Utah senate, district 10, Dan McClellan

— 1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? —

I volunteered to gather signatures, arranged for an on-camera interview with Fox13 News to promote the referendum, manned a table at Harmon’s over multiple shifts each week, and submitted several signature packets.

— 2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? —

I believe our state can operate with a less regressive tax structure, and that includes eliminating the tax on unprepared food and avoiding attempting to cover shortages in other areas by raising the gas tax.

— 3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? —

I am not convinced yet that taxing services is a necessity, but if it does become one, there should be no exemptions based on lobbying power or political favors. Spreading the taxes out further allows us to keep any potential service taxes to an absolute minimum. Avoiding tax pyramiding for business-to-business transactions would be the only exemptions I would seek.

— 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? —

One of the reasons I got involved in politics was my disgust with legislators who have clear conflicts of interest and pander to the privileged and the wealthy. The incumbent in my district has raised tens of thousands of dollars exclusively from lobbyists, CEOs, and corporations. Not a single donation has come from an unconnected member of their district. Filling the legislature with wealthy and wealth-driven folks only guarantees that the legislature will prioritize wealth. So much more than financial planning is needed to adequately represent a constituency in the state senate. If a constituency doesn’t understand an issue, insisting you know better is not representation, it’s just structuring power. I plan to prioritize transparency and to hold monthly in-person town halls where I can leverage my years in education to help my constituency better understand complex issues and see the merits of their various sides, as well as learn more about their concerns and perspectives. Representation, after all, is not about dictating to a constituency, but representing the will of the constituency.

— 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 —

I will never allow legislative leadership to influence my vote. That takes the power out of the hands of my constituency and places it in the hands of party leadership, which is the last place it belongs. Party politics have always been a cancer to informed and effective representation. I published an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune last year criticizing our legislature’s rank inadequacy as a representative body, in large part because of their prioritization of partisan politics, and I firmly believe that the state is best served when legislators act on their understanding of the state constitution, on the will of their constituencies, on data, and on their own consciences.

— 6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not? —

I am as yet undecided, but skeptical. Our state’s funding of education is famously poor, despite the lip-service paid by the state’s legislature and executives. The amendment strikes me as an attempt to free up more funding to be diverted from education to other projects that serve the legislators’ own interests, but if 100% of income taxes cannot dislodge us from dead last place in the nation for per-pupil funding, less than 100% surely isn’t going to do the trick. If an alternative means of guaranteeing that education funding is significantly increased and protected, I would be open to an amendment, but I have not seen a satisfactory proposal as of yet.

— 7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. —

I got involved in politics because I could no longer sit on the sidelines and passively watch the needs and interests of the state’s citizens be subjugated to those of special interest groups, of large corporations, and of the state’s most wealthy and powerful. That’s not the purpose of government. I am the best candidate because I am the only candidate whose first and only priority is understanding and then representing the interests of the People of the State of Utah.

— Email —

dan.mcclellan@gmail.com

Dan McClellan is running for the Utah State Senate in district 10 in order to restore a voice to the state legislature that will prioritize the needs and interests of individuals, families, and small businesses over those of large corporations and the state’s most wealthy and powerful. For too long, our legislature’s super majority has facilitated abuses of trust and power. Without the threat of accountability imposed by viable opposition, legislators have flouted conflicts of interest and the will of the people to advance legislation that primarily or even unilaterally serves the interests of special interest groups and the wealthy and powerful in our state. A close interrogation of many legislators’ campaign finance disclosures will reveal few if any donations from unconnected constituents. The vast majority of donations being given to Utah state legislators come from lobbyists, corporations, CEOs, and other legislators. It is clear whose interests such legislators will prioritize. The undermining of Propositions 2, 3, and 4, and the tax restructuring bill from the special session in late 2019 are all manifestations of that precisely misguided prioritization.

In 1774, James Wilson published a pamphlet in Philadelphia in which he wrote, “The representatives are reminded whose creatures they are; and to whom they are accountable for the use of that power, which is delegated to them. The first maxims of jurisprudence are ever kept in view—that all power is derived from the people—that their happiness is the end of government.” Dan McClellan is running for the Utah State Senate in district 10 to bring accountability to the legislature, to advocate first for individuals, families, and small businesses, and to remind the legislators “whose creatures they are.”