Tab Lyn Uno
Utah State House
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 graduated from the University of Utah with undergraduate degrees in philosophy and political science and a graduate degree in Public Administration. I was elected to the Salt Lake City Board of Education at the age of 22. I became an economic and redevelopment specialist and community development block grant specialist for West Valley City, then Sandy City's community development block grant coordinator. I then went to work for Salt Lake County Aging Services helping seniors in Central City and then the University of Utah College of Health Education helping to mobilize communities in drug prevention. Later I went back to school and received my Master's in Social Worker and became licensed to practice clinical social work for the next 18 years helping individuals and couples cope with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and other life issues.
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 have spent four and a half years visiting all the 12,000+ homes in Utah House District 13 in person five times door-to-door and completed two legislative surveys asking residents about their legislative concerns. I have personally delivered informative campaign information about our community's issues and my plans for addressing them five times. My views are the voters' views. I have developed a growing list of supporters and increased my public support through an increase of nearly 30% of my visible lawn signs in the District over 2020.
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 completed my Master's thesis in 1986 entitled, "The Communication of Representation Between Legislators and Constituency" in which I developed a new perspective on the moral obligations of elected officials and how substantive representation should be undertaken in the real world. My father, a major civil rights leader and first minority state district court judge was very involved in community affairs. Before I die, I want to believe that I helped to make our community a better place.
What professional or volunteer experience do you have that’s pertinent to being a Utah State Legislator?
I initiated and worked with a conservative Republican State Senator to amend a state law to provide for greater transparency in local school government -.Utah House Bill 152 (2011). I educated citizens regarding the State Legislature as part of my role as a volunteer for the Neighborhood Action Coalition.
What community groups, nonprofit organizations, or professional organizations do you belong to or align with?
Japanese American Citizens League. Legend has it that I was the first volunteer for the Utah Children's Museum and I have volunteered for the Leonardo Museum. I oversaw the Mothers Against Gangs in Communities as well as Parents of Murdered Children.
What local community members, professional associates, or elected officials have encouraged you to run for office or endorsed your campaign?
I am running because I feel an obligation to our community and they deserve the best representative. Nobody encouraged me to run. However Utah State Democratic Vice-Chair and then the Chair called me prior to the 2018 filing deadline and asked me to run. I had already decided to run but in 2020.
What book has most influenced your decision to run for public office?
My own Master's thesis (1986).
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.
I will take the community concerns and issues raised from talking directly to hundreds and hundreds of residents in Utah House District and seek like-minded Republican state legislators and help support their proposed legislation working behind the scenes to pass laws that help address shared issues in our community and across the state of Utah.
Please list or describe the areas of public policy you intend to focus on while in office—please describe YOUR areas of interest.
My area of interest are those of the residents of Utah House District 13. They include:
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.
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?
Our state's tax structure needs reform to bring additional relief to middle-class Utahns. Many of my proposals will not require significant taxpayer funding such as creating local independent housing and development commission and a certificate of infrastructure sufficiency for large housing developments to address excessive growth in our communities, giving local school community councils more power so that teachers and parents have more say over what happens in their own schools, creating science-based COVID-19 laws that make sense,
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 we need science-driven health laws based on verified facts and validated experiments, not political whims dictated by the subjective values of the President of the Utah Senate, the Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, and the State Governor as the present laws of our State authorize. Instead, residents need laws with specific regulatory standards that are consistent with real science, and existing public health laws, like mandatory seat belt laws that protect drivers and passengers. Local governments and public health departments, local schools closer to the people, and with better awareness of local conditions should have the primary legal authority to oversee COVID-19 public health regulations in their own jurisdictions. One size does not fit all.
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?
Constituent feedback based on their own direct personal experience and their own research sources, professional experts, my own personal direct experience, and the comparative values and strengths of the different opinions and beliefs.
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?
One striking fact that remains etched in my memory comes from my own legislative survey that I undertook during February of 1986 as part of my Master's thesis in public administration where I personally visited four teen state legislators from around the state of Utah. All of these men and women were hospitable and gracious and appeared sincere in their desire to improve education (which was among the most important policy issue of the public). I believe in most instances that most state legislators are people that have a sound moral foundation and are willing in most cases to work on common concerns. I want to first help these legislators with their own priorities of their constituents that align with Utah House District 13 and develop working relationships so that we can work towards the shared public interest.
