Catholic Diocese questionnaire


This questionnaire was sent to me by the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, which in fact covers the entire state of Utah. I am happy to respond to questions at any time. I am sad to see that neither of my opponents thought that their Catholic constituents were worthy of a reply.

SANCTITY OF LIFE ISSUES:

Death Penalty:  Do you support or oppose repeal of the death penalty in Utah, leaving life without parole as the highest level of penalty? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

Yes, I support repeal of the death penalty. It is absolutely certain that innocent individuals have been executed in the past. My conscience cannot allow the state to kill on my behalf.

Assisted Suicide:  Do you support or oppose assisted suicide legislation? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

Yes, I would support assisted suicide legislation. Other people’s lives are not my property, and I have no right nor any legitimate authority to prevent them from doing as they wish. I do not suggest that suicide is ever the right decision, but it would be unconscionably presumptuous of me to make that decision for others.

Abortion:  Do you support or oppose abortions in all cases, except as required to save the life of the mother? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

No, I do not support further restrictions on abortion. Utah already has one of the lowest abortion rates in the country, and it is clear to me that the solution is to make abortion undesirable or unnecessary, not unlawful. I support efforts to make birth control pills available OTC, at a highly reduced price, an action which I believe would immediately reduce the number of abortions by 50% or more.

Gun Violence:  Do you support or oppose legislation that would enable family members to seek removal of firearms when an individual shows imminent signs of causing extreme harm to self or others?  Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

I would consider legislation to make it possible to remove guns from the possession of a family member who is properly diagnosed as presenting a clear and present threat to others. I would, however, be very wary of such a law being used improperly, and would want strong safeguards to prevent its abuse. The right to self defense is one of the most fundamental of all human rights, and must not be abridged casually.

DIGNITY OF LIFE ISSUES:

Do you support or oppose Earned Income Tax Credit legislation in Utah? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

Taxation is the separation of individuals from their rightfully gained property under a coercive threat of violence – surrender your property or be punished. A good legislator has a responsibility to limit taxes to no more than is absolutely necessary. I will consider any legislation that will reduce everyone’s tax liability, but in this case I am not convinced that the EITC is the best or most equitable way to accomplish that. Raising the personal exemption, to at least meet the poverty line, seems like a more even approach.

Do you support or oppose legislative efforts to expand access to and inventory of affordable housing across Utah? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

I support removing barriers that continue to limit the housing available, and also the housing options available. I do not support taxpayer funded solutions, which always end up being just conduits of tax money to favored developers and are always far behind the demand curve, solving little or nothing. The system needs to be repaired, not bandaged.

Do you support or oppose paid family leave for family members caring for a new or adopted child, or elderly or disabled family member? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

I do not support further regulatory controls on business: these always result in the loss of jobs. I do support expanding our economic opportunities and creating a more inviting business climate in which businesses will be forced to compete for labor, which will result in their offering vacation, family leave, and many other job benefits in order to attract their desired employees. Labor scarcity is always the best driver of wages and benefits.

CARE OF CREATION ISSUES:

Do you support or oppose legislative efforts to encourage renewable energy development? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

I support legislation that would remove taxpayer support for traditional energy sources. No new taxpayer supported refineries and pipelines, no tax that gets given to energy producers to encourage them to expand our reliance on fossil fuels. The way to level the energy playing field is to remove supports for fossil fuels, not by adding more taxpayer burdens for unproven technologies.

Do you support or oppose legislative efforts to improve Utah’s air and water quality through reasonable business regulation? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

The release of pollutants into our air and water can be identified as an act of aggression, because it contaminates other people’s property, and as such the government has a role to play in its mitigation. The question, of course, is what is ‘reasonable’. Most government regulation, unfortunately, doesn’t prevent pollution, but rather enshrines it: “If you release less than x%, then your actions are legal.” I want to remove these existing protections for corporate polluters.

Do you support or oppose preservation of Utah’s public lands for conservation? Please provide a yes or no answer. You may also explain your answer if you would like, including specific proposals you might consider.

I believe firmly that our open lands are Utah’s great treasure. I would seek to defund the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s tourism efforts, which, while well-intentioned, have resulted in our parks being overrun and overwhelmed, and our state resources taxed to their limit. I would seek new vision and possible expansion for our state park system, which should contribute to the state’s economy, not be a taxpayer burden. And, while I personally value access to our lands, I cannot presume that government ownership of land is necessarily the best form of preservation. I point to the incredible Nine Mile Canyon, where the land, the air, and the incomparable historical resources have suffered far more in the few years of public ownership than they did in over a hundred years of private ownership.