What Darlene likes to call “kitchen-table issues” are a big part of her campaign because they are what working class voters are concerned about. The access and affordability of healthcare, education needs, and economics issues, like the price of fuel and other rising costs related to inflation, are just some of the matters that Darlene will take to Congress and work to find solutions.
District 4 is also one of the most gerrymandered districts in the country.
Gerrymandering first occurred when minorities were first given the right to vote. Legislative bodies used gerrymandering to ensure that the political power of these voters was diminished. Despite recent changes to the district’s boundaries, Darlene is committed to represent the concerns of all of her constituents, regardless of whether you vote for her.
As the mom of a son born with pre-existing heart conditions, Darlene is committed to ensuring access to high-quality, affordable healthcare for our families and addressing healthcare costs. That will be one of Darlene’s priorities in Congress. Close to a million Utahns have contracted Covid-19 so far, which has resulted in the death of almost 5,000 of our friends and neighbors. Darlene has personally lost three close friends to the virus. As many of us prepare to return to the office and a life that closely resembles the way things were at the end of 2019, healthcare professionals continue to treat and study “long-haulers” who suffer from an affliction known as “Long Covid.”
Long-haulers experience symptoms of the illness many weeks, or even months, after contracting the virus. An estimated 11.78 million Americans are living with long Covid. More research is necessary to help medical professionals explain why symptoms linger in some people and their long-term medical impact on the sufferers.
Many long-haulers are unable to return to their previous lives, which has led to a loss in income. Their inability to work impacts their ability to obtain a quality health insurance plan and may even impact their ability to obtain life insurance. As long-haulers seek ongoing medical care for their symptoms, health care experts warn that they could face high healthcare costs that could exceed $100,000 over a lifetime.
When in Congress, Darlene will make sure we don’t return to the days when insurance companies denied coverage to people when they needed it the most. She will work with members of Congress and healthcare professionals to determine what can be done to bring the cost of healthcare down.
Utah has the highest birth rate in the United States: 14.9 per 1,000. Utah has the largest average household size in the country, and Utah is the youngest state with a median age of 30.7 years. Addressing maternity health, which includes mental health, is, therefore, extremely important in Utah communities. Depression and anxiety are the most common complications of childbirth.
Unfortunately, maternal mortality in the United States exceeds other developed countries, and that is unacceptable. Pregnancy-associated deaths can also include accidental overdoses from opioids postpartum. The crisis is most severe for Black moms, who are dying at three to four times the rate of their white counterparts. Native Americans are more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. Other research has shown that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have higher rates of maternal mortality during hospitalization for delivery, even after accounting for other factors that can affect outcomes.
Darlene will make sure Utah moms have the resources they need to safely deliver their babies while tending to the well-being and care of mothers.
The Federal Deficit is the amount of money the federal government spends versus how much it collects.
The National Debt is the total amount of money the U.S. government owes. It’s what you get from adding up all of the federal deficits accumulated from year to year. Big deficits mean a growing federal debt.
No one in Washington has come up with a solid plan to address the nation’s rising national debt, and many question if it’s even necessary. Former Vice President Dick Cheney famously said, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”
American families that run high levels of debt risk bankruptcy or economic catastrophe, should an emergency arise. The National Debt operates pretty much the same way. High levels of debt and deficit spending at the household level are not sustainable. At some point, household debt has to be paid back. The debt is on an unsustainable course and has been for years. A large debt limits the government’s ability to continue to fight the economic downturns. It also makes us potentially beholden to countries, such as China, that we borrow from. Tax cuts, as well as deficit spending, increase the national debt.
Unfortunately, many members of Congress use the national debt as a political prop. Addressing the national debt isn’t just about cutting spending. That tactic may work in American households, but it has seldom worked in a more complex system such as the government. Presidents who have run on cutting taxes and followed through end up having to raise them again. We cannot cut our way out of the crisis, no more than we can spend our way out of it. It takes politicians in Washington who are not looking to score political points but, instead, are willing to sit down at the table to create a smart, effective government – one which can operate within a budget that doesn’t leave anyone behind.
There are three drivers of growth in spending, which leads to an increase in the national debt:
- Rising healthcare costs per capita
- Our aging population
- The cost of servicing our national debt (interest cost).
When in Congress, Darlene will not work to create a bigger government. She will work to create a smarter one.
Strengthening Our Local Economy
All politics are local. Darlene’s legislative agenda will be centered around a commitment to make Utah’s economy work for everyone. Darlene’s agenda will include tax relief for families and investments in infrastructure like rural broadband, improved public transit and clean energy. As a small business owner, Darlene will advocate for small businesses.
Darlene supports a national raise in the minimum wage, which would raise the minimum wage in Utah. As evidenced by The Coronavirus Relief Fund which provided relief to struggling families and businesses in 2020 and again in 2021, the economy benefits when the middle class is strong. The economy is built by the middle class. As consumers, they pour money into retail stores, which then helps to pay the salaries of the stores’ employees, and also benefits investors. Beyond the macro-economic benefits, when hard-working households can afford to buy the things they need, they experience reduced stress and improved health – which leads to less crime, more focused students, and a more efficient workforce around the state.
