Why I Am Running
I believe we need strong leaders on Capitol Hill, standing for Utah’s working families. I will support our teachers, like my own wife. I will represent all voices in our community, including those who are too often ignored in the face of a quick buck.
I believe the best way to do that is to increase transparency and accessibility. Karen Kwan does excellent work showing up at city and town councils, neighborhood breakfasts, and everything else in between during their service, and I will continue that if elected. My goal will be to have a public open house every week during the legislature’s general session and every month the rest of the year. I would welcome meeting with a broad range of stakeholders; the district I seek to represent varies in many demographics and needs, so I think it is vital to reach out to as many people as possible to inform any votes.
Additionally, I am concerned that much of the House’s work flies under the radar. This leaves it susceptible to the whims of lobbyists and groups whose interests may be ill-informed or corrupted.
As a Representative, I would be more open and public about items on the agenda of every committee meeting, mostly through more effective use of social media and newsletters. To maintain transparency, I intend to publish my calendar, either in advance or retroactively, so that the public can see who I meet with and who is influencing my decisions.
PROTECTING PUBLIC EDUCATION
This issue will be my primary focus during the legislature, because I believe it the key to our community, and state’s, future. We have not done enough to help our teachers and students succeed, and I will work toward the following solutions:
- Reintroduce Progressive Taxation–I will oppose tax cuts that benefit primarily the rich and support those that benefit the poor, but I will support increasing funding for education by making sure that those who should be funding our school system are paying into it.
- Increased compensation—Teachers, paraprofessional aides, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and many others in our schools need to be paid a fair wage, especially when costs are going up dramatically. .
- Lower class sizes—as a parent of school children, and as the husband of a special education teacher, I know that it teachers need to have manageable class sizes so they can understand the needs of every student in their class.
- No on vouchers—I have and will consistently oppose all efforts to privatize our public education system. I support the ability of parents to choose where their children should go to school, but our goal should be to have every neighborhood public school be the best option for all families.
- Strengthen SLCC Redwood and expand higher education outreach–We need to continue to support SLCC’s Redwood campus as an essential part of our higher education system, increasing enrollment and retaining great faculty. Additionally, our other higher education institutions need to engage more in our community to make sure that the benefits of whatever form of higher ed a student chooses will be not just available but easily attainable.
SAVE THE GREAT SALT LAKE
There is no question that the Great Salt Lake is in crisis, and our community is on the front lines to bear the brunt of the environmental destruction that is and will get worse as it declines. We need to take drastic but broad-based action from everyone to help save the Lake. I will work with all affected communities, including our agricultural communities, to ensure that we are following the best science-backed policies to restore the Lake for generations to come. .
ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR WORKING FAMILIES
My focus will be supporting the hard-working families of our communities. The first step, as outlined above, is education. Next is making sure that our workplaces are safe and friendly for all workers. To do this, I will propose repealing Utah’s right to work laws and strengthening union organizing rules.
A return to progressive income taxes is step one in achieving economic justice in our community. Step 2 is repealing the tax on food; I will join in a bipartisan effort to see this unfair tax go away. I also support the adoption of a state Earned Income Tax Credit, another bipartisan effort that already helps tens of thousands of Utahns on their federal taxes.
Finally, I believe we need to do a better job helping small businesses in our state, as opposed to engaging in a race-to-the-bottom economic development strategy. As we see the fruits of our current approach becoming rotten, we need to help our small businesses find and retain the talent they need.
Goals to work toward
These are my big concerns going into the 2023 Legislative session. Most of all, I will likely be learning how to be a Representative and I will lean on the experience of others in doing so. In the meantime, I will be working to advance these other issues, in any way I can, during my time in office. In most cases, I will need to compromise on some things to get them passed under the current membership of the legislature.
- Oppose efforts that–in any way–stigmatize, harm, or otherwise create a wedge between transgender youth, adults, their families, and medical professionals.
