Utah State Senate
Sandy/Draper/Traverse Mountain Area
What kind of support does your campaign need most?
UAC 2022 Utah Legislative Candidate Survey Responses
Tell us about yourself: this could include biographical details, a list of hobbies, professional accomplishments, or anything you’d like to highlight. Please note that you will have an opportunity to discuss volunteer experiences, below.
I was born in Utah, and have lived most of my life in Sandy. I graduated from Hillcrest High School and Utah State University. I work as a software developer. Some hobbies include reading, playing board games, mountain biking, and curling.
Describe your strategy for victory in your campaign; i.e., what is your messaging? How will it appeal to a majority of voters in your district? Are voters in your district already aligned with your views? If not, how do you plan to persuade them?
I believe in fully funding our great public schools. I'm leaving door hangars and am sending out a mailer.
A decision to run for office can often be a difficult one: why did you decide to run for the Utah State Legislature, i.e. what are your guiding principles?
As the child of a public school teacher, I was disappointed when the incumbent sponsored the voucher bill to take money away from public schools and give it to private schools. I was also disturbed when he passed HB 359 that directly benefited his father's law firm(where he works) in their eviction work. I also was disappointed when the Republican legislature ignored the maps drawn up by the independent redistricting commission and instead passed one drawn up in secret and revealed at the last minute. I think voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around!
What professional or volunteer experience do you have that’s pertinent to being a Utah State Legislator?
I am an Eagle Scout. I served a religious service mission to Chile, where I saw firsthand the downsides of having a patchwork of public, private, and religious schools of varying quality and cost instead of a robust public education system. In the best case, children often had to ride an hour each day to go to a school on the other side of the city away from any of their siblings because it was the only one they could afford or that provided a decent education for them.
What community groups, nonprofit organizations, or professional organizations do you belong to or align with?
What local community members, professional associates, or elected officials have encouraged you to run for office or endorsed your campaign?
I have officially been endorsed by the Women's Democratic Club and Canyon's Education Association. Additionally, I will be formally endorsed by the UEA later this week.
What book has most influenced your decision to run for public office?
In our polarized political environment, it can be difficult to achieve the results you envision for your community. What are some strategies that might help you achieve your policy goals? Examples might include coalition-building with opposing-party caucuses, seeking support from established nonprofits, or cultivating public support from like-minded individuals and grassroots groups.
Running as a Democrat in a Republican dominated state, I recognize that there will be little I can accomplish if I'm not willing to work across the aisle to find common sense solutions. I will always fight for our public schools.
Please list or describe the areas of public policy you intend to focus on while in office—please describe YOUR areas of interest.
Fully funding Public Education
If you are an incumbent, were you the primary author of any bills that became law during your most recent term? Please share the one or two bills of which you are most proud.
My opponent was the Senate Sponsor of the failed Voucher bill to take money away from public schools
He also sponsored and passed HB 359, that directly benefited his father's law firm (where he works) in their work on evictions.
If you are elected and are able to have a bill passed into law, would you be willing to raise taxes to fund its enactment? If you would, instead, seek to cut funding from another program, what programs do you feel are funded to excess?
I would seek to spend less on frivolous lawsuits with the federal government. I would like to ensure we don't divert already allocated revenues away from public education.
The Role of Government Role in Public Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed strain on our systems of governance, public health response, and health care capacity. What do you feel is the role of the Utah State Government in the response to the current pandemic? In future public health crises? What role is appropriate for municipal governments, local public health departments, and local school districts?
The pandemic underscored how our health is interconnected. I would like to ensure we have the testing and tracing infrastructure in place to minimize the harm future disease outbreaks may cause, and believe that local health departments offering affordable vaccinations for preventable diseases is one of the best and most cost effective ways to ensure the health of our communities. To protect vulnerable school children, we need to ensure we maintain herd immunity and have adequate ventilation in our classrooms.
The Role of Expertise in Decision Making
Elected officials are chosen to represent our communities by their citizens but neither they nor their constituents are experts in the many fields that inform and even run the day-to-day work of government. How do you rank your information sources, i.e. who is most important to listen to? Committees, caucus leadership, constituent feedback, or professional experts?
