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Utah Senate District 7

Members of the Utah State Senate serve four-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Half of the Senators are up for re-election every two years. Utah legislators assume office the first or second day of session (January). Utah's state senators represent an average of 95,306 residents.

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    Emily Bergeson

  • Mike McKell

Biographical Information

The Utah constitution allows citizens to make laws through an initiative process. What is your opinion of the initiative process and would you change it, if you could?

What actions should Utah take to promote clean air and mitigate the effects of climate change?

According to the Kem Gardner Institute, projected population growth in Utah is an increase from 3 million (in 2015) to 5.8 million by 2065. Can we maintain the quality of life we value with this amount of growth — particularly on the Wasatch Front? What about water, transportation and schools?

Many Utahns go to work when sick, potentially exposing many other people to infections. This is because nationally, 40% of service jobs—retail sales, food service, child care, etc.) do not offer paid sick leave and almost 12% of Utahns lack health care insurance. How can this problem be addressed?

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 po-sition.

Campaign Mailing Address 544 S 2330 W
Provo, Utah 84601
Campaign Email Address
Campaign Phone (435) 881-8425
Twitter @mom_politics
Current Employment Freelance sign language interpreter
Education Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business Bachelor's of Science in Business
Campaign Website
The initiative process has been key at allowing citizens to get more involved and participate in creating laws that affect them and their communities. Initiatives are also a great way for legislators to know what it is people really want. Recently the initiative process got an overhaul that raised the requirements for signatures and made it more difficult for active citizens to put initiatives on the ballot. The reasoning was fear that big companies are hijacking the process. But because of that fear, now only big companies can afford to put initiatives on the ballot. I would rather find alternative ways to encourage and promote grassroots movement and help citizens feel ownership over the government they pay for and support.
Utah is experiencing tremendous growth and with that growth comes opportunities. We could help by approving building designs that are energy efficient. We can expand public transportation systems that can connect to existing transportation services. We can create more idle-free zones. We can give incentives to businesses to reduce their impact on the environment. We can improve our recycling and waste management systems. We can provide more bike-friendly commute routes throughout the state.
We can't tell people where to live, but we can plan ahead for the future. Understanding and using resources wisely is key. Government representatives can be key at helping promote and provide needed information to organizations and everyday citizens to help prepare for this expected growth. Adjustments will need to be made, but those adjustments should be made with the right information and with everyone aware and onboard. A key piece is making sure legislatures are properly communicating with key stake holders and informing the public.
These are actually two issues. One is health care. The other is occupations that do not provide sick leave. Health care expansion is a serious debate that concern a lot of people. Voters in 2018 approved a ballot initiative to expand health care, but legislators made adjustments fearing the impact on the state budget. As I have looked at the numbers -- the amounts paid by patients, businesses, and health care providers -- we have a serious problem and already pay a lot into health care. I believe there is a solution to bring down costs while still appropriately compensating providers. We need to help the public see the pros and cons of these solutions and select the one that fits best here in Utah. As far as paid sick leave, there are a range of solutions that need to be explored with business owners to ensure that they can provide that needed benefit to their employees and prevent spread. We need to understand the barriers to providing that needed sick leave.
It is clear that Utah supports equality of the sexes and that the Equal Rights Amendment is in line with that. Utah was among the first to grant women the right to vote. I am not sure why the ERA was not ratified in 1972 and wonder if our ratifying it now would make a difference. I am, however, committed to representing the people of my district and will vote accordingly. If there are objections or concerns, I feel it is my job to be a liaison and share information and concerns between voters and fellow lawmakers.
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