Salt Lake County’s response to COVID-19 was the right approach to flattening the curve and getting ahead of the pandemic. By temporarily shutting non-essential parts of the economy, we bought time to build up testing and tracing capabilities so we can manage the pandemic moving forward. As we gradually re-open, we must continue monitoring cases and making adjustments as needed. Citizens need to responsibly follow public health recommendations as we wait for scientists to find solutions. This “new normal” is how we protect each other and the most vulnerable among us. Together we will get through this. My background with disaster response planning is a critical skill that I bring to the council. Our innovative adjustments to the challenges of the moment can transform the economy and ensure workers and families aren’t left behind like they were in the recovery after the Great Recession.
As a teacher, I understand that an investment in education is an investment in the future. Every child should have access to high quality education, regardless of zip code, skin color or socioeconomic status. The pandemic is exposing inequities in the system that must be addressed so all students can safely learn, whatever format education utilizes this Fall. While the state legislature is constitutionally required to fund our public education system, I will clearly communicate county needs for supporting public education to the state as a Council Member.
Locally, I will push for county collaboration with school boards, districts and local schools to ensure resources are being shared efficiently so we can all maximize support for learning. School districts should be able to offer enrichment activities and opportunities through county sports complexes, public libraries, and gang prevention programs, to name a few. It is important to know that every student’s home and financial situation is different. By providing funding for services such as after-school programs, medical and dental clinics, and food pantries, we are not just helping individual students, we’re helping our community.
There are a few things we can all probably agree on: we need more good jobs, more affordable housing, clean air, and clean water to improve our quality of life. Smart planning and development will encourage entrepreneurship and keep the economy thriving as we adapt and rebound from the pandemic. County planning and development must consider local stakeholder input in zoning decisions. We must increase available housing stock to address new home affordability. At the same time, environmentally-friendly construction such as LEED certified buildings and HERS rated homes will be critical to clearing the air and responsibly managing our water use in this dry climate. We must wisely preserve open space for residents to enjoy and protect native and migratory species. We can find smart solutions to continue to build our community and grow together.
Upgrading Bangerter Highway and completing the Mountain View Corridor is a step in the right direction for improving transportation on the west side of the valley. However, east-west transportation corridors are severely lacking, resulting in unnecessary gridlock and associated pollution on major city streets across the county. This must be addressed. We also need heavy investment in rapid and convenient public transit options to improve transportation options, reduce congestion and clear the air. Extensive transportation planning must be included into all new major developments. This will require collaboration with the state, local municipalities, the Utah Transit Authority, and other stakeholders. I want solutions to these challenges and will work with all relevant stakeholders to find them.