Who I Am
My ancestors came to Tooele in the 1860’s. I grew up in Tooele and graduated from Tooele High School. I received my Bachelors of Science in both Economics and Political Science and received my Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Utah. I was an intern to the Utah Legislature in 1986 with the Hinckley Institute of Politics.
I have worked for the Utah State Tax Commission since 1990, spending the past twelve years as the Deputy Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles. I currently work as a Research Consultant with the Property Tax Division, working with counties, school districts, cities and special and local districts.
In my 22 years in Utah State Government, I have had the opportunity of seeing what works and what doesn’t. I have a track record I am proud of. When I first came to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), it took 3-5 months to get a vehicle title. It now takes 7-10 days. When I arrived, the Division had a different contract with each of the 29 counties. Working with county officials, I was able to negotiate a standardized contract that served the needs of both the State as well as the Counties.
But most importantly, I am the husband of my wife Jennifer, and the proud father of three wonderful daughters, Emily 15, Eleanor 13 and Rebecca (Becca) 5.
My Political Philosophy
My liberal friends say I am too conservative, and my conservative friends say I am too liberal, but most of them support me because of who I am, not because of any labels or stereotypes. Pragmatic progressive? I’ll have to think on it.
Positions on Important Topics
There is no single fix to education. It takes collaboration between legislators, administrators and parents. It also takes a considerable and consistent investment in order to ensure our teachers have the tools, the class size, and the compensation that enables them to succeed. Utah’s consistent ranking near the bottom of the country in per-pupil funding for education needs to be addressed and new sources of revenue need to be found to make education a priority, not an afterthought.
I first cut my teeth on tax policy as an intern at the Utah Legislature in 1986, doing what’s referred to as “tax incidence” research regarding two bills that were proposed. What I have seen since 1986, is a movement to make our tax structure more and more regressive. This takes a toll on middle and low income taxpayers and has provided benefits to those in higher incomes. Big Corporations have the Utah Taxpayers Association representing their interests. The average Utah voter has no one who understands tax policy in such a way that can look after their interests. My candidacy is about changing that.
More and more, our legislature seems to think that a comfortable retirement should be the prerogative of the well-to-do. We need to make sure that those who built our community don’t have to remain working till they expire, or have their life-savings destroyed by health problems. The legislature needs to take into account the needs of seniors and make sure they are met, because we all hope to be senior citizens some day.
Services for the Disabled
How we treat those with challenges says a lot about what kind of society we live in. As a parent of a special needs child, I know first-hand the challenges that face families and the costs that they can incur. A bill by Rep. Menlove took the first baby-steps in addressing the needs of children afflicted with disorders related to autism. This pilot must be the start, not the finish. As the parent of an autistic child, I am an advocate for those with special needs. Parents need the support of their community and I want to ensure they get that support.
Tooele is at a turning point, both with serious challenges, as well as compelling opportunities. The inevitable scaling back of the Chemical Weapons Depot will create a loss of jobs for many Tooele citizens. However, the new Tooele Applied Technical College, with the funding secured by former Democratic Rep. Jim Gowans , will provide opportunities for Tooele citizens to upgrade their technical skills and provide local leaders with the capability of recruiting new employers into our community. Securing additional funding for the USU Regional Campus will also be critical for our economic future as the college puts additional emphasis on research.
When my family arrived in Tooele several generations ago, they were the newcomers. They were welcomed into the community and became an integral part of it. I was taught early and often the value of being part of the community and of trying to contribute to our collective well-being. The rapid growth we have experienced during the last 15 years creates the challenge of making our community cohesive and inclusive. I want to do my part to make sure we all feel vested in the wonderful community I grew up in and am proud to call home today.