West Side Representation and Economic Development
There are many issues that are of specific concern to residents of the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. Since I am seeking to represent the people of West Jordan, I am committed to our area having fair representation at the state level.
Economic development and urban planning are major issues in Utah, particularly along the Wasatch Front. It seems to me that development initiatives have disproportionately favored the east side of the valley, leaving those who live west of I-15 with fewer convenient options to access employment and services close to home. If elected, I will work towards a more balanced regional approach to development initiatives.
This is not only a question of convenience. Reduced access to nearby resources increases commuting, which in the long term will continue to exacerbate our worsening air quality.
Regarding public education, I will firmly oppose any attempt to divide a school district along economic boundaries as we saw with the Canyons/Jordan split. These sort of initiatives can have negative outcomes for public school students, who are already struggling with an underfunded education system.
Immigration policy is handled primarily by the federal government. That being said, state legislatures occasionally debate immigration laws, which are typically more restrictive than federal laws. As a supporter of pathways to citizenship for law-abiding undocumented immigrants, I commit to oppose any attempts to advance xenophobic or draconian immigration laws that encourage racial or ethnic profiling.
According to MIT, a family of four (two adults, two children) in Utah would require a gross annual income of $58,000 to be considered to be earning a living wage. Assuming that both adults are working full time, this means that each adult would have to earn $14.01/hour to support their family. This is nearly twice the current minimum wage of $7.25. As a legislator, I would not only push for a higher minimum wage for Utah families, but also seek to tie the minimum wage to cost of living indices to ensure that it doesn’t fall out of step with the economic realities that Utahns face.
Utah has one of the lowest union participation rates in the nation, which is exacerbated by the anti-labor rhetoric of our political leadership, as well as union-busting “right-to-work” legislation. It is my intention to ardently defend the rights of employees to organize and collectively bargain with employers. As your representative, I will vigorously challenge any attempt to infringe on labor rights by the legislature.
Elected officials must work towards better outcomes for all of their constituents. As such, I believe that it is imperative to stand for those who are most marginalized. As your Representative, I will introduce anti-discrimination legislation that will prohibit workplace and housing discrimination based on all protected classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity. This is an important step towards a more just and inclusive society.
Utah has the lowest per-student educational spending in the United States of America. This is unacceptable and leads to poor academic outcomes. By increasing education funding, we can improve access to technology, reduce class sizes, and provide better wages to educators, all of which will serve to create a more effective learning environment for our students.
Utah has an alarmingly high level of prescription drug overdoses. Many of the symptoms for which these addictive pharmaceuticals are prescribed can be treated in a safer manner with the therapeutic use of cannabis. I believe that a comprehensive medical cannabis initiative, which would allow patients to purchase cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries with a physician’s recommendation, could drastically decrease prescription-related deaths and generate a significant amount of revenue for the state. This revenue could in turn be used to fund healthcare and/or education initiatives.
As health insurance costs increase, a disproportionate burden is placed on families at lower income levels. While Medicaid provides coverage to some of the very poorest Utahns, low-income working families often do not qualify and cannot afford expensive private insurance premiums. By expanding Medicaid, we can leverage federal subsidies to provide healthcare to many who would otherwise be priced out of purchasing coverage.
Unfortunately, many members of the Utah legislature seek control of our public lands so that they can be exploited for financial gain. This is a disastrous policy, done at the behest of monied interests, which will only serve to worsen environmental issues across the state, threaten our native wildlife, and deprive us of our treasured natural resources. As a member of the State House, I will strongly oppose any measure that would put Utah’s public lands in jeopardy.
Poor air quality is rapidly worsening from an occasional inconvenience into a pervasive public health problem which needs to be addressed urgently. I support expanding tax incentives to Utahns who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or fit their homes with solar panels in order to minimize the presence of particulate matter in the air. In addition, I believe that public transport should be expanded to increase speed and convenience, thereby encouraging its use. Additionally, the state should invest in renewable energy initiatives to move away from our fossil fuel-based energy infrastructure.