ISSUES

EDUCATION

All students should have equitable access to a quality education. As a public educator, I understand the obstacles that students, parents, and teachers face in their efforts to provide that education. Here are some of the education policy positions I support:

  • Increase salaries so that our teachers can focus on our students, not on making ends meet. We don’t have a teacher shortage; we have a shortage of qualified professionals willing to work for unfair wages.

  • Maintain and strengthen constitutional protections for public education funding.

  • Eliminate public funding of private and for-profit education.

  • Reduce class sizes.

  • Reduce or eliminate mandatory, standardized testing.

  • Strengthen discrimination and bullying protections for LGBTQ+ youth and other vulnerable groups.

  • Expand access to technology both in the classroom and at home; specifically, expanding internet access.

HEALTHCARE

In 2018, Utah voters approved full Medicaid expansion. The Legislature did everything they could to prevent it. Their finagling and feet-dragging wasted time and money while preventing thousands of Utahns from accessing healthcare. Just now in 2020 are we seeing the expansion we voted for. As your representative I would sponsor or support legislation to:

  • Fully expand Medicaid and toss out the costly and ineffective work requirements the Legislature put in place.

  • Expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for all Utahns.

  • Ensure equitable access to healthcare and public accommodations, particularly by the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Increase the transparency of healthcare and medication costs.

  • Lower the costs of prescription drugs and expand access to generic drugs.

  • Cap the costs of life-saving medications such as insulin.

  • Guarantee paid sick leave to Utah's workers.

ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY

We will never see the changes we need until we’ve reformed our political system. The Legislature has done its best to consolidate power, ensure one-party rule, and prevent citizens from engaging in the legislative process. In order to take back our power as citizens, we need reforms such as:

Ranked

Choice Voting

RCV allows voters to vote strategically AND with their hearts; it encourages more civil campaigning and it could also increase voter turnout and voter satisfaction. Some municipalities in Utah have started using RCV with great success! I support expanding RCV to all state-wide and legislative races. Learn more about RCV in Utah here.

Campaign Finance Reform

There is currently no limit on campaign donations in Utah. This means that the wealthy get to call the shots. In 2019, special interest groups provided a whopping 93.5% of all campaign contributions. Donation limits give more power to the people rather than to wealthy interest groups.

Independent

Redistricting

If taxpayer money is used to fund an election, then everyone should be able to vote in it. It's that simple. If political parties want to make their selection process exclusive, then they shouldn't receive public money.

Open

Primaries

With the 2020 Census in the works, we need independent redistricting now! It’s nonsensical that the Legislature should be able to draw the district lines for their own elections. Voters in 2018 approved an independent redistricting commission, but the 2020 Legislature watered it down almost beyond recognition. I support the full enactment of the initiative that voters approved almost two years ago.

ON THE WEB

Candidates get sent a lot of survey requests. Here are a few that have been published:

  • Utah Cultural Alliance. This organization is an advocate for Utah humanities, arts, and cultural businesses. Follow the link to see my survey responses and a bit about my position on supporting the arts and humanities.

  • Utah 2020 Project. This website was organized to educate voters about candidates' stances on tax policy. Follow the link to hear my thoughts on last year's tax referendum and some basic tax policies.

  • Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia is a non-partisan, digital encyclopedia designed to inform voters about the candidates on their ballot from federal to local. I have filled out their Candidate Connection Survey to give voters a bit more insight into who I am and why I'm running.

© 2020 by Austin for Utah.