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?
Too often those in intensive-polluting industries are forgotten. I am talking about the workers and the laborers who undertake the hard work that makes a profit for the executives and investors of those industries. We need to ensure that a primary focus on transitioning away from fossil fuels, which most of the global car manufacturers already are, every effort to help those negatively impacted the most so that they are not left behind. This is about saving our communities and those people who live in them. I propose that we use some of the state's two billion dollar surplus in these extraordinary times to help these employees with counseling and job transition assistance so that they can retain and improve on their own career paths that also will help grow Utah industries that serve our residents with what they need the most - a win-win outcome.
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?
What really constitutes "personhood" has never been discussed in political circles. Having taken a bioethics course at the Univerity of Utah and studied the moral issues underlying abortion, I have a unique perspective of the ethical issues that are being ignored by both sides in this debate. I am planning, if elected, to hold various town hall meetings through Utah House District 13 overseen by a bioethics mediator to narrow the differences between each side and develop a consensus on meaningful solutions to address both the moral concerns of the unborn and the mother.
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?
We need to start at the beginning. We need to begin a dialogue among the primary stakeholders and find common ground and values that we can share. We need to get passed the emotional, irrational thoughts and beliefs and hold a respectful conversation about the perceived differences people are heatedly arguing about. In visiting every home in Utah House District 13, I have attempted to hold conversations with residents across the entire political spectrum. I have come away hopeful that with most people there remains a common core of humanity and compassion among us and that we can bridge these differences in a vast majority of the cases. The mass media and national perspective have only highlighted the divide, not the unity that is potentially available to discover with sound and deliberative discussion among residents. The role of the Utah State Legislature is for its members to get out of their narrow political boxes and to work with their own constituents to heal our communities and bring back a sense of decency.
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 our schools. Instead, most public school teachers are working from a curriculum that is based on historical fact, not speculation.
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?
As a former Utah licensed clinical social worker with over 18 years of experience in the field of depression, anxiety, and suicide, I strongly support the value of mental health counseling. To fund these resources, I would tap into the state's billion-dollar surplus while working in the long-term to restructure our state tax system to that revenue that is not currently being tapped into because of the many unfair tax loopholes that need to be closed so that everybody pays their fair share. We can also develop public-private partnerships with therapists and counselors to work more closely with the public school system as well as the schools of higher education.
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?
Public schools are at a crossroads and instead of allowing public funds to continue to be siphoned away from our public schools, we need to improve our public school system so that parents will want their children to stay or return to the public school system. I propose that the State Legislature increase the role that teachers and parents have over their own local public schools. I want local school community councils to have the power to hire and fire their own school principal and have more control over their own school budget. I want to reduce state mandates so that professional teachers can teach without all the bureaucratic paperwork. Instead, I propose that schools be evaluated on only one of two criteria - the percent of students getting accepted into the college or university of their choice or the percent of students getting hired in an occupation of their choice.
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?
I believe there may be room for some form of tax cuts, especially for the hard-pressed senior citizens and middle-class families. Currently, the public perception of public education remains in doubt especially in Davis County with the U.S. Justice Department's major allegations of racial discrimination. There continue to be problems with disruptive student behavior in the classroom and the lack of parental support in various areas of Davis County. The lack of access to special education services is especially concerning. The problems in Salt Lake City with the resignation of its school superintendent only add to the cynical doubt of public education among voters. Before we can usher in a new greatly larger infusion of taxpayer dollars for public education, there needs to be educational reform to convince the public that their dollars will be put to better use. I propose as I have mentioned before that teachers and parents be given more control over their own public schools so they have a larger investment and incentive and be given the opportunity and responsibility to improve the education of their students. With greater public trust and confidence in our schools, the more likely the public will want to put more of their tax dollars into public education.
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.
Dangerous congestion transportation and excessive unregulated growth in Utah.