Carol Lear, State School Board District 7

Why did you decide to run for public office?

I have 40+ years of public education experience – in many different positions. I want to use that experience to benefit my community and my state.

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

I have been a public school teacher (5 years), a lawyer who represents public education entities and parties (35+ years), a college professor whose taught education law to teachers training to be school administrators (20 years), and I was a parent and parent volunteer for 3 public school students. I have a Level 3 Utah educator license, an education administrative license, and a law degree. I worked most of my career in the education public sector, and now have a private law practice with many kinds of public education clients.

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

For almost 30 years while I worked at the Utah State Office of Education, I worked with school districts and charter schools to help administrators understand and implement required information about Utah's laws about drugs and substance abuse. My greatest familiarity is with the laws that apply to public schools and students. I helped school districts and charter schools draft local policies regarding consequences for students and employees for drug/substance abuse law and policy violations.

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

I remain undecided. I do not have enough medical expertise to have a firm opinion about whether cannabis (marijuana) is a "gateway drug" and so should be prohibited, whether it is addicting, or whether it is less harmful and dangerous than other drugs, and could do more good than harm – with appropriate controls.

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

I have no personal experience, I flinch when I take aspirin. I would like to hear what substance-abuse professionals, psychologists and medical personnel suggest.

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

I agree. That also reflects my study of the issue.

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

I have no experience with this.

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

See the earlier question/answer. I need more information and data – and am open to discussion.

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?

This is probably not a public education issue, except to encourage accurate information in the public school arena.

Anything else?

My background and expertise is public school law. If elected, I can perhaps be helpful to encourage discussion in schools that is data-driven and thorough, so all opinions are thoughtfully considered, not only traditional philosophies and beliefs.