I’ve spent the last 30 years serving Utah families as a primary care doctor, where I had to listen to patients to find out how to help them. Since starting this campaign, I’ve made three trips to San Juan County to find out what you need. Here’s what I’ve found:
1. Health care. Everyone needs health care, and I’ve seen firsthand what happens when people can’t afford it. We can’t go back to the way things were before the ACA, and we can’t keep going the way we are now—just last week, Congress failed to re-fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers around 20,000 kids in Utah. These kids no longer have health insurance because of political games. That means they no longer have access to the preventive care that saves lives and money. This is a step in the wrong direction. Kids can’t make health care decisions for themselves, which means we as a community have a responsibility to take care of them.
2. Rural development. Just like we need health care, we also need clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. I support improved infrastructure for rural Utah, including high-speed internet access for everyone. This will give San Juan County residents the opportunity to run any number of home-based internet businesses. Rural Utah is also in a great position to make biofuels from crops such as camelina, and solar and wind technology would be great fits for San Juan County. Imagine every farm and ranch selling power to Provo and Salt Lake! Over 200 Utah farms are already using cow dung to fuel their own properties. Some farmers have declared that they’ve been milking the wrong end of the cow all these years!
3. Public lands. We need well-managed wilderness lands for everyone to enjoy. But we need to grow our communities’ economies while protecting our natural heritage for future generations. Counties like San Juan shouldn’t have to suffer lost property tax revenue from hosting federal land, so I propose that any state with more than 50 percent of its land owned by the federal government (Utah has 66 percent) should have a major increase in federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). This would better compensate counties like San Juan for the stewardship they provide to the rest of the nation.
But to make all these things happen, we need to bring ethics and accountability back to Washington. We need a representative who will listen, not pander. We need a change from business as usual, not another politician.
I’m not a politician. I’m a doctor. And as a doctor, I look at the facts, diagnose the problem, and find solutions that can work for everyone. Above all, I tell the truth. And that’s exactly what I’ll do as your Congresswoman.