Meet the candidates – Senate 14

Meet the candidates – Senate 14

Editor note: This is the second in a series of posts introducing the candidates. All candidates were offered to respond. I am only posting responses received by the deadline. Today’s post is Senate District 14.  Each candidate was given a word count limit.  No one associated with FortyFive politics is working on a campaign in this race.

senate 14

1 – Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hemmert:

I am an experienced business professional. I have a law and masters degree in business from BYU. I was the CFO and investment manager of a multimillion dollar company and I am now co-owner of a successful small business with 150 employees. I am the father of six great kids and happily married to my wife Natalie. I have served as a county and state delegate, a precinct chair and also a national delegate (alternate). I was born and raised in Utah County and have lived here for over three decades. I care deeply about the people of this district and I am deeply connected to it. I am not a perennial political candidate and I do not see this position as a stepping stone to some higher office. I will not be defined by this position and I have no plans to make a career out of being a politician. I have been successful in business and my current life situation is such that I have the time and opportunity to serve the people and the area I love.

Richardson:

My name is Holly Richardson and my husband, Greg and I have been married 30 years this month. We chose many years ago to raise our large and diverse family in this area. We are the proud parents of 24 children, 20 of whom we adopted from 8 different countries. Most are now grown and we are starting on the grandparent phase. We currently live in the heart of Senate District 14 in Pleasant Grove, where we have been in the same home for 12 1/2 years. Before that, we lived in Alpine for 4 1/2 years and before that, we lived in Orem for 9 years. I know and love this area. I have a background in healthcare, having graduated from BYU as a Registered Nurse in 1984. I have also been a midwife for 17 years. Additionally, I have experience in the energy sector, in post-secondary education (as an adjunct professor and president of a small midwifery college) and in public and private service. I have served in the Utah Republican party at many levels over the last 16 years. I also write the award-winning conservative blog, Holly on the Hill.


 

2 – Why are you running for Utah State Senate?

Richardson:

I believe in these principles: strong families as the cornerstone of our society, limited government, fiscal conservatism, private property, freedom of religion and understanding the proper role of government as laid out in both the US and Utah Constitutions. I am also a Reagan Republican who believes in a big tent. We do best at sharing the Republican message when we welcome all who want to belong, rather than create narrow and divisive “requirements” to participate. I believe we need leaders who listen and not lecture, who welcome diverse voices and who know that the Miracle of Philadelphia – the creation of the US Constitution – required people of different opinions to come together for the good of a nation. I ascribe to Sutherland Institute’s founder, Gaylord Swim’s approach: “This process requires strong advocates, certainly, but it also takes a counter-balancing sense of humility, civility, and dialogue.” I am running for the Utah Senate because I bring that sense of civility and dialogue to the table. It is a critical component of good governance and it has too often been missing.

Hemmert:

I think I have a set of skills that sets me apart from the other candidates including my background and approach. I am a true conservative and I am worried about the path our country and state are headed. Despite our overwhelming republican majorities in the state house and senate I don’t think we really legislate as true conservatives in our state. I think we need to get back to the basics with regard to our state government. Last year in our state senate our senators agreed on 96% of legislation. There seems to be an approach currently in our senate that promotes a mentality of “go along to get along”. My background in business has helped me develop the ability to look powerful people in the eye and tell them they are wrong. However, I will support legislation that increases individual freedom while understanding that the legislative process requires working together with people who may not agree with on every point in order to make incremental process. We didn’t lose all of the freedoms we have lost over night. It was a slow process and gaining that ground back will take time and it will take persuasion skills and hard work.


 

3 – What are the top three issues facing Utah in the next 4 years and what do you plan to do to confront these?

Hemmert:

The top issues I intend to address are 1) how to deal with population growth (including education, transportation, water), 2) government’s encroachment on personal freedom and 3) how to support business growth and development within the proper role of government to ensure that we continue attracting high paying jobs for our children.

Due to the number of school age children in Utah we will never compete for the highest per pupil spending title. But, last year our legislature increased spending on the WPU by 3%. I applaud these efforts. As your senator I will be committed to look at every option, including gaining access to our federally controlled lands and using funds generated from the reasonable development of those lands, to help support education. I support the use of technology in the classroom. Finally, I support empowering parents and teachers to have as much control over classroom spending as possible. Parents and teachers know best else what their children need.

I’m running out of space, so I will be brief:

I believe building reasonable transportation infrastructure and ensuring that we have sufficient water for our future needs are both areas that are within the proper role of government and areas that I will generally support.

Regarding the slow encroachment of government into our personal freedoms I want voters to know that they can count on me to push back against efforts to erode our personal freedoms whether those efforts are intentional or not.

And finally, we must continue to support business to attract high paying jobs for our children. This should not be done through state sponsored advantages, e.g., tax incentives or other mechanisms that “pick favorites,” instead this should be accomplished through support of reasonable deregulation and low and equitable taxes for all.

Richardson:

Education: Parents have the right to make educational decision for their children, and I believe they should be – and feel – supported in those choices. That means they should be able to choose homeschool, charter school, neighborhood schools, in any combination, and not be publicly or privately shamed for those choices. Local control means districts and schools, in conjunction with parents and teachers, should be making curriculum decisions. In our area, we have approximately 75,000 children attending neighborhood public schools, 10,000 attending charter schools and about 3700 children who are homeschooled. My goal as a state Senator is to see a level playing field for funding and to increase transparency and accountability in the funding process. I want to see schools funded using the same formula, not one process for charter schools and another for neighborhood schools.

Maintaining strong families: Utah is a family friendly state, one that understands that strong families are the cornerstone of our society. Children are our future and as such, deserve the best from all of us, including loving family ties. As a state Senator, I will work tirelessly to make sure that our laws protect and preserve the family unit and the rights of parents to make decisions for their families. I also understand that strong families can be created in a variety of ways, including the traditional family, via adoption and blended families.

Growth: Because our state consistently ranks #1 for business, has unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities and is tops in family friendliness, we look forward to continuing to see our state grow. Doubling in population in a few short decades means we need to be planning for and working on infrastructure needs now: water, transportation, energy and education. As your Senator, I will be actively involved in those discussions and won’t be content to let someone else figure it out down the road.

 

About author

Richard Jaussi
Richard Jaussi 31 posts

Richard is a political junkie. He teaches Political Science and US Constitution courses at a University. Richard can be found reading books on American history and politics. He resides in Utah County with his wife, 4 kids, and Frodo (their dog). You can reach him at fortyfivepolitics@gmail.com.

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