1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? I had been the director of term limits initiative. When the referendum came up, we made the decision to suspend operations in order to encourage all volunteers to spend their time on the tax referendum instead. we were able to also funnel the remainder of our budget, a few thousand dollars, into a targeted advertising campaign to urge people to sign the referendum.
2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? I believe that food and gasoline taxes are the most regressive, and end up hurting the poorest more.
3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? In principle I believe that services should be taxed at a minimal level, if at all. We are a service based economy, but complex up-front tax structures on the services themselves are not ideal.
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? Radical transparency the overall theme of my campaign. I am a realistic, and I recognize that changing economies need updated tax structures from time to time. But big changes that affect us all like this should never be done in a quiet special session. It’s the responsibility of the legislature to make the process as open and transparent as possible. if I’m elected, I’ll be a constant voice of information and transparency, even if the rest of the legislature isn’t willing to go as far as I am. Social media will be our friend in this case.
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 Absolutely. That’s one of the reasons I’m running with United Utah Party. Parties, no matter which ones they are, should not have this level of power that affects good governance. I will choose transparency over committee assignments every time.
6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not. I have a more nuanced to you on this. I believe that having all education funding tied to income taxes only is limiting, and I’d like to see that change. However, I totally recognize the importance of ensuring adequate funding and support for education. I could get behind the amendment, but would feel uncomfortable doing so unless there was some other way, hopefully more flexible, of ensuring that education will always get adequate funding. I don’t think that tying it to income tax is the only way to make that happen, but we shouldn’t cut that cord until there was an adequate plan B put in place.
7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. I always put smart, good governance, above all other considerations. I’ve spent my career helping to build local governments all over the world as a US diplomat, and I believe that local government is the place where good governance truly matters above all else. I hate to see politics seeping into everything, and seeing government bodies become arrogant in feeling that they know better than the constituents they represent. We need a better balance.
Hello, my name is Nils Bergeson, and I am running for House District 61, covering parts of West Provo and Orem. I am running with the United Utah Party.
I’m a father of four fantastic children – Jane, Harry, Rosy, and Cecily. And I am married to Emily, my beautiful, intelligent wife of 13 years. By the way, Emily is also a candidate this year for the Utah State Senate.
I’ve spent the bulk of my career overseas, working to help build and improve communities in all corners of the globe. This love for all things international began as a missionary (Russia Novosibirsk Mission) and expanded further when I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Romania), As a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development, I worked as a personal advisor on development issues to six different ambassadors in multiple countries, including Colombia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Indonesia.
In 2018, after nearly twelve years living overseas, we decided to return closer to family in Utah, anxious to help improve our communities at home as we did abroad. I previously served as the Executive Director for the United Utah Party, and later was the UUP’s state vice chair.
Why Am I Running?
- I am sick and tired of politics.
This might sound a little strange for someone running for office, but let me explain. What I am really sick of is the divisive nature of politics.
The Republicans and Democrats have essentially set it up to where you are part of one of two “all or nothing” teams.
I’ve worked for Republican and Democrats as a diplomat, and never felt the need to align myself with one or another “team.” I’m an American. I’m a Utahn. I care about my country and my community. I don’t need to be forced into a box to prove who I am.
- I believe we need true advocates for reform to be elected to office.
Because of this political division, over the decades we’ve seen political systems devolve into a party-based system. Instead of voters selecting representatives who adjust laws to fit their needs and views, we have a system where political parties and special interest groups have WAY more power than voters themselves. This is wrong. This results in bad government.
We need representatives that represent people, not parties, and not special interest groups. Unfortunately, at this stage in the game, I believe the ONLY way to change this is to pass some strong reforms to how we run elections and how we run the government.
We need representatives that constantly and relentlessly push for needed reform. If I’m elected, I’ll be such a legislator.
- I love discovering and implementing real solutions to make life better for all of us.
I’ve worked to improve education in Afghanistan. I’ve helped train judges and legislators in Kazakhstan. I’ve taught civics to youth in Romania. I’ve worked with refugees and displaced persons in Colombia. I’ve helped increase trade and economic development in both Central and Southeast Asia. And so much more. For years, I’ve learned first hand about what works, and I want to bring that knowledge and experience to Utah.
Whether it concerns education, health care, agriculture, the environment, or the economy in general, I have experience in helping to find creative and meaningful ways to make it better.
If elected, I commit to always being data-driven in policy making, always looking for the truth, and always seeking to do what is right, regardless of what the political implications might be.
Thanks again for considering me, Nils Bergeson, for House District 61!