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Key Issues

Effective and Actionable

I support restricting access to firearms by the mentally ill and those with criminal backgrounds.

Good government

I support reforms in the process of electing public officials and in the way they do business.

Campaign & Election Reform

These include term limits, campaign finance reform, open primaries, ranked-choice voting, and ending closed party caucuses in legislative deliberations.

Redistricting Commission

The recommendations of the voter-passed independent redistricting commission must be respected by the legislature and an “up or down” vote should be required. 

Count My Vote

Any efforts to weaken or repeal the “Count My Vote” reform should be resisted, but the signature threshold should be lowered.

Taxes

I support equitable taxation that ensures that lower-income families and individuals do not pay a higher percentage of their income than high-income taxpayers. 

Sales Tax

I support total elimination of the sales tax on food.  I oppose making the sales tax a bigger portion of the overall tax mix in Utah.

Fiscal responsibility

We should require efficient administration of state government programs.  Eliminate unnecessary regulations.  Avoid passing legislation that would likely be challenged in court, thus avoiding costly litigation.

Education

I support increased funding of K-12 and higher education.  Utah should set a long-range goal of moving Utah out of last place in per-pupil funding for K-12.

Teacher Pay

Teacher pay should be increased, reflecting that Utah values the teaching profession. 

K-12 Class Size

Class size should be reduced

Income Tax for Education

The constitutional earmark of the state income tax to support education should be preserved.

Community & Vocational College

With respect to higher education, we should have a conversation about making community and vocational college free for all students. 

Higher-Ed Costs

Greater effort needs to be made by colleges and universities to control costs.

Air Quality and Global Warming

Utah should continue working toward cleaner air quality on the Wasatch Front and promoting renewable forms of energy.

I support equitable taxation that ensures that lower-income families and individuals do not pay a higher percentage of their income than high-income taxpayers. 

Public Transit

I support increased taxpayer support of public transit (UTA) to decrease fares and provide free fares on bad-air days during winter.

Coal Industry

 I oppose any measures to “prop up” the coal industry.

Inland Port

I opposed the Inland Port, but now that it is reality, I support close monitoring to reduce and mitigate any environmental damage.

State Legislature

I believe the legislature has shown a pattern of unresponsiveness toward the will of Utah citizens as evidenced by the tax-reform bill passed last December and the significant modification of citizen initiatives regarding medical marijuana, Medicaid expansion, and an independent redistricting commission.

Voter-passed Legislation (Initiatives)

I pledge not to vote to significantly alter voter-passed legislation (initiatives) even if I disagree with them.

Check Legislative Power

Generally I would oppose any measure designed to enhance the power of the Legislature in relation to the executive branch, local government, or the right of voters to pass legislation directly through the initiative process.

Equality

I support a welcoming stance to immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized groups. 

Equality for all

I support continued efforts to ensure equality for all.

Protections for LGBTQ+

Anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ persons should be extended to cover public accommodations.

Free enterprise

I believe that free enterprise and capitalism, despite its faults, is a better economic system than socialism or any authoritarian system. 

Balancing priorities

Utah should support an atmosphere where commerce and industry can thrive, while requiring responsible stewardship of human resources and of the environment.

Crony capitalism

I oppose crony capitalism. 

Tax breaks

Tax breaks to lure businesses to Utah should be applied sparingly

Second Amendment

I support the right to bear arms as an individual right, with reasonable regulations.

Background checks

 This would include background checks for all, including private, gun sales.

Reasonable restrictions

I support restricting access to firearms by the mentally ill and those with criminal backgrounds.

COVID-19

For the most part, I support the leadership of Governor Herbert, Lt. Governor Cox, the medical experts (federal and state), and Utah officials who are guiding Utah through this crisis.  I believe we should approach reopening of the economy or relaxation of stay-at-home recommendations with utmost caution.  Health and safety must be paramount, while recognizing the negative health effects of unemployment and prolonged home confinement. Local governments should have the authority to impose stricter stay-at-home orders when conditions warrant.  I would support spending a portion of the “rainy-day” fund to provide additional support to struggling businesses and workers.

