Clark H. Caras – “Dr. Simonsen, why are you running to become a member of the Bountiful City Council?”
Dr. Simonsen – “I enjoy this town I call home. There aren’t many perfect towns around and I decided with a council position opening I might not get the chance for some time of jumping in and getting involved. With my practice, family and other things happening it just seemed right.”
Clark H. Caras – “You’ve been involved in Bountiful before, and in fact are a bit of a legend for ‘hot rods’ in Bountiful.”
Dr. Simonsen – “it was 18 years ago I joined with other business leaders who were part of Bountiful’s Rotary Club and we created the Bountiful Rotary Coats for Kids car show. This year we are expecting 10,000 people. (See information below about the June 16 & 17th show set for this weekend.) And in fact my campaign slogan has come from my love of cars, this community and the family. ‘Driven to Serve. Children, Family and Bountiful.’”
Clark H. Caras – “I’m supposing serving children has a bit to do with you specializing in pediatric dentistry?”
Dr. Simonsen – Chuckles…”I had wanted to be a dentist since I was 12-years old.So I stuck with that plan. My wife, Karen wasn’t so lucky. She vowed to never marry a dentist because they were boring.”
Clark H. Caras—“So what is a ‘boring dentist’ reading for enjoyment or choice right now?”
Dr. Simonsen—“Bill O’Reilly’s Killing the Rising Son. I was raised in Brigham City, and we had an internment camp there along with the Indian School. I grew up with three best friends who loved to play cowboys and Indians. There was me, an Indian boy who always insisted on being Roy Rogers and a Japanese friend who wasn’t 60lbs. wet.”
Clark H. Caras – “So it sounds like this Mormon kid grew up knowing more than most in Utah did about diversity?”
Dr. Chris Simonsen—“I didn’t know anything was supposed to be diverse, because that was just how we lived. I didn’t see ‘color’. We were a railroad town. My friends were Catholic, Methodist, Buddhist—we were all just ‘kids’. You see, kids in the 50’s were judged by character and values.”
Clark H. Caras – “So you wanted to be a dentist. How’d the budding dentist earn money for school? What were your fist jobs Dr. Simonsen?”
Big smile from Dr. Simonsen – “In high school I played a lot of tennis, mainly for fun. But it did get me the offer of a tennis scholarship at Utah State University. One problem. I wouldn’t play on Sunday so no scholarship. So I went to the Brigham City Rec department and offered to teach tennis – they said, sorry; no budget. I proposed letting me use the courts for free and my fee to teach would be $1 an hour.”
Dr. Simonsen explained after two summers of that agreement, the $10,000 was applied to schooling at USU.
Clark H. Caras – “So what about a job in Logan? While a student.”
Dr. Simonsen—“Went to Skaggs Drug and got a job. Not at first blush though because I wouldn’t work on Sunday. Then they did hire me. (Chuckles) put me in tobacco, figuring I wouldn’t steal.”
Dental school, a stint in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era and home to Utah and a practice in Bountiful.
Favorite movie – The Magnificent Seven “I have to see it once a year.”
Yes, fired as a busboy by Mr. Maddox himself. Went right back the next day, picked up where he left off reminding Mr. Maddox, “You didn’t fire me. I quit!”
To this day candidate Simonsen’s favorite meal is a Maddox Turkey Steak, with sweet potatoes and cinnamon and hot rolls.
Clark H. Caras – “Doctor. Who is the teacher you remember and why?”
Dr. Chris Simonsen—“Clark. That’s easy. My 5th grade teacher Mrs. Rose. She’d lost a leg. To this day I can’t tell you why. What I can though is she taught us we could be whatever we wanted to be. She was living her dream and teaching us. It stuck with me, probably why I’m doing this now. Running for council.”
Clark H. Caras – “So I understand that right after family and community there is a love of yours that you’ll be sharing with 10,000 of you best friends at this year’s Rotary Car Show.”
Dr. Chris Simonsen—“I’m a car guy. I love cars. In high school I had a 57’ Thunderbird. I love the roar of the engine when it starts. Chrome bumpers, no plastic. And love that sweet smell of the exhaust. And I love what we’ve been able to do for thousands of children and kids for 18 years with that passion.
By Clark Caras