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USU Eastern science prof headed to be Legislature’s ‘father figure’

January 18th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Nathan Manley
USU Eastern Eagle Staff Writer

PRICE—Many dreams and goals are never achieved in a lifetime. Priorities and responsibility overshadow that which is most wanted. However, being the first Republican representative elected in House District 69 in Carbon County is a crowning achievement, especially when shrouded by losses in the two previous elections.

JerryAnderson72Jerry Anderson, 77, achieved one of his dreams and goals in November when he overwhelming won a coveted position in the Utah Legislature.

He is always a busy man, in more ways than one. “Rushed like mad,” as Anderson puts it, maintaining a rigorous lifestyle juggling work and family—a large family. Anderson and his wife raised 15 children and “just” 68 grandchildren who, he joked, contributed to the political victory by supplying the voting muscle.

The stress and anxiety of feeding a family that size was suppressed by the tranquility of Anderson’s greenhouse. He studied botany and biology for his graduate and undergraduate degrees at BYU, USU, the U of U and at Cal-Irvine.

For over five decades, Anderson has been a professor of botany and biology at CEU and USU Eastern, which has been, “a highlight in my life, spending a long time with great kids and students.” Because of his duties as representative in the state Legislature, however, he will not teach during spring semester, when the Legislature is in session, although Professor Anderson will return to the classroom next fall.

Although only recently elected, Anderson has always loved politics and follows his relatives’ footsteps as a member of the Utah Legislature. A self-proclaimed “weird guy,” he admits to skipping classes as a student to attend a budget-reading session at the Capitol, and he says he was fascinated by the fact that they voted using pencils bought for 37 cents at ZCMI. Truly everything goes through the budget.

While attending a dance at the U, he noticed a pretty girl and made her write her phone number on his name tag. After calling her to set up a date, he thought on his way to pick her up that he might be lost when he approached a large mansion.

After mustering the nerve to go to the door, he rang the bell and to his surprise, Salt Lake Mayor Earl J. Glade answered the door. The girl he asked out was the mayor’s granddaughter, whom he dated for some time. Anderson was able to rub shoulders with a man he respected, which added another spark to his growing flame for politics.

Anderson has been involved in the political world ever since, serving as the state secretary of the Patriotic Party in California. He has also been a delegate at the state GOP convention for as many years as he can remember.

On Jan. 28, Anderson will return to the Capitol as the Utah State Legislature opens its 45-day session with the swearing-in ceremony. Legislators then return every month for various interim meetings.

The newly elected state representative will serve on one appropriations committee and two standing committees. Aligning with the natural resources and political subdivisions committees, Anderson wants to see less land owned by the federal government and more public land transferred to private ownership. He believes this would improve the state budget and sagging economy, using North Dakota as a prime example, a state that has virtually no unemployment with a booming economy.

Anderson has been a father figure at home and at USU Eastern, and will likely carry that mantle to the Legislature as a representative of House District 69.


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