Glenn Wright (D) – Utah House District 54
Glenn Wright (Democrat)
Utah House of Representatives, District 54
Question 1: What are your qualifications to run for a seat in the state House of Representatives and why do you want to serve?
I am an Air Force Vietnam Veteran, retired corporate safety engineer, manager and VP, and active in both the American Legion and Habitat for Humanity. My experience in the Vietnam War left me with three guiding principles: Leave no man behind; decisions have consequences and, when we work together toward common goals, we can accomplish amazing things.
Our Legislature has made the overt decision to fund education at levels below every state and U.S. territory whichsentences large segments of the next generation to second class jobs and second class economic opportunities; failed to fully expand Medicaid has left many of our neighbors in poor health or in danger of bankruptcy; an environmental policy that threatens the long-term sustainability of our climate, the health of our population and their policies affect thousands of the most vulnerable and sacrifice the long-term economic viability of Utah.
If we set the right priorities for Utah, we can improve education, healthcare and environmental policies in Utah, but to do these things we need new leaders in the Legislature.
Question 2: The state is actively trying to reinstate its ban on same-sex marriage. Where do you stand on this issue?
"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" should be a given for all, no matter your race, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation and is protected by the 14th Amendment. We should not be wasting state taxpayer money defending the indefensible in court. Marriage equality is inevitable in the U.S. We need to move on.
The course of action set upon by the Governor and Attorney General has more significance than just the waste of resources. It sets a precedent of state-sanctioned discrimination against a minority group and as such encourages such discrimination that may be manifested in the workplace and our schools. Loss of employment and housing opportunities, bullying and hate crimes may result.
Editor’s note: This question was asked before the Supreme Court declined to hear Utah’s appeal of the 10th Circuit Court’s decision to overturn Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages.
Question 3: Recently, there have been clashes over the use of public lands, with some saying the federal government has overstepped its powers. How do you feel about those complaints and should the state pursue efforts to take back lands currently under federal jurisdiction.
The most recent clashes with the federal government have been caused by extreme elements of society who have been on the losing side of lengthy court proceedings concerning use of public lands. Sore losers do not make their case more credible by defying the law and should be prosecuted.
The effort by the State Legislature to litigate appropriation of Federal lands is unconstitutional under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution and a fraud on the citizens of Utah. The claim that if only we could tax all the public lands in the state, we could adequately fund education is absurd and an excuse to continue to do nothing about education funding.
The Legislature could just as reasonably propose taxing any airplane that flies over Utah, with just as much hope for success.
Question 4: Is the state legislature doing as much as it can to fund education? If not what specific policy would you propose to increase funding for schools?
The legislature has failed miserably in funding public education. Ever since the passage of a constitutional amendment allowing the use of state income tax funds for higher education in the mid-90s, the Legislature has funneled income tax revenue away from K-12 into higher education and funneled tax revenues that previously funded our universities into other uses. These uses have been primarily roads and tax breaks for corporations. The flat income tax has also resulted in a net decrease in funding.
Solutions: Return to the practice of using income tax funds ONLY for K-12; replace higher ed funds by sunsetting all corporate tax breaks; make any entity requesting a tax break justify it light of current spending priorities; index the gas tax to inflation; add a "weight" tax to all trucks. The heaviest trucks are the source of most road deterioration.
Question 5: The legislature has the power to incentivize or discourage various types of energy production. How do you feel about current state policies regarding oil and gas production versus the development of alternative energy resources?
Utah has a high climate and as such is even more susceptible to climate change than lower altitudes. Projections show a 10-degree temperature rise in a business-as-usual scenario. Such a result will destroy the winter sports industry and will severely damage agriculture. Utah should be a leader in the fight to stem rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other climate-changing gasses. Instead, Utah obstructs this effort.
We should encourage the growth of alternative energy resources by: making the renewable energy goals for power production mandatory instead of voluntary, create centers of research and development for alternative energy in coal country, thus creating alternatives to the coal economy; modify the rules governing the PSC to account for the negative economic effects of climate change when considering rate issues.
Question 6: Please differentiate your platform from your opponent’s.
My opponent is an advocate for the status quo. If you think that Utah has the right policies in place regarding education, health, the environment and human rights then vote for him. The philosophy of the legislature is "We can’t solve the problems of our state, this is good enough."
Funding education at levels below every state and U.S. territory sentences large segments of the next generation to second-class jobs and second-class economic opportunities.
Failure to fully expand Medicaid has left many of our neighbors in poor health or in danger of bankruptcy. An environmental policy that values short term economics over the health of our population and the long term sustainability of our climate affects thousands of the most vulnerable and sacrifices the long term economic viability of Utah.
We can accomplish great things if we work together. We can adequately fund education. We can expand Medicaid. We can establish environmental policies that will clean the air and make Utah part of the solution to Climate change, not part of the problem. To do these things we need new leaders in the Legislature. Good enough is not good enough. Why not the BEST?
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The Summit County unemployment rate dropped slightly in October, the state Department of Workforce Services reported.