- Adopt statewide parental leave policies
- State ban on pre-existing conditions
- Legislatively ban conversion therapy for minors
- Make adoption an easier process for all involved
- Age appropriate, comprehensive, parent-involved sexuality education
- Return welfare to AFDC standards, increase benefits and repeal lifetime limits
- Repeal right to try aka snake oil wellness laws
- Free registration for electric cars to incentivize cleaner air
- Explore a tax on fossil fuel externalities
- Strengthen mine reclamation requirements
- Strengthen CIB funding rules so that they cannot be diverted to pet projects
- Adopt a statewide renewable energy standard
- Increase emission standards statewide
- Outlaw defeat devices, and fund suits against manufacturers and sellers
- Electrify and expand Front Runner
- Electrify state vehicle fleet
- Incentivize water barrels
- Improve walkability, biking options in our cities
- Explore single use plastic tax
- Improve train service–explore broader rail network
- Update building codes to encourage sustainable building practices
- Ban companies from putting the recycling symbol on items that aren’t regularly recycled throughout the state.
- Reform SITLA to move beyond simply energy extraction
- Adopt wildfire planning standards and increase firefighter benefits
- Repeal rooftop solar restrictions
- Create a statewide competition for the cleanest energy companies
- Increase state parks funding
- Increase public defender funding
- Mandatory gun show background checks
- Ban solitary confinement
- Legalize safe injection sites
- Pilot Social Work Department from lower police funding
- Outlaw bite analysis
- Eliminate death penalty
- Tax ammunition
- Adopt red flag laws
- Restrict concealed carry permits to Utah residents or increase fees for out of state concealed carry, fund better background checks
- Increase penalties for using gun illegally
- Ban police from lying to minors during questioning
- Make distracted driving a primary offense
- Adopt Crown acts and non discriminatory hair policies
- Pass Lauren’s Law firearm liability
- Repeal the ban on photocop
- Make Election Day a state holiday, and support efforts to amend the US Constitution to move it to weekends
- Impose campaign contributions limits
- Direct the State Elections Office to produce a searchable database of campaign finance disclosures
- Automatic voter registration
- Repeal voter ID laws
- Adopt Public campaign financing
- Expand ranked-choice voting to party primaries and general elections
- Allow a longer period and lower threshold for referendum signature gathering
- Eliminate meetings for initiatives
- Embark on a statewide broadband initiative
- Diversify the judicial branch
- Strengthen conflict of interest disclosures
- Pass redistricting standards for cities, counties, and the state
- Repeal the Square Dance as State Folk Dance and replace it with something more representative of our past and present.
- Oppose discrimination against all races, beliefs, genders, abilities, and working to build a state that invites all to pursue happiness with respect for everyone else.
- Prohibit college participation in ranking schemes
- Improve and expand student loans, especially in underserved communities
- Adjust school start times
- Full day kindergarten statewide
- Fund more after school programs
- Fund more school counselors, social workers, psychologists at all levels
- Mandate recess
- Encourage school gardens and greenhouses, creating self reliant school lunch programs
- Paraprofessional training, salary, and benefit increases
- End school grading and reform testing; give teachers freedom and funding
- File clerks for all special education teachers
- Adopt a tax credit for hiring those residing in homeless shelters
- Require cities to provide deeply-affordable and homeless housing or pay Samaritan property tax to build them elsewhere
- Adopt a sales tax exemption for diapers and menstruation products
- Implement age-based minimum/living wage tiers, following the British system
- Increase fraud prosecution for public benefits
- Make it easier to access unemployment insurance
- Oppose gambling in all forms
- Reform state Income tax to reduce dependence on third-party programs (i.e. a postcard filing)
- Study how to encourage stable retirement and pension policies
- Ban bribes to get the Olympics and oppose public funding to host them
- Expand the Fix the Bricks earthquake preparation programs statewide
- Restore the Main Street rural economic development program
- Eliminate population quotas for liquor licenses
- Increase liquor law enforcement to discourage underage serving and sales, reduce DUIs, and encourage sobriety programs
- Study privatizing liquor stores
- Reduce alfalfa subsidies, and encourage a shift to broader crops
- Increase subsidies for family farms
- Fund LeRay McAllister Trust Easement program to sustain agriculture throughout the state
- More fully integrate agriculture into science and health curriculum standards
- Incentivize electrified farm equipment conversions and sales.