1. Please describe your background and what has prepared you to serve in the elected office you seek?
When I was 17, I made the decision to serve our country. I graduated from West Point and was commissioned an officer in the US Army. For me it was a simple decision, I believe in our country, the freedoms we hold and the opportunities afforded to us all. When I left the military, I carried with me the ideals of integrity, service, and commitment to a mission. The oath I took does not expire.
Congress has lost focus on its mission. Recent polls show Congress' approval rating is at 10%. Voters are tired of legislation in Congress being held hostage by partisan rhetoric.
In business leading a division of a global technology firm, I created jobs across the supply chain and managed a multi million-dollar budget. As a former non-profit director of the People's Health Clinic I learned first hand the critical need for access to affordable health and medical care. And as a mom with a 3rd grade daughter, I understand that education is our most important investment. The issues facing our state and our Nation are complex and require legislators with diverse education, relevant experience, and mission focus.
2. The landmark health care law signed by President Obama, known as the Affordable Care Act, survived a court challenge with its core intact. Please identify, if any, one section of the act you support and one you oppose. Do you want the law retained or repealed?
The ACA is a move in the right direction. There are two distinct issues with health reform: access to care (which for the most part ACA has done well) and paying for care (still a flawed system under ACA). As with any major piece of legislation, it will require review, evaluation and measurement to understand effectiveness.
Several provisions of the act are vital to the health of our local and state economy. These include: young adults staying on their parent's healthcare plan until age 26, no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and closing the donut hole that left our seniors in dire circumstances.
The plan lacks any accountability of insurance companies as to what they charge. If you have an illness or preexisting condition, companies are able to significantly raise your premiums. They just have to insure you. I support improvements and adjustments to ACA, not starting anew.
3. The unemployment rate in Summit County, though below the national figure, remains elevated as the impacts of the recession linger. What would you tell an unemployed person in Summit County if they asked you what measures Congress could take to increase the rate of job creation in the private sector? Please outline the top priority of your jobs platform.
The 83,000 small businesses within the state are the lifeblood of Utah's economy. About 90% of Utah businesses employ 56% of Utah workers. A recent survey of Utah Technology Council's 5000 companies indicated there are more than 2000 jobs currently unfilled.
There are several federal programs aimed at small business and administered by the state. US Congress must work with Summit County economic development to: understand programs objectives, assist local citizens in accessing resources, and monitor the effectiveness and utilization of these programs.
1. Small Business Development Center program assists entrepreneurs in the creation of small businesses and the access of SBA loans.
2. Manufacturing Extension Program assists companies improve their manufacturing operations to create jobs
3. State Small Business Credit Initiative is providing $13.1 Million to Utah to accelerate lending.
Small Business Innovative Research assists technology-based start-up entrepreneurs to access between $100K and $700K to commercialize new technologies.
4. Comprehensive immigration reform remains elusive and mired in partisanship. Please outline an immigration-reform package that you would support, including whether you endorse the clause outlined in the DREAM Act allowing some people who came to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country.
The immigration system is broken and needs comprehensive reform. Reform must be grounded in securing our borders in the interest of national security while simultaneously defining a path to citizenship for individuals and families who are part of our economy.
One aspect of our dysfunctional immigration system that is rarely mentioned is the historical immigration quotas. Current policy seeks to control the number of people entering the US, defines where they should come from, how they must be related to current US residents, and stipulates the kinds of jobs they are eligible to work. Quotas and preferences have been part of this policy for more than a century. It is time to rethink this and relate it to real supply and demand issues of the market.
I support the DREAM Act to allow children of immigrant families to earn a path to citizenship through military service or higher education.
5. Please discuss the successes and failures of U.S. policy in Afghanistan in the decade-plus since the fall of the Taliban shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. What role do you envision the U.S. having in Afghanistan in the future and what is your preferred target for a troop drawdown?
As a veteran, I am grateful for the steadfast commitment of our servicemembers and their families. Less than 1% of our population has served or is serving in the military and yet 1% are prosecuting 100% of this 12-year war.
Troop withdrawal was based on several factors including local realities, growing US debt and wide spread public skepticism about US strategy. I support a balanced drawdown that facilitates the Afghan Army in protecting its citizens. We are in Afghanistan due, in part, to the complex political currents in Pakistan. In Pakistan, a weak civilian government is struggling to cope with a myriad of economic and environmental challenges exacerbated by a growing population with low literacy rate. The military continues to lose thousands of men to on-going battles with insurgents. There seems to be increasing tolerance of and support for extremist groups that target American interests in Afghanistan and globally.
6. The fate of SkiLink, a proposed gondola connecting Canyons Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort, hinges on the sale of federal land to a firm under the Talisker Corporation umbrella. Please outline your support or opposition to the SkiLink legislation that is before Congress. What arguments in the SkiLink debate have been the most persuasive?
I am focused on building upon the economic contribution from tourism, outdoor recreation, and ski and snowboard industries. I am opposed to SkiLink due to the precedent it would set of the sale of federal road less land to a foreign corporation without public input.
While several arguments have been made in support of SkiLink, they are specious:
1. Traffic mitigation in Big Cottonwood Canyon and through Parley's Summit. How much traffic can a ski gondola mitigate during 4 months of the year?
2. The purchased land would go through the Salt Lake watershed. With the population of Salt Lake County expected to double in 25 years, this watershed affects the safety and well being of hundreds of thousands of people.
3. This is an invasion into the backcountry where people earn their turns and have for fifty years. It is an untouched sanctuary for wildlife and the natural environment
7. The nation's energy portfolio is increasingly diverse, but it continues to heavily rely on fossil fuels and imported oil. Please describe your ideal energy portfolio and what measures you would support in reaching that goal. In your answer, please address what impact your ideal portfolio would have on gas prices.
Utah has an abundance of conventional, unconventional and renewable resources. Federal, state and local officials must work together to find the right balance between energy research and development, public land stewardship, and sustainable environmental management.
This effort includes developing fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable and alternative sources from solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels. We cannot continue to maintain dependency for oil on hostile states that do not share our values.
Utah industry needs to drive renewable energy portfolio standards. Utah needs to become smarter about developing its conventional and unconventional energy resources on state-owned land to drive tax revenue for educational funding.
Gas prices are a critical issue that puts a squeeze on working families every day. As demand from developing nations continues to increase, oil prices are likely to continue to rise. This makes it more imperative that we move toward a 21st century energy portfolio.
8. Please differentiate yourself from your opponent.
The challenges facing Utah and our country are significant and complex. I care deeply about getting our economy back on track, practicing fiscal responsibility and balanced budgetary discipline, strengthening our struggling education system, stewarding our public lands and iconic wilderness, developing energy resources responsibly, ensuring access to affordable healthcare and honoring the commitment to our veterans. However, I believe the biggest difference between us is in the approach.
Nothing is going to get done on any of these critical issues until more elected officials are sent to Washington who are committed to progress. We need representatives who will put duty, patriotism and people above self, partisanship and politics. The inaction of the 112th Congress has yielded economic uncertainty, farmers without drought relief, and a Department of Defense facing unprecedented cuts that threaten our national security. Unfortunately my opponent has shown a clear commitment to obstructionism and partisanship that has contributed to this inaction.
I learned from my time in the Army that the military is about the mission, and Congress has lost focus on its mission. My campaign slogan of "Not Left. Not Right. Forward." is a commitment to you that I am focused on delivering results.