In an unfolding “fundamental transformation” of rural, natural resources-based communities, progressive politicians and outdoor recreation seekers will eventually dominate, then drive out the industries, jobs, and the families who need to make a good living to survive.

By Marjorie Haun

Outdoor guide, Marsha Holland, who, according to E.E. News is a “transplant from California’s Bay Area,” is running as an “Independent” to represent Utah’s rural 73rd District in the State House of Representatives. Holland is another in a growing string of progressives masquerading as anything-other-than Democrats. Hungry for power is Utah’s federal designation-dominated southern counties, progressives cannot be honest about who they are and what they believe when running for state and local offices, but ploys like Holland’s have proved successful in towns such as Moab, Torrey, Boulder and Escalante. According to the E.E. report, Holland  “said she moved to southern Utah to be close to Grand Staircase-Escalante [National Monument].”

Photo by Phil Taylor, Source E.E. News

The favored political platform of Holland, and other Democrats-in-disguise, is progressive in the extreme and embraces full federal control of public lands, and the elimination of natural resources development in and around Utah’s massive national parks and monuments, recreation areas and wilderness designations. Holland and other progressives infiltrating southern Utah’s local governments, seek to supplant industries such as ranching, oil and gas, mining, and agriculture with tourism-only economic models. Because they prioritize tourism over all other economic considerations, these progressive candidates enjoy the support of international outdoor recreation corporations such as Patagonia, Keen and REI.

Earlier this year, the Outdoor Industry Association endorsed progressives who ran as fake Republicans in Utah primary races. As we reported last April:

Ashley Korenblat:

Korenblat, a progressive, outdoor recreation advocate, and extreme green on the political spectrum (Green is the new Red), is running as a Republican against Republican State Representative (House District 70) Carl Albrecht, of Richfield, an agricultural and mining community in central Utah. Korenblat now lives in Moab. Moving to Utah from Massachusetts, Korenblat is among the progressive democrat urban moles who have moved into the Moab area with hopes of turning it into Taos 2.0. Korenblat’s qualifications include mountain biking, manufacturing mountain bikes, lobbying for the mountain biking industry, being inducted into the mountain biking hall of fame, owning a mountain biking shop, running a non-profit (what progressive in Moab doesn’t run a non-profit?) and getting her picture taken with the Clintons…

Kelly Stowell:

Although a Republican on paper, having worked in the office of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, Stowell is carrying water for everything Republicans in Utah have been fighting against for decades…Running against local hero, Phil Lyman, who is hated by progressive green factions and land-grabbing bureaucrats for taking a stand against an the BLM’s illegal closure of a county road in Recapture Canyon, Stowell is fake Republican number 2.

Not unlike Korenblat, Holland is supported by progressive groups and individuals, mostly from outside the district she is running to represent. (You can see her donor contributions by going to this page.) There are, however, hard-left progressives who have moved into small towns such as Escalante, Boulder, Kanab, Teasdale, Tropic and Torrey, Utah who are supporting her as well. Her supporters include Stephan Trimble, a professor at the University of Utah who is ardently progressive (see his Facebook page here), and who recently published an anti-Mormon “establishment” opinion piece in the L.A. Times. But Holland is apparently trying to hide the fact that both her ideology and her supporters come from outside District 73. Her quote in the March 21 edition of the Southern Utah Independent belies her Bay Area roots and environmentalist politics. She says:

“Being an unaffiliated candidate, I can expect no support or funding from any party,” said Holland. “But I prefer it this way for several reasons. I believe Utah politics, and politics in general, have strayed too far from listening to and addressing the concerns of our residents and has become a power play between the two major parties. I don’t want to be beholden to any other interests than those of the people of District 73 whom I look forward to serving.”

Nevertheless, most of her campaign contributions are coming from outside District 73, so it appears that she is completely beholden to outside interests. The majority of Holland’s contributions are from the Salt Lake Valley, which is generally more liberal than southern Utah. And interestingly, her donations are also from supporters in Chevy Chase, Maryland, San Francisco and Berkeley, California, Boulder and  Durango, Colorado, Chicago, Illinois, and locations in states including Arizona New Jersey, Connecticut, Alabama, Ohio and Oregon.

With these out-of-district, out-of-state contributions, Holland’s campaign has outraised Republican favorite, Phil Lyman, by at least a multiple of 4. By contrast, Lyman, a southeastern Utah native and Commissioner in San Juan County, has received contributions exclusively from within the state, from individuals in his hometown of Blanding, as well as a handful of conservative political interests in Salt Lake City.  (Click here to see Lyman’s campaign disclosures.)

Holland is engaged in what journalist Jim Stiles has referred to as the “New West” movement, which is a decades-long influx of ambitious progressive individuals and special interest groups from blue state big cities into Utah’s rural, traditionally conservative small towns. In an unfolding “fundamental transformation” of rural, natural resources-based communities, progressive politicians and outdoor recreation seekers will eventually dominate, then drive out the industries, jobs, and the families who need to make a good living to survive. Ironically, in the E.E. report Holland admits that tourism-only economies lead to seasonal impoverishment. It says:

As a percentage of all jobs, service grew from 60 percent to 69 percent, and its share of overall earnings grew from 41 percent to 62 percent.

Yet employment in the tourism sector waxes and wanes with the arrival of tourists. Unemployment hovers around 5 percent in the summer months in Kane and Garfield but more than doubles from December to March, according to Labor Department statistics.

That forces many employees to find second and third jobs, or collect unemployment, said Marsha Holland, an outdoor guide in Tropic, Utah.

The greatest threats to Utah’s rural districts are the importation of progressive values, and the exportation of young families who can’t find good jobs. Although Republican Phil Lyman will likely win in this year’s election cycle, the progressive trend does not bode well for rural Utah.


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