Q & A

Q. Why do you want to serve in the office you are running for?

A. I want to center the voices of the marginalized, especially the voice of the trans community that is year after year subjected to legislation that seeks to take their rights away. I want to see policy that helps people have a place to live, and I want to see policy that centers our environment and sustainability, making the choice to go green available and affordable for everyone. I want to see justice, appropriate responses, and police that are held accountable. I want to be another voice that champions the right to collective bargaining and its benefits for all workers.

Q. What qualifies you to hold public office?

A. Besides the statutory requirements, I have volunteered in a number of roles, including serving on the Womens State Legislative Council of Utah for nine years. I am the newly elected Vice President of the ACLU of Utah, the Chair of the Transgender Inclusion Project, the Vice Chair of the Utah Stonewall Dems, and have chaired a local community council. I am considered a grass-roots leader in my community, and some people, including friends that are elected officials, confided that I am an inspiration to them. I am qualified because I care for all the citizens of this state, including those who are targeted and left behind.

Q. What makes the area you want to serve special?

A. West Valley City is a majority-minority district. There is a great deal of diversity in this district, and a significant number of LGBT supporters who fly the progressive pride flag proudly 24/7. There are also a significant number of transportation workers, including truckers who make this area their home. The trees in the neighborhoods are mature and loved. There are a few homes that have livestock and some sell eggs. The area is an interesting blend of rural culture bordering on urban amenities. The city has a large number of public parks for its size, and it straddles the Jordan River. It is home to an arena and the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

Q. What’s a unique issue to your prospective constituency or general region?

A. Nestled where it is in the valley, the district is impacted by the inversion that traps pollution from the busy roads that are only blocks away from homes, and is subject to noise and pollution because it sits in a flight path for air traffic taking off and landing at the nearby airport, as well as flights of fighters from an Air Force base passing over during their exercises.

Q. What’s something that you think Democrats fail to address when reaching out to your community?

A. Many candidates don’t seem to reach out at all. Volunteers are hard to be found, due to the draw to the bigger campaigns up in Salt Lake City. The people out here want to be heard, or at least listened to. Mental health support is a serious concern. Parents also worry about how their trans kids will be able to access the services and treatment they need in order to thrive.

Q. A follow-up: Do you believe that Democrats are adequately involved in your community, and how do you think your campaign can improve or maintain this? Election years and otherwise.

A. It starts with caucus night. For so long, the Democrats have failed to adequately advertise its existence, leaving gaps of delegates for campaigns to fill. More recently, many of the active Democrats have decided to caucus with the Republicans in an effort to de-radicalize that party and get more moderate candidates on the ballot. This, unfortunately, has left a gap, in which a group of delegates supporting an unaffiliated candidate were able to disrupt the state convention to remove a Democratic senatorial candidate from the ballot. To address this, I petitioned the Salt Lake County Party to take a more active role in getting more people to caucus night. They responded by creating campaigns to phone-bank existing officers, drop invitation literature off, and get signs up all over the district advertising the event. The hope is that we will help local Democrats and Democratic-leaning individuals get more involved once again.

Q. Pick one word to describe your campaign.

A. Invigorating

Q. [Our organization] is committed to supporting candidates who are pro-LGBTQ+, pro-choice, pro-public education, and pro-labor. How does your campaign emulate these values, and what will you do as an elected official to further these values?

A. I am a trans-woman and I have two volunteers so far on my campaign–one of whom is a trans man. I am also pro-choice, and have been endorsed by pro-choice organizations in the past. As the Vice President of the ACLU of Utah and when I was the President of the Board of SVUUS, I have been supportive of organizations that fight for these rights. I have also been endorsed in prior campaigns by the labor unions, and respect all my volunteers. Paid staff will always receive a living wage at a minimum on my campaigns. I understand the value of education, and how hard it can be to achieve. Coming from an upper-lower class to lower-middle class family, I was appreciative of the doors that were unlocked for me when I finally earned my Bachelor’s and then my Master’s degrees. We need critical thinkers to solve today’s problems, and that education needs to be available to all via the public education system.

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  • Sophia Hawes-Tingey
    published this page in About Me 2024-02-26 09:04:38 -0800