My name is John Mulholland, and I live in Utah House District 56. This year, we have an exciting race with two very qualified candidates. Both have plenty of experience but somewhat different views and qualifications. Here is my short write-up on each.
Kay has already served in the legislature for the last eight years. This will probably be his last term in office. He is a solid conservative and has worked hard with the governor to promote taking back states’ rights, especially around land management. He is hopeful that if Trump wins reelection, and since we are getting a new governor, that he will be able to make a lot of progress going forward on this issue.
Kay says that it takes a while to come up to speed as a legislator and to gain respect and influence with fellow elected officials. Currently, Kay chairs the House Transportation Committee. He understands the process, and which agencies he needs to work with. In order to be effective, he says that representatives need to understand how things work, and the associated costs. Only then can you go to the private sector looking for solutions.
While he was in favor of the tax rebalancing, Kay is hopeful that through an amendment to the state constitution, we can add disabilities to be funded by the income tax. As all of the income tax currently has to go to education, this would free up other money for the general fund for the state to use. He believes that this will delay the imbalance being an issue for at least another 15 years. Kay is retired from construction and still does some engineering consulting. His convention speech can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oDHZoqs_4k
Merrilee is an estate planning attorney, handling trusts and wills. She is also the executive director for Family Watch, has published thirteen books, and started Abortion Free Utah to push Utah to zero elective abortions. The bill that was passed would go into effect if Roe v Wade was ever overturned.
She already has a history in politics, being on the Poway city council for eight years, and the budget review commission for 12. Merrilee was even a regional director for proposition 8 in California and has testified in front of the Utah state legislature. Her role with Family Watch has her speaking to ambassadors and government leaders throughout the world.
She doesn’t identify as an ultraconservative but says that she aligns very well with the Utah County Republican Party Platform. Merrilee does have a libertarian streak though regarding limited government, especially around property rights, and not having a nanny state. She was very much against Representative Eliason’s mental health screening bill for school children. Merrilee does not believe that this is the proper role of government. Her opponent voted for it. She also stated that we need to be very careful with how we jumpstart the economy. We need to avoid just throwing a lot of money at the problem, especially when it isn’t effective. And as agencies are scaling back spending, it is a great time to reevaluate what is the proper role of state government.
If elected, Merrilee plans to drastically reduce her other commitments so she can effectively serve. She said that with so many strong conservatives leaving or have already left the legislature, that we need to replace them. Merrilee believes that she already has the relationships and knowledge to be effective quickly. She is only running via caucus, not signatures. Her convention speech can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OmdprpKemI