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Issues

Your Freedom

I believe the most important issue in any government is freedom. Your government should first and foremost protect your ability to make decisions and enjoy the consequences of those decisions. That means the government should not be in the business of guaranteeing you a job, money, health care, a fancy car, or anything else for that matter. All you get is your shot at the American dream and to not worry about the government making decisions for you. That might mean that you’ll end up rich or you might be poor. You might not always have a job, but you might have a great idea that makes you a millionaire. The most important policy is to protect your freedom, the freedom to live, love, grow, suffer, prosper, and even fail.

Federalism

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution clearly explains that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are “reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.” Unfortunately, the Progressive Movement in its various disguises has expanded the Congressional powers far beyond what the Framers intended. The abuse of the Commerce Clause and the ability to access essentially unlimited funding through deficit spending and the income tax have seriously eroded the rights of states and the people.

Economy

I believe in the power of incentives. If you tax productivity, productivity will decline. If you want economic growth and prosperity, you have to give individuals the freedom to pursue their ideals and reap the rewards of their efforts. Economic development, innovation, and growth are all accelerated when taxes are low, regulations are light, and government is minimized. This means keeping state government small so that the required tax burden on our citizens is also small. That might mean that some really popular programs have their funding cut or do not get funded at all. But in the long run, it will allow more people to become self-reliant and stay free from government dependence, reducing the need for those really popular programs.

Education

Number one on my list is to empower parents to fulfill their solemn responsibility to nurture their children and teach them the ideals and values they respect. Parents should decide which school, if any, is best for their child and be given the tools to make an informed decision.

Within the public education system, we need to also respect the autonomy of local school districts and elected school board members to represent the parents that put them in office. I want to ensure sustainable funding through our state constitution for those districts, but this will require school districts, teachers, and parents to develop and take advantage of cost-reducing innovations in educational technique and science. The state government should support and encourage innovations of all kinds at the local level.

Public Lands

Did I mention the need for funding for education? One of the reasons why Utah continues to struggle to find funding for our children is that so much of our natural wealth is locked up in federal lands where it cannot help pay for needs. I believe that Utah lands should be made available for the benefit of all our citizens, including our school children.

Health Care

The big question these days seems to be what to do about low-income families that cannot afford to pay for needed health care. While I certainly am sympathetic to helping the most vulnerable among us, I also understand the damage that can be caused when individuals and families become too reliant on the government for their basic needs. Obamacare is a pernicious and massive expansion of federal entitlement mentality and funding beyond the bounds of my conscience. While there are many great ideas out there for promoting private sector innovation and solutions, a massive federal expansion is not one of them. I will continue to use my knowledge and experience to help the Utah Legislature decide a compassionate compromise that helps the truly needy without chaining down the freedoms of individuals and families to find their own solutions and provide for their own needs.

Air Quality

I think most of us do not enjoy inversions, smog, and pollution. But I also think that the overwhelming majority of Utahns are willing to do their part to reduce the impact of their choices on air quality during critical weather patterns. As an economist, I understand the reluctance of individuals to incur costs when the benefit almost exclusively accrues to others. (We call that an externality.) I am not sure we need a state government deciding what behaviors are offensive enough to be called crimes. I prefer to inform our citizens about the effects of their decisions, based on the best available science, and if that is not enough, we can create positive incentives to reward conscientious decision-making.