ST. GEORGE — Could a Democrat really procure the seat for the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd Congressional District in Utah? State Sen. Luz Robles, representing Utah’s 1st District, came to St. George Tuesday for a meet and greet at the Washington County Democratic Party Office to show why she thinks this is a real possibility.
Chris Stewart has been the 2nd District representative since January. Robles, in an interview with St. George News, said she realized that she is part of the minority party in Utah, but has plans to change the local voting culture as part of her campaign.
Utah is 47th in the nation in voting participation, Robles said. This fact has motivated her team to unleash a campaign to build infrastructure that will educate folks on how critical it is to vote. She said she hopes this will bring out more voters to change the outcome of the 2014 election; that election will determine Utah’s congressional representative for District 2 in the succeeding term which will begin in 2015.
“It’s doable, I’m counting on that,” Robles said of her prospects in the next election, “that’s what this campaign is about.”
Robles has completed five sessions as a Utah state senator and is currently in her sixth session as the senator of state senate District 1 – which covers West Salt Lake and parts of West Valley. Robles got her master’s degree in public administration at University of Utah and is associated with, among others, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and the National Women’s Law Center Leadership Co-hort.
As a Latino, a Democrat, and a woman, Robles seems to be the antithesis of her competitor, Chris Stewart.
“He’s part of the same old system of partisanship,” Robles said of Stewart. “If you’re not with him you’re against him.”
This extreme approach is really not what Utahns are about, she said. As a member of the minority party in Utah, Robles said she is used to working in a partisan effort and it has worked very well for her in Utah.
Robles also brought up her opposing views on Stewart’s environmental perspectives. Stewart is currently chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment and has clashed with President Barack Obama on many environmental issues in the past. Stewart has stated that Obama tries to appease a small group of radical environmentalists with some of his policies. Stewart has stated that projects like the Keystone pipeline – which would bring crude oil from tar sands in Canada to the Gulf Coast of the United States – are safe and environmentally sound. Recently Stewart also stated that the U.S. is blessed with an abundance of affordable and reliable energy.
Without naming particular policies, Robles said that Stewart has questioned studies that are evidence-based and that is too much for her. Robles said that the overall perspective on the environment is changing in the general population of Utah. Her approach, unlike Stewart’s she said, will have a much more robust conversation about the environment.
Ed. note – correction made: Stewart has not been in office for two years, his term started in January 2013. Representative offices run two-year terms.
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