by Becky GINOS
BOUNTIFUL—From education to medical marijuana, candidates for political office shared their ideas on how to improve the county and state in an effort to garner votes as Election Day approaches.
“Meet the Candidates” night, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Utah, gave residents a chance to hear from each contender on key issues the state and county faces. Candidates took turns answering questions posed by the moderator.
In response to what the most important issue is for Davis County, Layton Mayor Bob Stevenson, who is running for County Commission Seat A, said it is growth.
“No question about that,” he said. “In Layton City we’ve seen in the past week two major businesses possibly coming in that could bring 3,000 to 5,000 jobs. We have to figure out how to handle that and how to move people and house people in the county.”
“I want to give priority to education of kids in Davis County,” said Adam Alba, who is running for Utah House District 18. “There won’t be a lot of good growth if we’re not attracting the best and brightest teachers. Kids are our most valuable assets.”
“I agree with Bob, growth is the biggest thing,” said Timothy Hawkes, incumbent for District 18. “We have to look at the big picture on how we grow but have to work on the little decisions too and work together to solve tough problems. Let’s make decisions today for a brighter future tomorrow.”
Candidate for Utah House District 19, Joe Speciale, suggested the legislature needed to give the people more control. “We can allow for people to make decisions to run their own lives,” he said.
Other candidates stressed the need for more affordable housing and air quality. “Growth is a great problem to have but we have to work together on it,” said Ryan Jones, candidate for Utah House District 20.
The candidates were asked to address the initiatives on the upcoming ballot. “Prop 1 (education funding) is the most important ballot question we’ll have,” said Alba. “It’s the most important thing we can do for our children. Having seven initiatives says the legislature is not being responsive to what people want.”
Some supported Prop 2 (medical cannabis) and others cautioned it needed more regulation. “Recently there has been a compromise,” said Dr. Ray Ward, the incumbent for District 19. “The Governor said he will call a special session. I support a compromise; it takes some good steps.”
“We need to help people any way we can but Prop 2 is too wide open,” Stevenson said. “It needs to be controlled.”
“I’m in favor of Prop 2 as long as it’s regulated,” said Tamara Long, candidate for County Commission Seat A. “Prop 1 – schools need the money.”
In response to out-of-the-box solutions to education funding Hawkes said teachers are being held back in the classroom. “When I talk to teachers their biggest complaint isn’t their pay it’s the ability to do what they want to do,” he said. “We need to restore the freedom of teachers to touch the minds and hearts of their students.”
“Instead of just shoving money at education we need to work on empowering teachers,” added Speciale.
“Change the amount of testing,” said Ward. “It becomes a burden hanging around our teachers’ neck. It should be competency based instead of seat based.”
“Look what’s succeeding in other states,” said Jones. “Let’s harness the resources we already have.”
Voters should receive their ballots in the mail by the end of this week. Election Day is Nov. 6.