Donia Jessop was born and raised in Colorado City. She lived, worked, and raised a family there for most of her life. Four years ago, she made the decision, along with her husband Joe to relocate their family to the St George area. The move was motivated by the changing dynamics of the community, which caused many people to relocate. “Leaving the community just really gave me a lot of perspective. It really gave me an appreciation for the small town that we have,” says Donia. She has worked in a variety of different capacities including in-home care for the elderly, as a victim’s rights advocate, and has lobbied government on the state and national level for a variety of issues over the years. She also has experience as an entrepreneur, starting a company, JTech, with her husband 17 years ago. Their latest business venture is The Hub, where they are reopening the old convenience store, gas station, and fast food drive through, in the middle of town.
While she appreciated the new perspective and experiences gained from leaving her hometown, it wasn’t long before she and her family felt the urge to come back. She says, “The mountains and our red dirt were calling us back home.” This is a familiar experience for many who have left under similar circumstances, and wanted to return to the place where they were born, and the community they grew to love so much. But upon returning, it was evident that some of the things that motivated them to leave were still in place, and as more people moved back, the greater the need and opportunity to make changes to the local government became.
“Our goal is to help rebuild this community and turn it into a place where people want to live and grow,” she said. For this to happen, she says there must be equal representation. According to Donia, Hildale’s population is currently 20% FLDS and 80% non-FLDS, while nearly every city office is held by someone within the FLDS. Other issues that she wants to address are budget and spending concerns which many feel are unproductive or suspect. She sees the need to repair our relationships with the state, school board, and county governments, claiming they have suffered over the past two decades.
Fostering community is a big item on her agenda. She wants to find ways to bring more economic growth into the city to provide job opportunities and prosperity. Many citizens would like to see the city get a much-needed facelift, incentivizing citizens to build up and beautify the city is important for the overall sense of community. Donia believes that the city works projects should be geared toward building a positive environment that will draw tourism and promote a sense of pride.