Utah State University
BA, Kalamazoo College; PhD, University of Arizona
I would not change the initiative process, or the related referendum process. These provide balance of power, a foundation of governance for both Utah and America, and compel the legislature to pay attention to what people care about. The initiative process allows Utahns to propose a new law; the referendum process allows Utahns to ratify or reject legislature-proposed changes to the Utah Constitution and to reject bills passed by the legislature and prevent them from becoming law. Both ballot initiatives and the referendum process have been used recently, to make laws that Utahns want and to prevent a law that Utahns did not want. These processes are keeping the legislature of Utah, and Utah’s laws, better in tune with what Utahns want.
Many actions that Utah and Utahns can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will both promote cleaner air now and prevent longer-term climate change. Changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can bring significant economic benefits to Utah, and Utah can lead in this transformation. Useful changes, many of which have begun and can be accelerated, include: Making Utah’s emissions-reduction goals more aggressive, Increasing the use of clean energy sources, Increasing the use of electric vehicles, Decreasing unnecessary travel for work, Encouraging energy efficiency, Prioritizing economic development assistance in rural communities where energy transitions occur, Using better planning to build infrastructure that is less dependent on transportation, more energy efficient, and less polluting, and Pursuing political consensus and action on carbon pricing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Senate District 25 benefits from abundant public and open land that makes retaining quality of life easier, preserving beauty, access to outdoors, and the foundation for tourism, agriculture, and recreation.
Water: Utah is an arid state and we must be realistic in our assessment of future water availability and conserve as much as we can. Trying to build our way through water scarcity is expensive and often not possible.
Transportation: We can update our infrastructure to maintain quality of life. We can build well-thought-out infrastructure, from walkable neighborhoods to efficient and non-polluting transportation, and make jobs less reliant on transportation. Just building more roads is not cost-effective or efficient.
Schools: Utah’s investment in public education needs to increase, and must rise as number of students rises. We must do better for our young people to become self-reliant and contribute fully to our communities.
Sick workers should not be pressured to go to work. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires smaller businesses to provide paid sick leave and provides them a tax credit to offset costs. When it expires in 2020, Utah could take similar action to support employees and small businesses. Some Utahns are not being Covid tested and treated (and going to work) because of the costs. There are several ways that Utah can ensure that the most vulnerable Utahns have access to health care. Because of COVID-19, the state has suspended requiring workers to complete training and job search programs to gain access to Medicaid; this can be continued. Also, about 50% of uninsured Utahns are eligible for expanded Medicaid but don't apply due to excessive requirements and paperwork or to lack of awareness; Utah can reduce those barriers. For those not eligible, we can consider a state reinsurance program or tax credits to subsidize the cost of marketplace insurance.
Yes. Utah should affirm its commitment to equal rights for all by ratifying the ERA. Some object to ratification of the ERA now because the ERA amendment process might have to be restarted. Nevertheless, Utah should be on record as supporting the amendment of the U.S. Constitution to state clearly that women, as persons, are entitled to full fair treatment under the law of the United States of America.
CEO, Wilson Motor Company
Utah State University, BS, Business Management
I feel it is vitally important that citizens have a voice and an opportunity for an active role in legislation. The recent tax referendum initiative in response to the tax reform bill that was passed during a special session in December 2019, is an example of when the initiative process worked for the people. However, the initiative process as it is currently established is far too laborious and favors special interests and others with deep pockets. This was not the original intent of the constitutional amendment allowing for such initiatives. If the citizens’ voices are truly to be heard, the process should be more reasonable and obtainable. I acknowledge that there is risk in the pendulum swinging too far to the other side but evaluating the regulations currently in place in order to strike a more appropriate balance is warranted.
I support individual responsibility and economically feasible, science-based solutions to issues affecting our environment. I also support tax incentives to businesses and individuals who choose to actively take steps to improve our environment. For example, in an effort to do my part, I personally invested in 435 solar panels on top of my family-owned business, Wilson Motor Company. During the summer months, we are entirely energy self-sufficient. I also supported and contributed monetarily to the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles in downtown Logan. There are many other ways individuals and businesses can make a difference. I encourage people to voluntarily evaluate what ways they can contribute to protecting and improving our environment.
Planning for explosive growth is one of the most critical priorities of my campaign, with support for rural Utah being key to mitigating the population surge on the Wasatch Front. State appropriations that expand road infrastructure and increase bandwidth, and collaborative efforts of government entities, businesses, education, and private citizens to bolster educational and economic opportunities, attract industries that will bring higher paying jobs, and stop the brain drain from these communities, while maintaining their identity and values, are vital. As a community and business leader I have come to understand the importance of collaboration, and as the District 25 Senator I would carry the mantle to bring these parties together.
COVID-19 has dramatically altered standard operating procedure for us all, but it has made it absolutely critical for businesses to monitor the health of their employees and ensure that they are well. I have always paid sick leave for my employees; however, I recognize that this has not been a priority for all businesses in the past. I believe business owners will see the need for paid sick leave in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and the negative impact not only on their employees and families, but also on the company’s bottom line. Customers will seek to patronize business who invest to keep them and their employees safe.
As the father of five daughters and husband to a strong, independent woman, I am a fierce advocate of the rights of women and am committed to intently listening to the concerns women express. However, Utah should not ratify the ERA as it currently stands because the deadline for ratification has expired. A vote in the legislature would not change that. We must, however, continue to advocate for the equal rights and privileges of women.