I recently attended a meeting sponsored by the Payson Citizens Awareness Committee in which Mayor Bob Edwards and mayoral candidate Kenny Evans had a debate with each other over issues such as water, roads, economic development and leadership style. Frankly I came away from the meeting thinking, that other than leadership style and personal presentation, there was not much difference between the two candidates.
Since the CAC meeting, I have become more acquainted with Mr. Evans and have found that our interests are much the same, I have to say, however, that Mr. Evans has done far more than I have ever dreamt of, regarding community involvement and other aspects of our community life. In looking at Mr. Evans background, I am amazed at all he has done and is doing in our town to help people in need. Just a few of the organizations Mr. Evens is involved with are, President of the Mogollon Health Alliance, on the Board of Trustees of the Payson Medical Center, Chairman of the Zane Grey District Boy Scouts of America.
Mr. Evans has, throughout his life, been intimately involved with water issues in our state and at the federal level. Mr. Evans owned several very large farms in the western part of our state, so to assure an adequate water supply, he worked very closely with various entities at the county, state, and federal level. Mr. Evans is known nationally as an expert on Western water issues. Because he has been so successful in handling tough issues like water management in the arid Southwest, illegal immigration, and urban growth into rural areas he has been sought after as an expert witness at both our state capitol and in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Evans has served at the state cabinet level equally well under both Democrat and Republican governors. He continues to have bipartisan ties at the state and federal level of our government. Mr. Evans, like you and me, is a person who can pick up the phone and call his congressman or the head of a federal agency. The difference is, his call will probably be answered by the congressman or department head, instead of some assistant who gives us the runaround.
Hopefully, what I have read in the paper is true and we will soon have an agreement on the Blue Ridge water supply. However, once this agreement is in place, there will be many pitfalls to stand in the way of bringing the water to Payson. Pitfalls such as environmental impact issues, right-of-way issues across public lands and possibly access across private lands. Given all of the challenges in front of us, I am convinced we need a person such as Mr. Evans, who has experience with these kinds of issues. An assured water supply is one of Payson's most critical needs and Mr. Evans is a nationally recognized expert on western water issues. I honestly believe Mr. Evans is the man to help us acquire the water we need and the ability to lead us into the future.