Utah House District 26
The Utah House of Representatives is comprised of 75 men and women, each representing different areas of the state, elected to two-year terms.
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Utah continues to be one of only 11 states with no limit on the amount of money an individual can contribute to a political campaign, and one of only 5 states with no limits on what a corporation can contribute. Do you favor any limits on donations to political campaigns? Why or why not?
What is the legislature’s role in addressing the homeless problem and assuring affordable housing for the working poor?
Not all school districts are able to provide the same resources for their students. How should we support school districts with lesser ability (primarily because of lower property values) to raise revenue?
The Utah State Constitution reads, in part, "Both male and female citizens of this State shall enjoy equally all civil, political and religious rights and privileges." The Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Should Utah ratify the ERA which expresses the same view as the Utah Constitution? Explain your position.
Salt Lake City Division of Youth and Family Programs
B.S. Political Science and Chicano Studies, University of Utah
Masters in Public Administration, University of Utah
I strongly support political campaign reform, which should definitely include limitations on individual and corporate donations. I strongly disagree with the precedent set in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens Unitedcase that considered political donations—or money—the same as free speech. Our elections should not be up for sale because: it allows politicians to be bought; the interests of the rich and powerful to outweigh the common interests or those with less resources who have been historically left behind; and creates an undue influence on our policymaking process. Aside from contribution limits, I also support more extensive reporting requirements for greater transparency and stricter penalties for greater accountability.
The real measure of whether ours is truly a “best-managed state” must be viewed by how our working families and those struggling are getting by. From that perspective, we see some serious inequities in our fiscal policies that have left far too many behind. Homelessness and affordable housing are more than policy priorities, they reflect our commitment to the dignity of people and our sense of family values. So the legislature has a compelling state interest in addressing these issues not only on a surface level, but by focusing on the underlying causes, such as: health care, addiction, mental health care, and our tax, housing, education, and labor policies. Our role is one of stewardship where we are charged with ensuring that our economy works for all of us.
We all want the best for our children, but to the extent that our education funding model favors those schools in higher-income neighborhoods, we are actively reinforcing systemic inequities in our education system. That creates an obligation for our legislature to find better ways to equalize funding and sufficiently support our students, teachers and schools. We’ve taken many small steps when we’ve needed bigger and bolder changes to our funding model and budget priorities. It’s long overdue.
It's shameful that Utah has not yet ratified the ERA; however, the requirement for three-quarters of the states to ratify has been met and our Congressional delegation should support measures to accept that ratification is now complete. Our Utah State Legislature should now join those 38 states and ratify the ERA as well. Not only does the ERA align with our Utah State Constitution, it reflects what should be a common, American value among my legislative colleagues: that we are all equal under the law. To continue rejecting this basic premise of equality, and objecting to the inclusion of the now-ratified ERA to the U.S. Constitution, our legislature is failing its duty to uphold our own Utah Constitution.
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