Utah Rep. Stephen G. Handy (R), District 16

Rep. Stephen G. Handy, Republican, District 16 is listed on his legislative bio as being appointed to his position on April 15, 2010. Yet, if you ask him personally he will tell you it was May 10, 2010. Either date he’s someone who in the private sector was known for his contagious smile ability to make you chuckle, which he’s taken with him to a place that more often than not needs a few smiles and a laugh.

Rep. Handy represents a district of 26,000 people and is landlocked by the Wasatch Mountains on the east and Interstate-15 on the west; yet it is home to Hill Air Force Base the 388th and 419th fighter wings with a compliment of 78 F-35 Lightning II jets, America’s most sophisticated and modern fighter with each of the fighter wings having rotated for service into areas of the Mid-East.

Clark H. Caras, Candidates.vote – Rep. Handy are you a hamburger or cheeseburger kind of guy?

Rep. Handy – Always a cheeseburger and if at all possible please make it Swiss cheese on my burger.

Candidates.vote – Okay, so we’ve got cheese and it’s Swiss how about pickles?

Rep. Handy – Everything we can do in avoiding pickles and I guess I’m somewhat of a purist because I want mustard only. I’ve never ever liked pickles. I remember even having the kids in the car and I showed them the first McDonalds I ever went to and told them how much I hated pickles.

Holly and I have six children; two boys and four girls and I’m absolutely sure I’ve not passed any of the burger habits on to them.

Candidates.vote – When you’re not eating cheeseburgers, or maybe you might be; what book are you reading at the present time?

Rep. Handy – I love history and so I especially love what Doris Kearns Goodwin writes. I’m reading her, “Leadership In Turbulent Times,” and was lucky enough to hear her speak at the event the Sutherland Institute sponsored with her as the speak just a few weeks ago in Salt Lake City. I’m about halfway through the book.

Typically, I will have two or three going at one time. I am a fan of Goodwin though. A few years ago the Davis County School Foundation brought her here to speak as fundraiser and it was when, “Team of Rivals” was number one about 15 years ago and it’s one of my favorites.

The school foundation also brought in David McCullough as a speaker. In loving history I loved reading his “John Adams,” and “1776.” I’m reading one called, “Leadership in Thinking,” but it’s not really a quick read.

Candidates.vote – I noticed one of your assignments as a legislator is with Public Utilities, Energy and Technology. It’s come to my attention you are kind of becoming Utah’s political “guru” of alternate energy and have even been invited to speak about some of what can be done here and it has to do with hogs and methane gas?

Rep. Handy – Unique things are always capturing my attention. And yes, recently I went with Dominion Energy to California to talk about renewable natural gas and bio methane. We have these huge hog farms in Utah, and I mean huge. And most people look at the methane gas being released as a negative emission.

The Coalition for Natural Gas heard and brought me to southern Utah and one of the hog farms. It’s amazing to think of how much of this could be captured, processed and used in a positive way – 100% renewable.

In the legislature you can’t be a specialist in everything, but I have recognized we are moving into a new energy economy. So yes, I have been working to become the energy go-to guy. Someone has to, plus it was my assignment.

Candidates.vote – You were appointed to the Legislature from being serving two terms on the Layton City Council. How have things been here on Capitol Hill?

Rep. Handy – I’ve served five terms up here and it’s an honor to serve the people. The loyalties are fleeting and things can always easily change though. You can, and shouldn’t count on anything.

Candidates.vote – You and I met a few years back when I was a writer at the Deseret News and you worked in Advertising and Promotions. What is your background?

Rep. Handy – My degree is in English from the University of Utah with a masters in management. I’d thought about being a lawyer, but decided the world had enough lawyers so I went into human resources. From there I went into communications and that’s when I was at the Deseret News and you and I met.

Candidates.vote – Do you have a favorite meal or comfort food you go to and do you cook?

Rep. Handy – No I definitely do not cook. You don’t want me to cook. I’m a meat and potatoes guy and my comfort food is when Holly makes this sausage gravy over potatoes. I’m a simple guy who was born and raised in Ogden, Utah and attended the famous Ogden High School. This past summer we celebrated our 50th class reunion and the few of us that go together had a blast!

Candidates.vote – Do you have a favorite place besides your own district in the state of Utah?

Rep. Handy – I think I may have found it on a trip they took us on as legislators to San Juan County and southern Utah. I’d never really been to Blanding and Bluff and I gained a whole new insight of the beauty and the ancient American culture that had been there. 

I grew up in Ogden so my favorite thing to do was ski. And we had the Farr’s Ice Cream plant there and we could always do some work there and the bonus was to get some free ice cream. My favorite flavors were banana nut and licorice.

Candidates.vote – In today’s political climate what advice do you have the faint of heart who might be looking at things as if the last thing they want to do is get involved politically or support a party or candidate?

Rep. Handy – We’ll get through all of this, but it’s not for the faint of heart. You have to have a thick skin. You must vote. Get informed. There is no excuse not to do these things. Yes, you might have to hold your nose and vote – but do it!

America has been though worse times than this. The Civil War. The world wars. The Cold War. I remember as a kid climbing under the desks as part of the drill. And now this. This is a one off.

People must engage and stop getting their information all from social media. It’s not correct because there are no editors so the writers are not edited. You cannot trust the credibility of the story.

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