am certain that many people think that I went there only because I couldn’t get into someplace “better”. I disagree with that idea. The University of Wyoming was my first choice of the law schools I applied to. I was accepted to several big name law schools in places like Ohio, Texas, and Oklahoma. However, the University of Wyoming has a well known water and land use program at their law school and I recognized that I could be a bigger asset to my beloved San Juan County if I went to a place like Wyoming to pursue a program like that.
After law school I took the Uniform Bar Exam in Salt Lake City and passed with a score that was high enough to be admitted to practice in any Uniform Bar Exam State in the Nation (17+ states). However, I wanted to come home and use my education to make my beloved San Juan County a better place to live.
I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful woman who already loves San Juan County more than many natives. Many of you will probably recognize Emily from San Juan Dental in Monticello. We met while I was in Laramie at law school and she was at Utah State going to school. We had a unique dating experience because of the distance. We mostly communicated over text message, phone calls, and the wonderful technology of Skype. We only actually saw one another every other weekend but it worked out great. She planned our wedding during the summer that I was studying for the bar exam. I took the bar exam on July 30-31 and we were married August 9, 2013. By far the best decision that I have ever made!
If you want to know more about my legal experience from a campaign perspective then please go to the campaign points tab of the website.
The summer after my first year of law school I wanted an internship in a small/rural type setting preferably in Utah. I made some connections and was informed that there was an attorney who had agreed to hire me to help him in his office for the summer. I was excited because I had been willing to work for free but he had apparently expressed an interest in paying me for my services. However, each and every time I tried to call him I was turned away and my calls were never returned. I learned a valuable lesson that summer even though I ended up without any additional legal experience. I learned that a Lawyer is only as good as his word and that I would make a special effort to reach out to anyone who expressed an internship interest with me in the future.
The next summer I got lucky and was able to get in contact with the Weber County Attorney’s Office in Ogden, Utah. The attorneys in that office are some of the best prosecutors in the State of Utah. They handle 300-450 felonies a year plus probably double that number of misdemeanors. I worked 40+ hours a week all summer long without getting paid a penny. However, what I did gain was invaluable experience. I handled several misdemeanor cases by myself in court, I wrote between 45 and 60 motions in cases ranging from drug possession to felony murder (death penalty case). I also was able to draft a key motion in the Ogden Trece Gang Injunction case that was sited by the judge in his ruling. I handled Preliminary Hearings in front of District Court Judges, I essentially learned the prosecution trade from the best names in the business. It was that summer that the prosecutors from Weber County convinced me that I should move back to Blanding and run for San Juan County Attorney.
Since opening my own office in Blanding I have handled nearly a dozen domestic relations cases in some way or another, written wills and trusts, handled complex business structuring cases, contracts, land use, complex debtor/creditor cases, and for the City of Blanding I have been the prosecutor since December. When I took the reins at the City of Blanding the prosecution was a mess. Since I have been there, the case load is moving faster than ever (the non-traffic misdemeanor cases are moving faster than Monticello City and San Juan County on average). I enjoy working with the court personnel as well as the police officers. For more information on this please see the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) tab of the website.
In addition to this legal experience I have also gained a lot of experience in office management. I started my office from scratch in a vacant building. Since my doors opened for business in November 2013 my business has turned a profit and added new clients in every single month. My files are tidy, my case management is tidy and clean.