Rural jobs often pay less than urban ones, which is why so many young adults leave rural communities in search of urban jobs. Darlene is committed to finding solutions for the cash-flow issues of rural businesses, including farms and ranches.
provides $350 billion in emergency funding for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19
Research has shown that students who have participated in early childhood educational interventions persist in their educational pursuits, have higher earnings, and commit fewer crimes. The preschool program Head Start not only enhances a child’s educational potential, but also has a lasting positive impact on behavioral outcomes, including self-control and self-esteem. These investments must continue to be made in the state with the youngest population and highest birth rate.
The COVID-19 pandemic put a stain on our education system by revealing several existing inequities. In order to address these inequities, we must invest in public education. We must make the needed changes that will allow us to:
- Attract, develop, and retain world-class educators
- Provide state-of-the-art school facilities in every community,
- Make education affordable.
We must prepare our students to be able to compete in an increasingly global economy. We must also be cognizant that the ability to learn is not determined by zip code.
The ability to learn is not determined only by what happens when students walk into the classroom. A students’ education should prepare them for what they will face ahead in the career path of their choosing. We need to take a comprehensive approach to ensure that every student is prepared for success at any level. They need access to good healthcare, financial support, and out-of-school opportunities, such as internships and mentorships, that will empower them to achieve.
“A Republic, if you can keep it,” Benjamin Franklin is quoted to have said on the last day of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. No other document like it existed in Europe, where monarchies ruled.
American Democracy is an experiment in a different form of government, a democratic republic. The American Constitution, while grand and noble, is far from perfect. The Preamble to the U.S. The Constitution begins with three powerful words, “We the People,” which present the essence of inclusivity, In order to form the more perfect union that forces the nation to hold as truth those three words, that we are indeed a country with a government made of the people, for the people, and by the people.
Since its founding, America’s promise to form a more perfect union has been tested. Too many times, she got it wrong. But through the process of Constitutional amendments and a Civil War, she’s been steered in the direction of living up to its creed and promise of inclusiveness.
The one thing we have learned over the past decade is that America’s democracy is not guaranteed and it is worth fighting for.
America became the shining example of a democratic state, where people not monarchies ruled. In the last two decades, we’ve seen democracies crumble and give way to authoritarian regimes and dictatorships. Studies are showing a dramatic shift toward right-wing authoritarian tendencies, and this should alarm everyone.
The United States is a constitutional republic that is a representative democracy. That means we should encourage every eligible citizen of this country to vote and we should make it easier for people to cast a ballot, not harder. Instead, we’ve gone out of our way to make it harder for citizens to vote under the guise that millions of voters are voting illegally. This is simply false and spreading this lie jeopardizes the fabric that makes up our democracy.
Covid-19 has taught us that what affects one of us affects us all. The U.S. Constitution was for fledgling democracies around the world. The world looks to us for leadership and our American democracy is worth fighting for. Without a strong democracy, nothing else matters: the fight for clean water and air, the fight for good education, the fight for affordable housing, and eliminating student debt…none of it matters if we lose our democracy.
We must stand up for our democracy, not just when it’s politically convenient to do so. We must stand for democracy especially when it’s hard. That is the only way we can preserve it.
Much of the attention around the Farm Bill lately is centered on the EBT food stamp program, but the Farm Bill sets policies that not only impact farmers and ranchers, but our domestic food supply. Why is it that fruits, vegetables and produce cost more and are less available than candy and fast food? Why is it that we have farmers and ranchers in our state who ship out their products to other states and even other countries before meeting the needs of Utahns? Let’s see if we can solve some of the supply chain problems we are facing by incentivizing farmers and ranchers to meet local demands first. President Biden has focused a lot on the Farm Bill, and Darlene also intends to support common-sense solutions to the challenges faced by our farmers and ranchers.
Darlene will work to eliminate urban food deserts – sections, often in the inner-city, where residents must travel more than a mile to reach a grocery store. Forcing those without adequate transportation to rely on local convenience stores for sustenance. Eliminating such food deserts creates an opportunity for rural farmers to fill that gap. If we truly focus on solving problems, we can find solutions to meet the needs of both rural and urban communities in the CD4.
We are in an unprecedented drought that appears to be worse this year than it was in 2021. Water is precious in our semi-arid climate, and there is much we can do to conserve water every day. When we do, we are helping maintain our water supply, and there is also a financial incentive. Did you know that water heaters and toilets built in the last 20 years help you save substantial water? Modern dishwashers are also more efficient. Modern showerheads can provide ample pressure and use less water. Many manufacturers offer rebates upon purchase, and the water savings actually helps pay for the appliances over time. Be cognizant of leaks in your home, whether they be at the faucet or from a faulty pipe. If your water bill has increased a lot in the last six months without explanation, you should find out what is causing the increased water usage in your home. All of us can do our part to conserve water.