Mike Weinholtz is the Democratic candidate in the 2016 election for Governor of Utah.
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Hi Reddit, I’m Mike Weinholtz, the democratic candidate for Governor of Utah! I’m running to get back to the real Utah values of taking care of one another and building a better future for our families. It’s time to put an end to pay-to-play special-interest politics and a state leadership that’s too focused on partisan theatrics to listen to the voices of its own people, which is why I’ve rejected all corporate money to my campaign. I’m passionately committed to improving our schools, cleaning up our air and water, making sure all Utah families have adequate healthcare and being a better steward of our public lands.
For those who aren’t familiar with me, here are some issues that I’m passionate about:
I’m happy to answer questions from Utahns and non-Utahns alike from 6-7 PM MST.
Every year the inversion seems to be getting worse. In my business I have met a number of people that turned down job offers here in Utah because of the health risks to their family due to the inversion.
As Governor, what is your plan to combat the air pollution crisis this state faces?
Our air quality and specifically the problems that arise during the winter inversion season are a real concern that gives rise to serious health problems. We need to focus on a combination of renewable energy and localized regulations that better protect our citizens. I would also advocate for free public transportation using UTA from December through March. Check out my platform on air quality here: http://www.mikeforutah.com/airquality/
How would you plan on handling the homeless issue downtown and down state Street? Also crimes regarding drug users in those areas?
Perhaps one of the biggest things I think we can do to improve this situation by passing Medicaid expansion - a medical condition shouldn't mean financial ruin.
I would also work with state, county, and local governments to address on the ground issues related to crime.
Finally, I want to make sure that those with addiction and mental health problems have access to the resources they need to get clean and re-enter society.
I am signing off! Thanks for all your thoughtful questions!
Don't forget to vote! You can mail in your ballot, it must be postmarked by Nov 7th or you can vote in person early or on Election Day!
Huh, a politician with well thought out plans and policies? I haven't seen that in a while.
Have you considered running for President?
Thank you! We would appreciate your support on November 8th!
Many of your proposed policies would require dramatic increases in spending. What approach would your administration take to raising the funds for these programs?
There have been many who have criticized many regulations that the Utah DABC has in placed and many say that it decreases Utah's appeal to high-end tourism. What is your stance on the DABC? What changes, if any would you make?
What measures would your administration take to make sure that corruption of public officials like what we've seen with Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow don't happen again?
The LDS church is a powerful force in Utah politics and stands against at least your stance on legalizing medical marijuana as well as other issues. How would you bridge the gap and propose situations that would be supported by all parties?
What measures would you take to improve Utah's air quality?
What measures would your administration to take to manage Utah's continued growth? With limited space and limited water; will public transit, high density housing, and walkable cities by a priority for your administration?
1) My biggest proposal is to increase education funding, I propose doing that that through a moderate tax increase of .0875% for all Utahns with an additional 1% for those earning $250K+. The rest can be achieved through reallocation of funds and ending wasteful government spending. This would still be lower than the pre-flat tax rate of 1996.
2) As governor, I would first like to see the DABC actually have those who consume alcohol sit on the board. I also want to make sure that the DABC better pays its on-the-ground employees, and make sure that supply better meets demand - in short I would like it to better mirror the free market.
3) We need to have real ethics reform on the hill in the form of campaign contribution limits, real ethics laws that have teeth, and greater transparency in our government records.
4) I believe in putting people before politics, and that is why I stand with the 60+% of Utahns who support the policy. I would work with the Church as a stakeholder but make it clear that this is a policy that all Utahns support, LDS and non-LDS alike.
5) It is time to get serious about air pollution, this means allowing the DEQ to actually be able to enact laws that go beyond EPA minimums so that Utah can fix the problems with Utah solutions. I also want to make sure that DEQ actually has the resources necessary to enforce these laws. I also support stronger pollution controls on industry and transportation.
6) We must have smart growth, not just more growth. I want to make sure that we are focusing on making communities more mass transit, bicycle, and walker friendly. The old model of "building more roads" is both expensive and short sited.
