This archived article was written by: Nathan Manley
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.
Jerry Anderson, 77, achieved one of his dreams and goals in November when he overwhelming won a coveted position in the 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 this size was suppressed by the tranquility of his greenhouse. He studied botany and biology for his graduate and undergraduate degrees at BYU, USU, U of U and Cal Irvine.
For over five decades Anderson has been a professor of both 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, he will no longer be teaching during spring semester, but will return to the classroom next fall.
Although he was only recently elected, Anderson has always loved politics and follows his relatives’ footsteps as a representative in the legislature. A self-proclaimed weird guy, he admits to skipping class as a young student to attend a budget-reading session at the capitol and was fascinated by the fact that they voted on pencils for 37 cents at ZCMI. Truly everything goes through the budget.
While attending a dance at the U of U, he noticed a pretty girl and made her right her phone number on his name tag. After calling her to set up a date, he realized 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, Mayor Earl J. Glade the first elected mayor of Salt Lake City answered the door. The girl he asked out was his granddaughter, whom he dated for sometime. Anderson was able to rub shoulders with a man he respected, which added another spark to his growing flame for politics.
Since then, Anderson has been involved in the political world serving as the State Secretary of the patriotic party in California. He has also been the (R) delegate at the state convention for as many years as he can remember.
On Jan. 28, Anderson will return to the capitol, as the Utah State Legislature will open with the swearing in ceremony, and remain in session for 45 days. Then return every month of the year for various interim meetings.
As a representative, he 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 transferred to private land ownership. He believes the budget and sagging economy will improve this way, 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 school, and will likely carry that mantle to the legislature as a representative of House District 69.