Park Record 2018 Voter Guide: Utah House District 28
With Election Day approaching, and mail-in ballots on their way to residents, The Park Record asked candidates to answer a series of questions in their own words in order to help voters make informed decisions. View the answers of candidates in other races here.
Why are you running for another term?
Brian King (Incumbent Democrat, unopposed): I am running to fight for the residents of House District 28 and for all Utahns. In my time in the legislature, I have a proven record of fighting for public education, campaign finance reform, and medicaid expansion. I believe the legislature’s role is to lift up and support Utah families and have fought for that belief by getting good legislation passed and stopping bad legislation. I have good relationships with legislative leaders, which has allowed me to work across the aisle. Improving the quality of public education, access to higher education; cleaning up our air and water; preserving to our public lands; enhancing the safety of Utahns by requiring universal background checks for guns; providing more resources to protect people from sexual assault and domestic violence; and strengthening the conditions that allow for stronger economic growth are just a few of the things I advocate for at the legislature.
Despite recent increases in public education funding, Utah still ranks last in per-pupil spending. Are current funding levels adequate? If so, explain why. If not, what should be done to further increase funding?
King: We need to provide greater funding and other resources to all districts, schools, and teachers. But especially necessary is more money and quality teachers for Title I schools. We need more funds to reduce class size. We need to allocate greater funding for the professional development of our teachers. It’s remarkable to me that the legislature routinely cuts corners when dealing with investment in our most critically important resource and infrastructure: educating our children. So perhaps the most important thing Utahns can do on this topic is to elect legislators who make clear their commitment to prioritize improving our public and higher systems over other demands for funding. Once legislators start treating our educators as professionals, we’ll see the quality of public education improve.
Equity has become an important topic in Summit County. What is the Legislature’s role in fostering economic and social equity in Utah? Identify one policy you support that would make Utah more equitable.
King: Unfortunately, the economic expansion in Utah and the country over the last few years have disproportionately benefited individuals at the very top of the wealth spectrum. Utahns’ wages are stagnant, and it is nearly impossible to make ends meet on minimum wage. Pushing for equal pay for equal work, requiring paid family leave, and raising the minimum wage are practical measures to help Utah’s working families. We also need to ensure that the economic development along the Wasatch front does not leave outlying counties behind. Each of the three propositions and Ballot Question 1 will also provide greater economic and social equity. Paul Wellstone said “we all do better when we all do better.” And it’s also true, as others have said, that “we’re all in this together” is a much more fruitful approach to making public policy than “you’re on your own.”
Environmental stewardship is an important matter for Summit County, with both the Park City and Summit County governments setting renewable electric energy and zero-emission goals. What should be done at the state level to increase sustainability? Please cite one specific policy measure in your answer.
King: We love our open spaces and the quality of life that comes with having mountains and canyons close by. But preserving our environment while also accommodating population growth is not easy. District 28 encompasses the area North of I-80, East of 13th East, most of the University of Utah campus, all of Emigration Canyon and Summit Park and part of Pinebrook. The diversity of neighborhoods and urban and rural areas in District 28 requires that our Representative in the legislature carefully balance environmental concerns, economic development and quality of life issues. One important action the legislature should take would be to implement tax policies, economic incentives, and other programs that continue to move us toward solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources.
According to the Summit County Clerk’s Office, ballots for the Nov. 6 election are set to begin arriving by mail on Friday, Oct. 19. Ballots returned through the mail must be postmarked by Nov. 5. Residents can register to vote online or at the Clerk’s Office through Oct. 30. Same-day registration will also be available at four voting assistance centers throughout the county on Election Day. Visit http://co.summit.ut.us/281/Voter-Registration-Elections for more information.
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