Why did you decide to run for public office?
I have always been interested and involved in politics, and I could see the diminishing influence of rural Utah in the State Legislature and believed that I could make a difference. I also disagreed with the direction that the Legislature was taking regarding public education.
What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.?
Retired University Administrator
What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse?
I have been in the Legislature for 14 years, and have also been involved in policy development. I currently work as a volunteer in the jails and juvenile detention facilities in eastern Utah, with a population who, by and large, struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?
I support the creation of a medical cannabis program that is limited, tightly controlled, and research based.
What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?
I represent an area of the state where overdose and suicide are significantly higher than the state average. I participate in several community organizations created to address the problems of drug abuse including overdose.
Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.
I agree and have been involved in the efforts of the justice reinvestment efforts that recognize that traditional criminal justice efforts, regarding drug use, have largely failed. Peer-reviewed scientific research will provide us with data which will lead to policies that have a chance to be successful.
Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.
I am not familiar with the harm reduction and intervention philosophy, but it sounds logical.
What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.
As I mentioned earlier, I support the efforts of the JRI, which does not decriminalize drug possession, but does reduce penalties and seeks to provide more treatment for people who struggle with addiction.
Are you interested in sponsoring drug policy reform legislation if you were elected? What would be some specific areas of focus or interest for you?
Sponsoring legislation is not my priority, but helping to improve legislation is a priority.
I am working on expanding my knowledge and experience in this area and with continue to make efforts to understand the societal impacts that reform, based on scientific data, will have on the people of our state.