Stan Lockhart, Board Member for Utah Ranked Choice Voting & Former Government Affairs for Micro
Stan Lockhart is the citizen of Utah who you could say quietly tended to what is lovingly referred to as the Point of the Mountain. A geographic spot that when ancient Lake Bonneville existed and covered about half of Utah, was a huge sandbar and stretch of land jutting from the east to the west; just like it does today but minus the water, which has been replaced by thousands and thousands of homes, office buildings, drive-thru and diners, shops and even a couple of big box stores – and virtually serves as the physical dividing line between Salt Lake and Utah counties.
You might say Lockhart was the quiet gatekeeper of the place where literally “deer and antelope roamed” around a gigantic, but empty, high tech computer chip factory built by Micron; a company that kept telling everyone, “We built it and someday, yes someday, we’ll come.”
And come they did!
Micron filled its empty three football field long building Lockhart had guarded so well against rumor and a few politicians wanting the jobs that had been promised in return for a few of the things so common in economic development. Once Micron shook off the dust and cleaned the windows along came IM Flash, Adobe, Vivint, Novell, Domo, Podium, Pluralsight, Qualtrics, Landesk, 1-800 Contacts, EA Sports and the thousands and thousands of jobs to fill what in the beginning was a bit jokingly called Silicon Slopes but now proudly boasts and organization of the name and a reputation for being one of the world’s centers for hi-tech, innovation, and jobs.
Clark H. Caras, Candidates.vote – So are you the creator of Silicon Slopes?
Lockhart – (With a chuckle…) No. Not really; it really just happened and along the way – for 19 years – I was the Government Affairs person for Micron. And a Provo City councilman, head of the Utah National Parks Council for the Boy Scouts, and former Utah State Republican Party Chairman.
Candidates.vote – So with all of that what is it you like to be known as? I mean, what do I call you?
Lockhart – Most of all I like being known for having been the Republican Party chairman. Right now, I’m one of the directors of the Utah Ranked Choice Voting. (www.utahrcv.com )
Candidates.vote – I hear too you are the head of a chamber of commerce in Utah Valley?
Lockhart – Actually the tile is… Interim CEO of the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce, which means we are looking for someone permanent and in the mean-time I’m in charge of a lot of things offering volunteer opportunities for anyone who wants to join in.
Candidates.vote – So you’re somewhat a Jack-of-all-Trades?
Lockhart – (Laughingly explains…) I’ve had some great opportunities in my life. My parents met at BYU and I’ve lived in Idaho, Washington State and Utah. I received my master’s degree from BYU. My dad was a principal in Klickitat, Washington and we lived in and I grew up in Lyle, Washington that was about 13 miles from Klickitat. We were right on the Columbia River.
I was the student body president in Lyle and BYU gave me a scholarship for leadership; but what they didn’t know was my graduating class was 24 kids and in fact my wife and I are just headed back there (August 2020) for my class reunion… Go class of 1980!
(Lockhart’s first wife, Rebecca D. Lockhart 1968 – 2015, was Utah’s first female Speaker of the House as she represented her district in Provo, Utah. She became known as Utah’s Iron Lady because of her keen intellect and influence in seeing legislation passed. It was just three years ago Stan met his wife, Michelle, who was a widow living in Sandy.)
Candidates.vote – When you married Michelle you made a move, literally, that for you and all those around you that was pretty major.
Lockhart – Indeed I did. It took 37 years but I did, I left Provo and made a move to where Michelle is in Sandy. I would have moved and gone anywhere for her, but she needed me more in Sandy than I was needed anymore in Provo.
Candidates.vote – You were a city councilman even before Becky stepped into politics. It had to have been hard to say goodbye to a place where you helped in the governance and shaping of things?
Lockhart – Provo and Utah County have to be a couple of the greatest places to raise kids and have a family. And my time as city councilman was great as it came right in the middle of the 2004 Olympics and Provo had the hockey venues. Talk about all the great times together with family and friends.
Utah County is often made light of for being a bit, let’s say provincial, but it is a place where all the things we call life in America can be found. I’m very proud to admit and say my life and who I am were shaped by my time at BYU and Utah County.
Candidates.vote – So now you’re out to try and change, for the better, the way we choose are elected officials by what is called Ranked Choice Voting?
Lockhart – Yes. It’s used now in a lot of political conventions and in fact has been used here in Utah. But we’d like to see it expanded into being used in municipal elections and maybe later on even major state and federal.
The way we vote now seems to be something we just kind of, sort of, inherited from England. There are many who say it’s the reason we’ve developed into a society with a two party system. People don’t like change though; but we have got to have something new and exciting in the way we chose candidates because what is done now is just killing voter turnout.
In Utah at one time we were in the top 10 in voter turnout. And now it’s the complete opposite as we are in the bottom 10. This, ranked choice voting, was something Becky had started to think about and shared with me.
What was it the woman asked Ben Franklin when he came out of Independence, Hall? She said, “So. Mr. Franklin what do we have a monarchy or democracy?” And he said, “A Republic if you can keep it.” Without the numbers of people voting for that Republic we end up with a dictatorship. It’s why we need to be looking at vote by mail and things that will make people want to participate and look deeper at the candidates.
Candidates.vote – So I didn’t begin my interview with you like I do most. So the last question is going to be the one typically that is first. Are you a hamburger or a cheeseburger kind of guy?
Lockhart – Oh, definitely hamburger. I’m not going to pay that extra dollar for a piece of cheese on it. Now maybe, maybe if they offered it at .50 cents I might go for the cheese.