Educator says he is not a ‘one-issue candidate’
June 11, 2010
There will be a standoff between two Democrats on June 22 over who will take on the Republicans in state House District 25, which includes many Snyderville Basin residents.
Joel Briscoe and Anthony Kaye are slated to compete in a primary election that will determine who will face Salt Lake Republican Rick Raile in November.
Briscoe, 53, said, while speaking recently with a Basin woman, he had the idea for one of the first pieces of legislation he will sponsor if he is elected.
He hopes to require that homeowners be notified before their neighbors spray yards with pesticides and herbicides.
"I’m not telling people they can’t use chemicals. It’s just that we need to be responsible in the way that we use them," Briscoe said in a telephone interview. "People will claim that we’re adding an increased cost and burden to the industry But when you are talking about chemicals that damage people’s lives, I’m not sure that small notification requirement is a tremendous burden."
Meanwhile, Briscoe said he would oppose efforts by lawmakers in Utah to pass a bill mirroring the controversial immigration measure passed recently in Arizona. The law gives local police officers more authority to pursue illegal immigrants.
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"I haven’t seen anything about the Arizona law that makes me favor it," Briscoe said. "For Utah to adopt such a bill, I think could be chalked up to people reacting out of fear rather than out of facts."
The responsibility for enforcing immigration laws rests with the federal government, he said.
"It really is a federal issue and Congress really has punted on this," Briscoe said. "States like Arizona, and other states, are wading in because we haven’t seen leadership on the national level."
Briscoe said he would also push to make state officials more accountable for their budgets. They should not build roads with money from sales-tax coffers, he stressed.
Those who use the roads would pay to maintain them if state gasoline taxes increased, he said.
And instead of keeping income tax flat, he would support a progressive individual state income tax so higher earners pay more.
"I’m tired of hearing people say government is the problem." Briscoe said. "The problem is not the government. The problem is poor public policy."
He said he will fight proposals from some lawmakers to equalize school funding in the state. Legislators have pushed bills that have threatened to take millions of dollars away from schools in Summit County for redistribution to poorer schools throughout the state.
Briscoe is the executive director of the Davis Education Association, which lobbies state lawmakers on behalf of teachers His experience in education will help him counter the attempts to equalize funding on the backs of taxpayers in the Park City area, Briscoe said.
"I think I’m the experienced candidate who won’t need a lot of one-the-job training on the Hill," Briscoe said. "You’ve got to go up there and work with people to move the agenda along, and I have working relationships with a number of people on both sides of the aisle."
But his career in public education doesn’t make him a "one-issue candidate," Briscoe emphasized.