I offer this thought, a quote from Peter Lazaroff:  “In school, you are given a lesson, then a test.  In life, you are given a test and then you learn a lesson . . .”    The present COVID-19 pandemic crisis has lessons to teach us relating to many issues including preparedness, health care, education, and global warming.  Above all, it has taught us the need to put aside political tribalism to work together for the common good.

Update: July 2020

The above statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic was written in May 2020.  From the vantage point of late-July 2020, it is evident that Utah’s political leadership, executive and legislative, was overly eager to re-open Utah’s economy.  We did not adhere to the benchmarks developed both by the state and the federal task forces as to when we could safely reopen.  Also many people became lax about social distancing, beginning around Memorial Day week-end. 

No one wants this pandemic to be over more than I do.  Being in the older age group, and with  underlying health conditions, my wife and I have been very cautious, but we eagerly await the day that a vaccine will be available and our lives can return to a new normal.  I applaud the decision of Salt Lake County Mayor Wilson to issue a mandatory mask-wearing order for indoor public places, and am grateful that Governor Herbert allowed her to do so.  It is unfortunate that the Utah legislature took away a county government’s ability to issue such orders without obtaining the state’s permission.

It is disconcerting that the wearing of face masks has become a political issue.  This is a common-sense practice that can greatly reduce the spread of this virus and make it possible for most businesses to remain open.  The present crisis calls for more community solidarity rather than unbridled individualism.  I endorse the “moon-shot” challenge issued recently in a Deseret News editorial for all of us to strictly observe social distancing and wear face masks from now until Labor Day in order to bring down the rate of infection in Utah.   We can get through these difficult times, but we need to pull together.

Thoughts regarding Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police

Enough is enough. Our pain, our cries, and our need to be seen and heard resonate throughout this entire country. We demand acknowledgment and accountability for the devaluation and dehumanization of Black life at the hands of the police. We call for radical, sustainable solutions that affirm the prosperity of Black lives.

– from the Black Lives Matter website

As a political moderate, I do not normally support “radical” solutions, and also do not like the phrase “defund the police,” because it is misleading. The problem of systemic racism in policing and other institutions in our society does demand significant, bold and sustainable changes, including some diversion of funding to other community-based programs.  The culture of police aggression must end, no matter who it’s directed against.  We should not demonize all police officers.  Most are dedicated, conscientious, and not racist.  My cousin, a police officer in Miami, Florida, was shot and killed in the line of duty nine years ago, along with her partner who was Hispanic.  I understand that blue lives matter too.  However, I appreciate that there is a compelling need at this moment in time to focus as a community, state, and nation on the fact that a disproportionate number of African-Americans have been killed or beaten by police, and in many cases where excessive force was used.

I commend the Utah Legislature for recently enacting measures to ban knee-to-neck restraints and end chokeholds.  There are many good ideas being proposed, including the “8can’twait” reforms advocated by Black Lives Matter and the proposals of Utah’s Libertas Institute.  Most of these reforms can be supported by people across the political spectrum, especially by those who oppose an overbearing government.  Some, but not all, of the reforms I support include the following:

  1. Citizen and community oversight of police: citizen review boards should include a cross-section of the community (current or retired police officers could be represented but not constitute a majority of the board);
  2. Immunity reform: police officers could be individually sued for wrongful deaths and injuries and would need to purchase liability insurance as doctors presently do;
  3. Full disclosure by police departments and mandatory reporting of misconduct by fellow officers;
  4. End militarization of police (the accepting of free federal surplus military equipment;
  5. Create a legal standard of excessive forcestate law should narrowly describe the level of force that is reasonably appropriate to use in any given law enforcement encounter;
  6. Mandatory body cameras for critical incidents – when force is used or a warrant is served;
  7. Forcible entry reform – prohibit no-knock warrants except in cases of imminent danger;
  8. improved screening, hiring, and training processes, including de-escalation training;
  9. Loss of certification for misconduct.

 

While strongly supporting the right of peaceful protest, I condemn acts of violence and destruction of property.

I would support increasing the salaries of police officers commensurate with the higher expectations and standards we should require in the future.

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