I believe our founding documents were divinely inspired–that government exists to protect our lives, liberty, and property. Thus, we must ensure that government does not intrude into the lives of its citizens. I am pro-individual rights, pro-small government, and pro-capitalism. I believe as Jefferson did that the government closest to the people serves the people best. As such, I am a strong proponent of federalism and states rights. I am a fiscal conservative that supports the reduction and simplification of taxation. I am pro-life and I fully support the Second Amendment. I am a strong supporter of legal immigration and oppose any action that normalizes illegal immigration. I support the platform of the Utah Republican Party.
Here are some of issues that I am most passionate about:
Our valley continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, adding roughly 8,000 new residents each year for the past 20 years. The 32,000 acres of undeveloped land west of Bangerter remains the last significant developable area in the county. The decisions we make today on how that land is developed will have lasting consequences on the vitality and quality of life for our community. It is crucial that the decisions affecting the development of this land is made by those who live in this area and who have to deal with the consequences.
Life is getting more expensive in Utah due to our state’s rapid population and income growth. Buying a home, raising a family, or settling into retirement in Utah is a dream that is becoming out of reach for many. As the public sector, we need to ensure local and state elected officials take the long view and consider regional and statewide goals as they enact policies that impact jobs, housing, and incomes so that current and future generations can afford to establish a life in Utah.
We have been blessed to live in a state with booming economic growth. Recently, we ranked first in the nation in job growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We just had the largest budget surplus in the history of the state. We have been recognized as the Best Managed State in America. These accolades have come because of Utah’s culture of limited government and fiscal responsibility. Government does not create jobs—its role in the economy is to protect property rights, to make and enforce laws that give citizens the opportunity to freely pursue opportunities, and to create and maintain public infrastructure so that businesses can thrive.
I hold strong to my core belief that in order for the economy to thrive, government must get out of the way and make life easier for small businesses. I will continue to defend against encroaching federal regulation, which threatens our ability to sustain economic growth, and will fight to protect Utah’s sovereignty and find Utah solutions for Utah’s problems.
There are too many state and federal regulations that are strangling small businesses. I will continue to fight against regulation and antiquated laws that are only in place to protect special interest. Utah should always be a welcoming environment for new and innovative business models to operate.
Lastly, I believe taxation should be simple, fair, and limited. As we strive to reform our tax system, we need to ensure transparency in the process and buy-in from the public.
Coming from a long-line of educators, including a sister who is an English teacher at Herriman High School and a brother who is a teacher at Murray High School, I believe providing quality public education is an important issue facing Utah today. Although ensuring adequate resources is important, we can do a better job administering the educational funding in the state. We must cut down on the high-cost of bureaucratic overhead in education and get the money directly to the local administrators and teachers. Additionally, we must make sure that these local administrators are empowered to direct school funds as their needs demand to increase academic achievement. I support giving more autonomy to local school districts, principals, and administrators. Above all, I will continue to fight to bring more local control, transparency, and empowerment to those who understand the needs of our kids the best–the parents.
While I am a strong supporter of traditional schools, I believe that charter schools and homeschooling have and will continue to play an important role in the education of our kids. These alternative schooling options allow parents greater influence over their children’s education. They allow specialization and provide opportunities to children to be educated in a way that meet their specialized needs and desires. They also create competition with neighboring traditional schools, raising the bar for all of the schools across the state.
Having three small children, I am invested in the fight for education. I will strive to find innovative ways to administer the funds we have wisely and enable parents and teachers greater control in the educational system in order to provide the best education possible for our children.
Additionally, of particular concern to me is special needs education. This large and growing, mostly invisible group of citizens are subject to antiquated regulations and process, have few resources available to them, and wade through an incredible amount of red tape to obtain state and federal benefits. Those with special needs have the potential, with some help, to become a much more meaningful part of society, contributing in ways unique to their abilities and abilities and talents.
Utah must foster innovation in Higher-Ed and K-12 classrooms, change the narrative on allocating education funds to reflect outcomes-not algorithms, and work with our partners to ensure education is a pathway to employment and not a barrier. By doing so, we will further expand opportunities for students and educators to thrive in an ever-changing and advancing world.
We do not have the infrastructure in place to support the growth our corner of the valley is experiencing. More than 80% of our residents commute out of the area for employment each day, with nearly half of them headed north. We each have felt this as we sit in traffic and congestion every day. We need a plan to connect the west side of the valley to the east side. We need to expedite north-south projects that provide streamlined access from the southwest of Salt Lake County to the freeways.
I will continue to fight to ensure that we prioritize and expedite the much needed transportation projects that will alleviate the congestion we feel in the southwest part of the valley, including the conversion of Bangerter Highway and the completion of the Mountain View Corridor, which is critical to mitigating the existing congestion on the east-west roads as commuters try to get to I-15. Additionally, I will work toward developing viable east-west throughways to ensure that the west side is connected to the center of the valley.
Beyond roads, we need to relook at how we have approached public transportation. The trax lines that support our side of the valley are too slow to make them effective for regular commuting. If we want to attract people to use public transportation, we have to ensure that it is as, if not more convenient, than driving. I will support creative and affordable solutions to make public transportation attractive to our community.
Our first amendment rights are under attack. There are powerful forces that are working hard to inhibit freedom of speech and religious believers’ ability to practice their religion and maintain their deeply-held convictions. I believe strongly in the inalienable right of individuals to freely share their opinions and worship in accordance with the dictates of their conscience. It is the role of government to protect and secure these rights. Unfortunately, there are too many in the legislature who undervalue these freedoms and set them aside in pursuit of other goals. I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to achieve in bringing greater freedom of speech to our college campuses, and pledge to continue the fight.
Additionally, my legal background and work with the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Leavitt Institute for International Development gives me a unique perspective, conviction, and credibility to lead the fight to defend our first amendment rights. I understand these issues and will not stand idly by as our most important freedoms continue to be eroded.
Another challenge with Utah’s tremendous population growth over the past two decades and its potential growth is the effect that it has on our air quality. These effects are exacerbated by Utah’s high mountain valleys and plateaus. During winter months, the inversion the Salt Lake Valley experiences traps emissions in the valley for weeks, often reaching levels that negatively impact our health and can lead to serious negative health effects, especially for children and the elderly. Poor air quality can also have a negative effect on our economy as workers are less productive and businesses are less likely to make Utah their home. Improving our air quality needs to be a urgent priority to ensure that our quality of life remains high. I will continue to support cost-effective ways to improve air quality. However, in doing so, I will ensure we avoid government intrusion and business-killing regulations. This is a challenge we can overcome if we will tackle it using conservative principles, innovative thinking, and free market ideas.