Stephanie Pitcher

Utah State Senate

SD14

Salt Lake County

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Stephanie Pitcher

UAC 2022 Utah Legislative Candidate Survey Responses

Biography

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 am a mother, an attorney, and an enthusiast of Utah's mountains and trails. I worked in the social justice space for over 10 years and am a tireless advocate for Utah's marginalized communities. I enjoy chess, hiking, pickleball, and kayaking. My children attend public schools in the Granite School District and our family is a huge supporter of dual immersion programs that give students exposure to foreign language acquisition and cultural diversity. As a member of the House of Representatives, I have passed several important pieces of legislation in the areas of clean air, affordable childcare, government transparency, and criminal justice reform. Before I attended law school, I started the Utah Women's Coalition, a statewide, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the lives of Utah women through public policy. Through this organization we lobbied for and successfully passed several bills that improved the work-life balance for Utah women and families.

Campaign Strategy

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 am constantly soliciting feedback from the voters in my district to ensure I understand what issues are of top concern to them. Air quality, protection of public lands, education funding, and government transparency are issues voters in Senate District 14 prioritize. I am focusing my campaign around solutions to these problems, as well as issues I see over the course of my work in the criminal justice system and as a representative for House District 40. I plan to spread my campaign message via a combination of strategies, including canvassing, mailers, and digital ads.

Why Run?

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?

I decided to run for Utah State Legislature because I believe I have meaningful things to contribute and the drive and ambition to get it done.

Experience

What professional or volunteer experience do you have that’s pertinent to being a Utah State Legislator?

I have been a member of the House of Representative for the past four years, representing communities in Salt Lake City, Millcreek, and Holladay.

Community

What community groups, nonprofit organizations, or professional organizations do you belong to or align with?

ACLU Utah, O2 Utah, Voices for Utah Children, Planned Parenthood, the Utah Women's Coalition

Endorsements

What local community members, professional associates, or elected officials have encouraged you to run for office or endorsed your campaign?

Better Boundaries, O2 Utah

Book Recommendation

What book has most influenced your decision to run for public office?

Building Momentum

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.

Over my four years in the House of Representatives, I have built a demonstrated track record of achieving results on behalf of our community. I have done this by way of building bipartisan relationships, coalition-building, educating my colleagues and the community, and building a reputation of being straightforward, honest, and forthcoming.

Priorities

Please list or describe the areas of public policy you intend to focus on while in office—please describe YOUR areas of interest.

If elected, I plan to continue my work in the areas of clean air and sustainability, criminal justice reform, supporting working families, affordable childcare, and governmental transparency.

Incumbent Successes

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.

I am not an incumbent for this senate seat, but I am a current member of the House of Representatives. The legislation of which I am most proud this past session is HB336, which cracks down on individuals who provide false information to the DMV in an attempt to avoid vehicle emissions testing requirements.

Fiscal Philosophy

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?

Yes. I believe we should cut funding allocated to the state to defend lawsuits we know (based on constitutional notes and legal analyses from the legislature's own attorneys) are unconstitutional.

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?

I believe local entities and public health officials are best suited to identify challenges unique to their communities and make recommendations that address and mitigate public health risks. I support legislation that allows local authorities to do what is best for their communities.

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?

I look to a variety or sources when I am not well-versed on the topics or policy areas presented. This includes subject matter experts in my own community, my constituents, members of my caucus who have more experience or expertise in a given feel than I, and professional experts in the field.

Creating Consensus

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?

Honest, straightforward communication, listening, and trying to understand opposing viewpoints are the keys to building bipartisan relationships. These bipartisan relationships are essential to creating better understanding and compromise on difficult issues.

The Environment

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?

Equal Rights

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?

LGBTQIA+

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?

Our legislature should prioritize the health, safety, and wellbeing of minority groups in our communities, including racial minorities and members of the LGBTQIA community. The legislature can do so by improving our anti-discrimination statute, providing for appropriate remedies when discrimination occurs, expand the applicability of our anti-discrimination statue to apply to businesses with fewer than 15 employees, and pass legislation that promotes inclusivity, diversity, and equality.

American History

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?

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?

Vouchers

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?

Education

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?

Wild Card

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.

Thank you for taking the time to read this candidate's responses to the UAC 2022 Utah Legislative Candidate Survey