Hello Mike! If elected as governor, what steps would you take to bring drug reform (in regards to pharmaceuticals) and marijuana legalization in Utah?
The opioid crisis is a big problem in Utah and I believe medical cannabis is a part of the solution. You can read my full policy proposal here: http://www.mikeforutah.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Medical-Cannabis-and-Opioid-Addiction-Policy.pdf
Why did you decide to run for governor in the first place?
I decided to run for governor because I was tired of the one-party, pay-to-play politics in Utah. In my business experience as CEO of CHG Healthcare, I put people first, even before company profits. As governor, I will put people before politics. I am running for governor to give people a voice and represent ALL Utahns. Not all Utahns can afford to write a big check to Gov "Available Jones"
If individual counties cannot raise the money to offset the cost of free transportation on red air days, will the state step in to offset the cost? will UTA fares be expected to rise? or are those counties just out of luck?
With the mast majority of Utahns affected by red air days, and with UTA serving multiple counties, I do feel that the state can play a role in helping to ensure that the air remains as clean as possible. I would support assisting UTA as necessary.
Hi Mike, Utahn here. You say our economy isn't working for all people, yet we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and are consistently ranked as one of the best places to run a business (as you know). We have a highly educated population (many of whom are bi-lingual) low taxes and affordable housing. Given that we are one of the top economies in the US, why would you want government to interfere in our booming economy? Do you believe that will have a net positive effect on all Utahns? Thanks EDIT: what specific policies would you put in place?
We have over 250,000 adult Utahns who have minimum wage jobs. Many of those Utahns are educated and have to work 2-3 jobs with no benefits to feed their families. So although Utah has a lot of jobs, its is about the quality of those jobs. I would like to create high quality careers, with benefits. I know how to attract great businesses to Utah because I built one. You can read more about my jobs and economy policy here: http://www.mikeforutah.com/otherissues/
"What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job layoffs?"
We need to move towards next generation energy sources like wind and solar, and doing so will create new jobs.
What is your opinion on HRC and how she's running her campaign?
Right now I'm focused on my personal campaign, and to be quite honest, local campaigns have much larger impacts on Utahns than presidential campaigns.
The War on Drugs is destroying lives in Utah. While many talk about its failure, few talk about actually working to end it.
What is your plan regarding the War on Drugs in Utah, a state with a massive opiate epidemic?
The opiate epidemic is real and we need to do something about it as soon as possible. I support medical cannabis and just released a PSA regarding the issue that you can check out here: http://www.mikeforutah.com/news-and-media/video-opioid-abuse-and-medical-cannabis-in-utah/ and have a comprehensive policy proposal available here: http://www.mikeforutah.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Medical-Cannabis-and-Opioid-Addiction-Policy.pdf
As Governor, do you plan on having a racially diverse cabinet?
Yes, having a racially diverse cabinet is very important to me. I know from my 30 year business career, that having diversity of opinions leads to more robust discussions and better outcomes. I am always seeking input from diverse communities, my campaign even has a diversity team that is working hard every day to reach out to ALL communities.
What measures will you be taking to improve Utah's air quality if you are elected?
I have lots of plans to improve the air quality, you can all about read about it here: http://www.mikeforutah.com/airquality/
How much public land is in Utah, and what are some of the competing plans for that land?
There are almost 41 million acres of public land in Utah. The lands are currently managed by the federal government, but Governor Herbert signed a bill that would transfer those lands into the hands of the state. He has claimed that he would like to privatize the lands, so these lands that we cherish would no longer be available to use for the public. Additionally, the federal government spends 300-400 million dollars a year managing Utah public lands, and we as a state definitely don't have the funding to manage them. I would much rather keep them as is--truly public, federally managed, and safe for our families to visit. Check out our video here! https://www.facebook.com/MikeForUtah/?fref=ts
What is your favorite band/artist?
Thanks for doing this! I hope you get elected!
I gotta say, my favorite band is The Rolling Stones!
