Mel Brown, Republican
1. The two entryways into Park City, S.R. 224 and S.R. 248, are state-managed highways under stress from traffic increases, with backups along S.R. 248 being especially worrisome to officials in Park City and Summit County and commuters. Please talk about your preferred solutions to the two entryways, with particular attention to measures that could reduce congestion on S.R. 248.
Anyone who has tried to get around Park City during rush hour can easily see something needs to be done at Kimball Junction. We need grade separation or overpasses so that cross traffic does not impede the traffic on the main thoroughfare. The traffic from Quinn’s Junction can only be improved if additional lanes are constructed in cooperation with Park City, thus providing additional in city lanes to relieve the pressure. One suggestion that could be discussed is one way streets that change am and pm according to traffic flow.
2. Utah has attracted significant numbers of immigrants in the last decade, with many coming to the state from Mexico. Please discuss what public benefits they should receive, including your opinion about whether immigrants should be eligible for tuition breaks that other Utahns receive at state-run colleges and universities and driver permits.
As your legislator I have voted in favor of providing in state tuition for the children of undocumented workers who have attended Utah schools for more than 3 years and who have gone on to Utah colleges. I believe that it is absolutely necessary for all who can and will to get an education to improve not only their job opportunities but their quality of life. An educated population is much more productive and law abiding then an uneducated population. We are currently providing an adequate level of social and medical services for undocumented workers and their families.
3. The economy of Park City and surrounding Summit County relies heavily on tourism, with winter being especially lucrative and summer becoming busier. Please discuss the Statehouse’s role in boosting tourism to Utah, and whether state funding for tourism is at an appropriate level. Do you propose any new tourism programs?
Over the past 3 years there has been an infusion of millions of tax dollars to support tourism in the state of Utah. The Park City Chamber of Commerce, as well as the ski industry, has seen the benefit of this effort. I will continue to support funding and, when possible, additional funding. As a board member of the Utah Athletic Foundation (Olympic Parks) we have seen how a working relationship with Park City and the Olympic Parks has improved the success of both. I will always work to continue to improve that relationship.
4. Legislators after Census 2010 will redraw district boundaries for the state House and Senate and the U.S. House. In the previous round of redistricting, after Census 2000, Summit County was split between two state House districts. Please discuss the ideal redistricting scenario for Summit County, including whether you see keeping the county within one district as important.
With the implementation of the one man one vote doctrine, population balance drives the redistricting process. It appears that it might be impossible to keep Summit County in one district thus depending on population numbers an effort should be made to keep populations of like interests in the same district. These two factors may make it impossible to keep Summit County in one district.
5. Voters defeated an effort to introduce school vouchers to Utah, which would provide taxpayer-funded assistance to parents with children enrolled in private schools. Please discuss the theory of school vouchers — their promise and their problems. Would you support a renewed effort to provide school vouchers?
As a state legislator, I oppose school vouchers funded by the tax payer. I have always supported the concept of choice in education but do not believe that taxpayers should pay for private or parochial schools. The voucher bill was an attempt to argue that the value of the voucher should be tied to parental income rather than the student, the largest voucher being 3000.00 and the smallest 500.00. The cost of attending a private school is many times greater than the voucher, therefore it could not make much of a difference. My main concern was the impact it would have on our public school system. I do not support a voucher or a tax credit plan. I support private education at parent’s expense, not taxpayers.
6. State liquor laws have long pitted the hospitality industry against Utah legislators, who tightly regulate what establishments may serve liquor. Please discuss the successes or faults of the liquor laws, including your opinion of club-membership requirements. Are there any changes you propose to the liquor laws?
The state run liquor program in Utah has done a lot of good. All profits from the sale of liquor in Utah go to support the school lunch program in public schools. I do believe that the club membership requirement has outlived its usefulness and some changes need to be made to the liquor laws, thus allowing for individual freedom of choice. This is going to be discussed in upcoming legislation and I foresee changes to provide exactly that, freedom of individual choice.
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.