As the child of a public school teacher and a lawyer, I have access to quality feedback about issues critical to our public schools as well as wording for legislation. I believe an elected representative has a duty to listen to all their constituents and should try to do what is in their best interest. I would be open to feedback from other individuals and groups.
The power balance of Utah’s legislature—in both the House of Representatives and the Senate—is skewed in favor of a Republican super-majority. What is your approach to creating understanding and compromise when it appears neither is possible?
I believe that when people are acting in good faith there are usually sensible agreements that can be reached. I would strive to find alternative answers to supposed binary choices, and have found that when you look hard enough, you can usually find a third solution that is better than either of the extremes. I would support an open dialogue across the aisle and would strive for common sense solutions both sides can agree on.
The Great Salt Lake is in jeopardy. Fossil fuel consumption is a direct cause of the changes we are seeing to communities and habitats across the state. How do you foresee balancing short-term economic pressures against the need to have difficult conversations and make difficult choices in order to preserve Utah for our children and grandchildren?
It is critical we protect the Great Salt Lake and don't let it dry up, as it would only exacerbate the air quality issues we already have with our winter inversions. With recent gas price spikes, and with gas cars causing over half of the pollution across the Wasatch Front, it's clear that we need transit solutions that benefit all Utahn's. Some actions the legislature might consider could be expanding UTA's free fare February from just February to the whole winter (or better yet the whole year), and incentivizing Utahn's to drive less and/or drive cleaner vehicles, including EV's that don't make our winter inversion air worse.
State legislatures are now where the personhood of women is decided. How will you engage with your colleagues on this issue—and will you vote to protect the right of women to full bodily autonomy?
I support every person's right to bodily autonomy. I do not think the legislature should be trying to make critical healthcare decisions for individuals or their doctors. I trust women to make the right reproductive choices for them and their families.
Our communities seem more divided than ever over the topics of racial and LGBTQIA equity in our schools. In your view, what is the role of the Utah State Legislature in protecting or defining the rights of minority groups in our communities?
The legislature should ensure full legal protections for all groups, and especially vulnerable minority groups.
Another ongoing stressor on our school system is the false notion that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is being taught in Utah’s K-12 schools. What would you say to someone who is opposed to teaching a full accounting of American History in our schools?
CRT is NOT being taught in public schools in Utah. The legislature should not start telling teachers what they can and cannot teach. The legislature should be supporting our public schools and public school teachers, not micromanaging them. We already have organizations like school boards and school districts that strive to ensure students get a quality education and have a high quality curriculum.
Mental Health in Schools
Many underlying issues are adjacent to the debates over equity in Utah schools. For instance, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are prevalent among Utah’s youth. Do you believe Utah’s educational system has a role to play in supporting the social and emotional wellness of its students? If yes, how would you propose funding our educational system so it has the resources it would need to fill this role?
We need to better fund our public schools to ensure every child has access to a quality education, as well as support for mental health and other issues that may negatively affect their education. Social and emotional wellness in closely connected to learning success. For example, a student who doesn't know how to control their temper could negatively affect the learning environment for themselves and for their whole class.
Another ongoing debate concerns school choice through vouchers for private schools. Do you support the appropriation of taxpayer funds for families to send their children to schools that are exempt from meeting state and federal educational standards and from following Civil Liberties law?
We should NOT be taking any money from public schools and giving it to private schools. Families already have a variety of options through permitting to out of boundary schools as well as charter schools.
Utah ranks 49/50 in per pupil spending, coming in at $8,366 spent per student (according to the 2020 Census). Utah schools are run by a complicated network of professionals including school bus drivers, kitchen staff, administrative assistance, reading specialists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and administrators. To effectively support teachers and students, the entire school system must be adequately supported. What would you say to anyone suggesting that Utah's current budget surplus be used to pay for another round of tax cuts?
Including DC, we're 50th/51 in public school funding, ahead of only Idaho. I would not support any tax cuts that would remove funding from our public education system. While I would like to decrease the grocery sales tax, I would not be in favor of cutting any other taxes at this time, and would allocate any surplus funds to our public schools instead of a tax cut.
Is there an unasked question you would love to answer? Please tell us about the issue you are passionate about that we have not touched upon.
I do not think that public funds should be spent on a Gondola up Little Cottonwood Canyon, which I see as a tourist attraction and not a serious public transit solution.