By Kelsey Keener
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–Scott Phillips was recently elected and sworn in to serve as a city council member for Cedar City.
Phillips has lived and worked in Cedar City for 44 years. He held several positions in the Utah Shakespeare Festival and retired March of last year. He said his interest in politics started with his family.
“I’ve always been interested in the political process,” he said. “My mother was very active in politics. My grandmother was one of the real movers and shakers in the Democratic Party in the state of Nevada back in the 50s and 60s. So that part came naturally and I thought maybe there’s a way I can provide some service and give back to the community.”
Phillips said some of the attributes that will help him in this position are his abilities to listen and understand.
“I’m a very good listener, and I think I understand the average Cedar City citizen,” he said. “And I also think because I have traveled so much in my life, I can bring some of that back to the community. I’m always thinking about what attributes I can bring back to my community.”
Additionally, he said one focus of his term will be looking toward the future.
“Change is difficult,” Phillips said. “Change is not comfortable. But if we don’t change, if we don’t move forward we’re going to go backwards, and I don’t want to do that. I think the ability to look at the big picture is one of the best attributes I have.”
One of his goals is to bring the city and SUU together.
“I think there’s a lot more the city and the university can do,” he said. “There’s only three blocks that separate us, and I don’t think we do enough together.”
Phillips is working with the university to develop focus groups to determine what types of businesses or venues students are interested in, as well as with the city to see what events could be hosted on campus in order to get more citizens involved with the university.
Other parts of his main focus are to enliven downtown Cedar City as well as to start thinking about the future of the city. He hopes that are at least two new, thriving businesses on Main Street by the end of his term and to plan for growth.
“The other thing I think we need to do is start envisioning this community 30 years from now,” Phillips said. “Where do we want parks to be built? Where do we need to have roads and transportation corridors developed? If we’re going to have to build another elementary or high school, where should it be built? We have to start thinking about it and planning for it.”
Phillips said he is excited about Cedar City’s and the university’s future.
“I really am excited about Cedar City’s potential, because I think we are a wonderfully hidden secret, and we have to got to get the word out about what a great place this is,” he said. “I’m excited about the university and the potential that it has to continue to evolve into a really strong, regional university.”
Phillips expects to encounter a few challenges along the way, such as disappointment at not being able to get everything done that he wants to, struggling with not taking things too personally and working with the other council members in a way that satisfies everyone.
“I think the other big challenge for me is to find a way to work with all my fellow council members to say ‘what can we do collectively to make this better for everybody?’” he said. “We all have different opinions, different ways we approach things and we all have our pet projects. How might we work to get your (other council members’) stuff realized and my stuff realized, and not exhaust staff or deplete the bank?”
He wants ensure that all members of the community have their voices heard and that Cedar City citizens can be proud of their town. Phillips said he chose to run for City Council because he wants to make a difference.
“I want to be a servant to the people,” he said. “My parents taught me that in order to be a citizen of a community you have to be part of that community. And (being) part of the community in my way of things is I’ve got to participate. I can’t complain about things, I can’t let things go unnoticed if I don’t make any effort to make change. I want to help make a positive difference.”