Utah House, District 45, Wendy Davis

1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? I attended a training in December to learn how to collect signatures.
I gathered signatures at Harmons in January.
I posted information on my personal and campaign web pages.
I attended the celebration Woods Cross to celebrate the repeal of the tax bill.  

2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? This is from my “stump speech”: We must also do more to support working families in our state. I know we shouldn’t tax food. Ever. We should look long and hard before we add more fuel taxes. We should make sure that taxation isn’t disproportionally hurting hard working Utahns.

3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? Most of the services I use are provided by small business owners, and I know that these folks do everything they can to keep their prices low while balancing the need to sustain their business. Some of the services I use include: hairdresser, nail tech, massage therapist, yoga instruction, esthetician, lawn care services, housekeeping, window washing services, carpet cleaning services, contracting services (and there are probably many more). Some service providers already tax. But a vast majority of the folks I do business with do not. It would be an added burden to ask these small businesses to collect sales tax in addition to income tax. Taxation of services “broadens the base,” increasing the revenue. But it is hard working Utahns who are “the base.” I think taxation of services should not be one of the first options for the legislature. But if the legislature does consider the taxation of services, it is important to me that the taxes on services be fair and equitable. Many small business categories don’t have lobbyists to advocate on their behalf. We must ensure that our small business owners and the services that they provide are singled out because they have no one protecting their interests. Having the interests of our service providers in mind benefits all Utahns.

4. Many Utahns felt that after the town halls and committee meetings that the legislative tax task force held throughout 2019 that their concerns were not heard and that special interests wielded too much influence. On the other hand, many legislators felt that the people didn’t understand the issue or the solutions that they put forth. If elected, how would you respond to the concerns and issues that your constituents bring to you and how would you educate them on the issues you are dealing with? Our legislature has told citizens that we are on the edge of a fiscal cliff because the taxation of goods to services is disproportionate. The solution was been “tax more services.” It is incumbent upon the legislature to prove to citizens that we are actually on the edge of a fiscal cliff. This narrative is challenging for citizens. The 2019 legislature tried to fast track a bill at the end of the General Session–a bill that had been carefully prepared and vetted by interested parties. But this bill was not socialized with citizens. The legislature has many devices at their disposal to educate voters. They can use the media, delegates, nonprofit agencies, etc. Something like tax reform takes time to explain, and it takes time to gain consensus. It was the method by which the legislature tried to pass the 2019 tax bill that was terribly problematic. They lost the trust of the citizens at that point in time. Days after that bill was introduced in 2019, I attended an adhoc citizen meeting. It was a packed house. Every single person in that room was against the bill. Most were conservatives and small business owners. They voiced strong opposition to the bill. The bill sponsor was there that night, and he told the crowd that we were misinformed and didn’t understand. That again was a response that lost trust. Tax code and tax policy can be complicated, but I don’t subscribe to the narrative that it is so challenging that the average Utahn cannot understand. This is an affront to voters. The “listening tour” was a half-hearted effort to “go through the motions.” The legislature could prove that they had held town halls. But were they really listening? They had no intention of backing off of the positions held in the original bill, but as it neared its final state, the scope of the bill had changed. But were they really listening to constituents? Or were they responding to special interests? If elected, I will not assume that voters are uninformed. That is a critical error. Before introducing any legislation, I think it is important to have a coalition organized that supports the legislation. This coalition should be broad and include the interests those that the legislation will directly impact. I would use coalition members to advocate for the idea and to educate and inform. I would also draw on the media as one means of communication. I would also use nonprofit groups in the community to advocate for the legislation and to help guide grass tops and grass roots efforts. It is important that a legislator realize that votes on the floor are one measure of success, but it is the voters that ultimately matter.

5. Are you willing to vote against bills that legislative leadership wants you to support even when threatened with losing coveted committee positions, having your legislation held hostage, etc? Explain Yes. Democratic leadership does not retaliate against its members. I realize that the retaliation may come from the majority party. We saw that happen in the 2020 session. I am first a principled person and second a principled legislator. If standing my ground and standing up for what I believe in means that I have political consequences, then that may be the reality.  

6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not. I will vote against the amendment. My reasoning is simple. I think we need to protect education funding. We are ranked dead last in the nation in education funding. If our legislature had a reputation of protecting education, I might think differently.  

7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. I’m the best candidate to serve in House District 45 because I know my community and their needs. I am not afraid to stand up and fight for the policies that will advance the lives of Utahns–even if it is unpopular to do so. I believe that we should protect education and do more to support working Utah families. I will bring a fresh voice to the legislature. I am a mom and a grandma. I have a full time career. I am well educated, and I’m ready to serve the citizens of Sandy, Midvale, and Cottonwood Heights and work toward the betterment for all Utahns.

Email wendy@wendydavisutah.com   Phone Number 801-449-1005        

My name is Wendy Davis, and I am running to represent Utah House District 45.  I’m running because I’ve spent too much time on the sidelines hoping for change, but now the stakes are too high.  The futures of my children and grandchildren are at risk. I’m compelled to act. 

I was raised by a single mother and am the daughter of a Vietnam War Vet and a union steward. Originally hailing from the Midwest, I have proudly called Utah home for 25 years. I have a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Utah and have spent my career as a higher education technology expert. I served on the Mount Jordan Middle School Community Council, on PTA in the Canyons School District, and have been an advocate for refugees. As a mother of four children and grandmother to seven with my husband Dean, I am passionate about family-focused values. I understand the struggles many families face today and am running to stand up for Utah families.

Like many folks, I grew up in a home where I didn’t know how much my family was struggling.  I knew money was tight, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized my family was one car repair, one doctor bill, one unexpected expense away from disaster. I’m running for office because even when the Utah economy is doing well, the legislature doesn’t seem to get the struggle of Utah families. Many have lost touch with the real people they’re supposed to be representing.  I haven’t, and I won’t.

We need to protect education.  Accessible preschool and options for full day Kindergarten sets our children on a path that ends in success.  Options for technical education and the trades are near to my heart. Teachers are heroes and our kids thrive in classrooms that are reasonably sized.  I will stand up and fight to protect education dollars, our students, and our teachers.

We must also do more to support working families in our state.  I know we shouldn’t tax food. Ever. We should look long and hard before we add more fuel taxes.  We should make sure that taxation isn’t disproportionality hurting hard working Utahns. And we need higher wages. I think it’s great that we incentivize businesses to come to Utah, but businesses shouldn’t be the only ones to benefit.  Their workers need to benefit as well.  Like many, my family has been affected by addiction.  There is no worse feeling in the world than being a desperate parent begging for an agency, a hospital, a professional, but you’re told that they can’t help, because they don’t have a bed.  Or your child is not bad enough to be admitted, so you should find a counselor. I have been that desperate parent and I know we are not doing enough.

According to the Utah Food Bank: 374,000 Utahns, that’s 1 in 8 of your friends, your neighbors, your family, are at risk of missing a meal today. Even worse, 1 in 7 Utah kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Why does the best economy in the country have so much food insecurity?

I’m tired of a legislature that doesn’t get that an extra $5.00 tax on $100 of food may mean the difference between a child who goes to bed full or one who goes to bed hungry.  I’m tired of a legislature that continues to brag about our state economy but doesn’t always use it to improve the lives of Utah families. I’m tired of a legislature that time and time again has failed to implement the will of the voters, the will of Utahns.  I think there are many voters in Sandy, Midvale and Cottonwood Heights who are tired, too. I’m Wendy Davis, and I’m running for Utah House District 45.