KAYSVILLE — They know all too well they’re facing long odds, but that hasn’t stopped Davis County Democrats from working to fill electoral slots and make their stand on issues heard.
One hundred percent of the 141 delegates to the party’s convention met last Saturday at Kaysville Junior High to hear from candidates on issues they consider vital.
Discussion points ranged from labor to taxes, from Medicaid expansion to the balance of power in the legislature.
Keynote speaker Brian King, D-Salt Lake, shared stories of his interactions with Republican legislators and Becky Lockhart, Speaker of the House.
In his experience, he said, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to look out for their neighbors.
“I don’t want to demonize anybody,” he said, “but Democrats are a little quicker to care about and act on their concern for their neighbors. All love their families and can feel empathy, but do you have a concern for people who are not like you?”
Of the 104 Utahns who make up the legislature, 85 are Republicans, he said, making Democrats not just the minority party - but the “super minority” party.
“When you have one party that’s in charge, crazy things happen,” he said. “Poor public policy gets put in place.”
A policy that he spent significant time criticizing was the Republican refusal to accept Medicaid expansion, something he said “makes me crazy.”
Citizens of Utah are losing $133,000 every day – an amount that would have added up to $13.3 million by April 10 – because the state has refused the federal funds, he said, and that is money Utah citizens have paid in taxes.
“Who in the world would do that?” he asked.
The state takes federal money for roads, for law enforcement, for public education and for energy development, he said, and “that’s a good thing.”
“Our priorities – our ethics – are revealed in no clearer way that what we choose to spend our money on,” he said.
Has Utah’s refusal to accept the funds come because leaders want to make a statement to the federal government, because they don’t want to give money to the poor, or because they don’t like the president, he asked.
Quoting Michael Moore, he said, “I refuse to live in a state like this and I’m not leaving.”
“Let’s get out and work very hard on this issue,” he challenged the delegates.
Those in attendance at the convention had a chance to hear from and ask questions of candidates for county and state offices.
Steve Andersen, a candidate for County Commission Seat A, said he will forgo his salary if elected, allowing the county to save $800,000 during the four-year term.
His business experience has taught him that “people on the front line know the best,” he told one caucus, and he will work with county officials as they share their “vision with the people.”
He said he is especially concerned that the county’s long-term debt has increased from $44 million to $81 million in the last six years, a debt he said will take 27 years to pay.
Pam Udy is running alongside Andersen for Seat B on the commission.
“I’m a mom and I care about families,” she said. “I care about the air we breathe, and I care about education and supporting the military.”
It’s important a woman be elected to the commission, said Andersen.
“We absolutely need a woman’s point of view in leadership,” he said. “How do you not have 51 percent of the population represented?”
Donna Taylor is running for House District 20. The North Salt Lake resident said she is concerned about air quality and wants to make it so kids today get as good an education as she did growing up in Bountiful.
“I felt ready for college when I graduated,” she said. “Sadly, that’s not the case for kids today.”
Peter Clemens, a physician from Ogden, and Donna McAleer, who started her career in the Army and is an author and outdoor enthusiast from Park City, are challenging Rob Bishop for the District 1 seat in the U.S. House.
“I believe Peter has the right ideas for the district and he has been a strong voice in the community so he understands the issues and concerns,” said Oscar Mata, his campaign organizer. “He would be an outstanding advocate for his constituents in Congress.”
On her website, McAleer said that the promise of America is facing a great threat due to “domestic divisiveness” in Washington and stagnant incomes. She said she will work to restore that promise.