Guest editorial: Eileen Gallagher is a great choice for state Senate seat |

Guest editorial: Eileen Gallagher is a great choice for state Senate seat

In a normal year, Summit County residents might snooze through the upcoming midterm election. The incumbent county departments heads are all running unopposed (with the exception of one late-entry write-in challenger), there are no municipal offices up for grabs and the president is not on the ballot. But this is not a normal year.

Citizens are keenly aware, as never before, that EVERY elected office matters. Thanks to heightened awareness of environmental and social issues — like climate change, public lands, health care and gerrymandering — the state legislative seats are finally getting the attention they deserve.

And in this pivotal election year, we have an excellent candidate who can shoulder the serious responsibility of representing us on the floor of the Utah Senate.

Since declaring her candidacy for the District 26 seat being vacated by Senator Kevin Van Tassell, Eileen Gallagher has devoted herself to learning about the sprawling district that stretches from Flaming Gorge to the Wasatch Back, encompassing approximately 95,000 residents residing in communities as diverse as Vernal, Duchesne, Heber, Kamas and Park City.

On the campaign trail, Gallagher’s intelligence, energy and empathy for constituents in all walks of life and her nonpartisan approach have garnered respect and support throughout the district.

Gallagher’s fresh perspective (Van Tassell has held the seat for 12 years) would be a welcome change in the Utah Senate. If elected she would be the first Summit County resident to serve in the state Senate for over 40 years. As a woman running on the Democratic ticket she would also help to bring balance to Utah’s lopsided legislature which is 80 percent male and 80 percent Republican.

Though she has not based her platform on either gender or partisan politics, Gallagher’s personal and professional experience from the minority perspective would shed new light on many vital issues like family planning, education spending, public lands, guns, liquor laws, taxes, LGBQT rights and health care.

In the past, Utah’s Republican lawmakers have routinely made critical decisions about those matters behind closed doors in party caucuses. Bolstering the number of Democrats in state government would help force those discussions out into the open.

This summer and fall, while canvassing neighborhoods, calling voters and attending candidate debates and community gatherings, Gallagher has listened to voters’ concerns and shared her views as a practicing pediatrician and as a working mom. At every turn she has conducted a positive campaign, emphasizing respect, tolerance and a return to the essence of our democracy — equal representation and ethical leadership. With that as her foundation, she is in a position to be a great state senator.

Eileen Gallagher has my unqualified support. I believe she deserves yours too.

Above all, please take the time to carefully consider all of the candidates on your mail-in ballot and participate in this critical election. That is the best way to ensure the laws enacted by the Utah Legislature will lead us to the future that we truly desire.

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