What are your thoughts on retail stores selling and distributing alcohol ie wine, vodka, rum. Everybody I know that drinks think it is rediculous to have to go to a liquor store for such simple drinks when a walmart, 7-11, or other retailer should be able to sell them.
What are your thoughts on legalizing gambling?
Thanks for running for governor.
Edit: Idaho gets significant revenue from utah during for their scratch tickets, especially during the mega millions.
With regard to liquor sales, I would like to examine the practicality of many of the laws of the the DABC as well as the possibility of free market liquor sales.
Regarding gambling, while it has been a source of revenue for other states, I don't believe that a majority of Utahns would support the idea.
Do u have time to sit back and just look at the view
What is your favourite meal
Pretty busy right now and our poor air quality negatively impacts the view. During campaign season, it is a necessity that pizza is always available.
Our voting system makes it nigh impossible to elect third party candidates. It makes it almost pointless to even try running if you don't have a D or R next to your name. It also limits the options we have as voters.
Many of us feel that ending the "first past the post" voting system would lead to elections that are far more fair and representative of the populace.
What is your stance? Would you support enacting alternative voting systems?
As Governor, I would look into reopening the "Governor's Commission on Strengthening Utah's Democracy," which made some excellent recommendations that would lead to more fair and competitive elections in Utah (there's some good info on that here and here). I would also veto gerrymandered boundary plans that create unfair advantages in certain districts.
What's your take on legalizing recreational and medicinal cannabis? Don't you believe Colorado has been quite successful in generating tax revenue from cannabis and applying it towards other services, such as education and drug rehabilitation?
Edit: Just read you somewhat answered this elsewhere on this post, but it's mostly about medical cannabis and not full on legalization for the law-abiding citizens of Utah. I feel that legalization - even as a non-smoker, just a proponent and advocate - has a lot to do with liberty and freedom, or the lack thereof with it being illegal.
I am a strong supporter of legalizing medicinal cannabis. In addition to medical cannabis, there are many things we can do to help end the opioid crisis like pain management programs, and providing first responders with naloxone. But I think that recreational is a bridge too far for Utahns. Check out this PSA that my campaign made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtMrCo5JXJc
And you can read my full policy proposal here: http://www.mikeforutah.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Medical-Cannabis-and-Opioid-Addiction-Policy.pdf
Hey Mike! My band played for one of your earlier rallies this year. Non political question, and it's mostly a waste of time, but do you like banjos?
Yes. See Michael Murphy's "Carolina in the Pines"
Utah resident here. I'm wondering about your stance on air pollution, specifically, what additional steps would you be able to reasonably take beyond what the DAQ has already proposed? Many changes are in the pipeline, and all the low hanging fruit is now gone. What specific policy of high hanging fruit would you tackle that the DAQ isn't tackling?
A side question with that, about five years back before the anti-fireplace trend hit hard, we upgraded our normal fireplace to an EPA stove (they're about 6 times cleaner than normal fireplaces). We spent thousands of dollars to remodel, and we thought we were doing the right thing. A couple years later Herbert proposed banning all fireplaces all winter, EPA or not. Do you agree with the approach to ban all wood stoves all winter? Or only during inversions? Or would you support something like what Puget Sound Air Agency does supporting innovation to drastically reduce wood pollution further?
First - please take a look at my platform on air quality: http://www.mikeforutah.com/airquality/
Regarding wood burning stoves - I feel that this is a good example of Utah solutions to Utah problems. In more rural areas, wood burning fireplaces are a necessity, however, Salt Lake County's solution to ban on bad air days and in the case of non-necessity works for that community.
Mike, will you advocate the removal of privately owned/managed jails and prisons in utah?
Yes, and I would also focus on ending the school-to-prison pipeline.
Thank you sir,
If I may, Will that include reformation for non violent crimes?
Yes. We've seen some reforms already, and I'd like to keep the ball rolling.
What will you do about alfalfa taking the water away from the great salt lake?
I have a full water policy proposal that addresses the Bear River project and the levels of the Great Salt Lake here: http://www.mikeforutah.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Mike-for-Utah-WATER.pdf