Park Record 2018 Voter Guide: Utah House District 53
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.
What are your qualifications for office and why are you running?
Logan Wilde (Republican, incumbent): Through the years, I have served on several boards and councils. I have served on the Morgan County Council, the Weber Morgan Board of Health, the Morgan Conservation District, and the Croydon Pipeline. I enjoy serving the public, understanding the needs of the community, and helping find solutions to our local issues and concerns.
Chris Neville (Democrat): I look forward to bringing a unique perspective to our state legislature. After really taking an interest in our state legislature and how it works this year, I was convinced that they really needed a voice like mine, with a fresh perspective, and a technical background. I have an extensive background in information technology and software development and have run my own small business for several years. I’ve spent time working in higher education, the ski industry, and entrepreneurism; all areas that are crucial to the economic future of this state. I’m running because I really think the legislature could use someone with a background like mine, and I could really make a positive difference there. I look forward to working hard to represent all areas of District 53 with the goals of fair representation, compassionate government, and environmental stewardship.
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?
Wilde: Do we need to stop looking for ways to improve funding levels in Utah? No. Utah has the youngest population in the United States. As our population continues to grow, we will always need to find ways to improve education and the resources that drive our education field, which in turn will strengthen Utah’s economy. The best way to increase our education budgets are to continue making it a priority at state and local levels.
Neville: Current funding levels are not adequate. I will be voting YES on question 1 to help fund our schools. A lot of this money will go directly towards retaining great teachers that are the basis of a great education to support our future. Local schools will also be able to decide how to spend much of the money specifically to benefit their schools. No matter what happens with question 1, I will use my background in technology to be a resource for educators in our state to make sure that educational technology purchases work with current systems, accomplish educational goals, and are a good value.
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.
Wilde: Utah has taken so many steps to protect our environment and to provide a sustainable place to live. Last year, the State passed a law to have diesel testing along the Wasatch Front. Now, we are in a moral fight to get the public to agree with existing policies. I don’t believe that you can regulate an individual’s morals. To improve the environment, we need people to believe that their actions can make a difference. Stop looking over the fence to see what’s wrong with their neighbor, but internalize the issues to find solutions at home.
Neville: Smart growth is going to be key to both environmental and economic sustainability for our state. We need to make sure that as our cities grow, we account for density in some housing, and plan for smart transit and transportation plans that mean less time in cars and fewer cars on the road. As a legislature I would work to allow private companies to utilize some school trust lands to both generate renewable energy and produce income for Utah Schools. I would also support high standards for new buildings with regards to windows, roofing, furnaces, and water heaters so homes pollute less and save Utah families more.
The cost of living in the Wasatch Back, as well as other areas of the state, has risen sharply in recent years and shows little signs of slowing down. How can the Legislature address the issue of affordability in places like Summit County? Please cite one specific policy measure in your answer.
Wilde: This is one of the largest issues facing Utah today. Last year, I sponsored a bill to strengthen moderate income housing in communities. Cost of housing is rising so sharply that the state, local communities, developers, and community planners have come together to address this issue. This is a multi-dimensional issue; labor shortages, material demands, lack of infrastructure, planning and zoning, fees, regulations from all areas of government. We will continue to look for solutions both at state and local levels.
Neville: If we continue to view population growth as the only measure of success in our state, we will never fix this problem. While growth is a tool that can be used to help sustain an economy, it should not be own only goal. In Summit county, while out knocking on doors, I have been sad to see plenty of housing that would be affordable places for families to live, but it is instead being rented out nightly to produce income for someone who lives out of state. With my technology background, I will work with cities and towns to make sure that they have resources to audit nightly rental units to make sure they are paying taxes and fees they may owe. This should help balance the equation and put some housing back in the hands of families that live here.
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.
Wilde: I applaud Summit County for taking on such a hard issue.
Neville: House District 53 includes 5 counties, and the term equity could be viewed very differently in the communities included in these counties. The state legislature’s biggest role in fostering economic and social equity should come from two places : education and the environment. We should make sure that every child in Utah gets a great education that gives them the opportunity to move up the economic ladder. We should also protect our environment so that less fortunate individuals aren’t forced to pay the price for poor quality air and polluted water.
How do you differ from your opponent?
Wilde: I have years of experience in understanding the differing roles of government and how they work together. I stand for less government in the lives of the residents of Utah. I don’t believe that it is the state’s role to protect trails, open space in a community that is the role of local government. I believe the role of the legislature is to create policy, and a state budget, not to administer the law (that is the role of the Governor).
Neville: There are several ways in which I differ from my opponent, but I am confident in saying that we both have a strong, genuine interest in doing what is best for the State of Utah, that I do not question. We do differ on several typical republican / democrat issues that are important, and I will stand up for things like stronger education, affordable healthcare, and protecting the environment, but I will not pretend that one more democrat in our state legislature will turn Utah into a progressive dream. The biggest difference that will really affect the way our state legislature does business is our backgrounds. My background in technology, tourism, higher ed, and entrepreneurism really lends itself to exactly what our state and our legislature need at this moment in time. I will use that background to help make sure we don’t waste money on technology that doesn’t work with what we already have, doesn’t accomplish goals, and has a short shelf life. I will also help make sure that technology is used to make sure that the state can really reach out to citizens and be totally transparent about what is being done on their behalf.
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.
Though several parents doubted Park City School District when on Nov. 9 officials announced the two toxic dirt piles outside Treasure Mountain Junior High School would be removed within a few days of Dec. 18, the district has reinforced its vow late Friday.
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