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Utah House District 53

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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  • Kera Birkeland

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    Cheryl Butler

Biographical Information

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.

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Campaign Mailing Address 7446 Fiddlers Hollow
Park City, UT 84098
Campaign Email Address
Campaign Phone (435) 655-5698
Current Employment Retired
Education BS Mech Engr - Harvey Mudd College BS Bus Econ - Claremont McKenna College
Campaign Website
Yes, I am in favor of campaign contribution limits for both individuals and corporations. With Utah’s unlimited contributions, candidates and elected officials are motivated to spend their time appealing to just a few high dollar donors. Your access to your representative shouldn't depend on how much you donate. Establishing limits encourages outreach to a broader group. With contribution limits, candidates and elected officials would be more engaged with, and responsive to, all their constituents.
I believe that all Utahns deserve access to affordable housing. The legislature has historically played multiple roles in addressing homelessness and housing insecurity. Legislation established the Utah Housing Corporation, conducted housing studies, and launched various housing initiatives. As a Board Member of Habitat for Humanity and a member of the Wasatch Back Affordable Housing Workgroup, I strongly support building on these past legislative efforts. We need to move past studying the demand for housing, and work with local governments to increase the supply of affordable housing. There are many study recommendations that can be implemented immediately to break down barriers, like fast-tracking affordable housing projects, reducing impact fees, and incentivizing affordable housing development. In addition, the legislature has a role in addressing other underlying issues that cause housing insecurity, like education, employment opportunity, wages and healthcare.
I support Utah's statutory requirement that “All children of the state are entitled to reasonably equal educational opportunities regardless of their place of residence in the state and of the economic situation of their respective school districts.” Utah's equalization efforts have been ongoing for many years, providing additional state funding to school districts that do not have adequate property tax revenues. The bigger issue however, is overall funding for our schools. For example, Utah ranks about the middle of the pack (23rd) among other states in school funding equity. However, Utah consistently ranks last compared to other states in overall funding per pupil. I support continuing to find opportunities to improve both equity in funding and overall funding, for example through state funding of specific programs and capital improvements.
Ratified in the 1860's, the 14th amendment to the US Constitution appears to grant equal rights to all Americans. However, the courts have not agreed that the 14th amendment applies to women. I am grateful that our Utah pioneers recognized that fact in 1895 and so they ensured that women's equal rights would be protected under the Utah Constitution. Over 20 states still do not have this protection, including the states where my granddaughters live. This is a basic issue of fairness. Utah should ratify the ERA to help ensure that all Americans enjoy equal constitutional rights and privileges, just as Utah women have enjoyed for over 100 years.