Brooke Swallow-Fenton, Utah House District 60

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Why did you decide to run for public office?

I want to give voters a choice, and I believe we need to engage the nonaffiliated voters in my district. I was a volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and I found that many voters in my district didn't know their House Representative. I was disappointed in the incumbents voting record as well. The incumbent does not rate high with the leading concerns of voters; healthcare, air quality, and education. Many Utahns are fed up with the lawmakers who are not serving the needs of the people. 

What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.? 

I am a graduate of Utah Valley University in Sociology and minor in Peace and Justice Studies. I have trained in mediation and learned about conflict transformation from leading scholars in Northern Ireland. My work with the Title IX office at UVU included training for incoming freshmen and discussion groups about consent and sexual assault. I am certified in violence prevention which uses the power of peers and bystanders. 

What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse? 

I have seen first-hand what medical marijuana can do for chronic illness and pain. 

Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?

Yes. I believe that medical cannabis would relieve thousands of Utahns from chronic illness, symptoms, and pain. I think that legalizing would help fund education and other areas in need across the state. I also think that marijuana should be a controlled substance, just as alcohol is regulated by our state.

What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?

I think prevention and an open dialogue between parents, educators, and children would be the best approach. I think that the state should help with funding mental health care for those who suffer from addiction.

Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.

Yes!

Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.

Yes. The current system for effective drug treatment for addicts is expensive and inaccessible.

What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.

Cannabis should not be at the same level in a drug policy as heroin. We need to focus on other public health issues and serious crimes.

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?

Yes. I would sponsor in stages. The comprehensive medical cannabis program would be a good first step. I think we could easily pass prevention and reduction legislation after doing community outreach education about drug policy. The ultimate goal of these three types of legislation would ensure the success of decriminalization.

Anything else?