1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? Worked with my husband Nils Bergeson who helped coordinate some of the efforts.
2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” This applies in more ways than one. If Utah government is not careful, raising sales tax on food can hurt a lot of people because of how much people rely on food to survive. The income of each Utahn varies widely, but everyone needs to eat. Sales tax on food is not a great way to balance our budget. Sales tax on gasoline can have an impact on our economy. As public and private industries look for alternative sources of fuel, gas taxes can be considered only as we consider the impact they will have on individuals and businesses. Consulting with the public and getting feedback from key industries will help ensure that taxes are only collected as necessary.
3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? If the citizens of Utah decide TOGETHER that a tax on services makes sense in order to balance our budget, I would support the decision made by the people. The whole problem right now is that legislators try to do it all themselves. While sitting in a town hall meeting a fellow citizen made an excellent point. Voters are business people. Voters understand a great deal. Why not use all of that knowledge to solve the problems we face together? I love that. If we agree that certain services should be taxed, we decide that together. Special interests and friends of legislators should not be having a say on which services are taxed and which are exempt.
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? I have often heard legislators say that people just don’t understand. Nothing could be further from the truth. A legislator’s job is at least two-fold. They must share information that is key to understanding the problem, and they must facilitate the discussion between people that approach problems differently. One of my favorite things to do is listen to a conversation and pull out shared values. As a candidate and if elected, my primary goal is to bring people together from different viewpoints. Solutions are always better when we listen to a variety of ideas and take into consideration multiple impacts and consequences. People may complain that a person like me would get too overwhelmed by the various viewpoints. Not at all. Government must already work with complex systems on a staggering scale. To think that representatives can be trusted with these systems but excused from the most meaningful work of getting people to work together is ridiculous. It is essential we know how to focus in on the important details as we work to write meaningful legislation. Too much time, money, and energy is wasted by pushing through legislation that people don’t want. It is never a waste of time to listen, find common ground, and put together something that is meaningful and effective. We do need to get past our two-party approach when trying to solve problems. Not everything fits neatly into a box, least of all problems and solutions. We need to start recognizing the strengths we all bring to the discussion. I already see that as a citizen. I would love to put that to work as a legislator.
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 This question is a good one and represents the very reason why I am running with the United Utah Party. Legislative leadership cannot be allowed to bully fellow legislators. No one should feel like they should vote a certain way for fear of retribution. The number one priority is to represent constituents, not to get in line and obey legislative leadership. Corruption at any level should not be tolerated. We need more transparency to protect legislators from being bullied.
6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not. Problem number one with the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment is that the public is still not really all that involved. Once again, legislators are acting like public parents rather than the public servants they should be. As an elected official I want to change this habit legislators have of telling the public what to do. Legislators for a long time have been hyper-focused on changing the constitution so that income tax no longer has to be strictly tied to education. We definitely have a problem with unstable sales taxes that must fund everything else. But, this is a problem we must solve together. I’m always in favor of voters getting a chance to express their will by casting a vote. But, as a fellow voter pointed out, why is it that legislators don’t trust the public when they pass their own initiatives? Why do they only now come to the public to vote on an amendment that would have a huge impact on educational funding? I feel that legislators constantly play games with the public, and it’s not right. Either we trust the public or we don’t. Let’s involve the public the right way, not just when it suits our purposes. Let’s solve our budgeting problems together. As an elected official I will use every means possible to share, collect, and promote solutions we can all live with.
7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. I have a business degree from Brigham Young’s Marriott School of Business and have worked a number of years for start-up companies in Utah. I value wise spending. I have lived overseas as a Peace Corps volunteer and as a diplomat. I work in the services industry as a sign language interpreter. I used to think my eclectic experiences were just random, but I now see them as a culmination of a larger purpose. I love collaboration and creative problem solving. I am tired of politics as usual (because that definitely isn’t working). It’s time to switch things up.
I’m Emily Bergeson, running for Senate District 7 in Utah County. I’m running with the United Utah Party (UUP) because it’s a party that supports a moderate and practical approach to lawmaking.
I have always been interested in making the world a better place, but I haven’t always been interested in politics. For a while, politics was just another word for divisiveness and arguments. I have since dedicated the last few years educating myself and figuring out a way to change that. It’s not easy, but it’s so important.
Politics needs us, all of us. Without our involvement things are going to keep getting worse. That’s why I’m running. I hope to show you just how much you’re needed and how much you have to contribute. We often doubt ourselves, thinking that the political world is too corrupt for us to really make a difference. But you can. We can. All of us together can make a huge difference.
As to my personal background, I graduated from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. I then worked for three different start-up companies, two in Utah and one in Maryland. I volunteered with the United States Peace Corps and served in Romania with my husband before he got a job with USAID (United States Agency for International Development). As we transitioned to my husband’s career as a foreign service officer at USAID, I focused on raising children and volunteering in a variety of settings. I volunteered at orphanages, helped people who lived on the streets, hosted language learning classes, met with fellow diplomats and dignitaries, and a number of other things. I know 6 languages, 4 that I picked up while living overseas.
I am also a certified sign language interpreter. I have served the ASL community as an interpreter for nearly 20 years. I love the challenge of bridging gaps and bringing people together. It is truly a profession I enjoy.
I have a growing family with children ranging from 1 to 10 years old. I love the variety and perspective being a parent offers. I have learned so much about patience, kindness, listening, understanding, and humility. These are all key qualities of a good legislator.
At this crossroads in my life, I am focusing all of my energies on politics. I figure the only way to make things better is to get involved. My campaign focuses on empowering fellow voters to get involved too and to feel like their contributions are valued. Honestly, think about it. Imagine if we designed laws with better consideration for all of the possible impacts. The recent tax law is a good example of what happens when we stop listening to one another.
In November, I hope you feel confident voting for Emily Bergeson, a candidate of the United Utah Party (UUP), for Senate District 7!