ST. GEORGE – State Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, visited with a small group of supporters Monday to share the message of her bid to unseat Republican Rep. Chris Stewart as Utah’s 2nd U.S. Congressional District representative.
Robles, who has served in the state senate since 2009, said she feels there’s a disconnect between the paths Utah’s congressional delegation is taking in Washington, D.C., and the day-to-day concerns of working-class Utahns.
“Most Utahns want to address what is critical in daily life,” Robles said.
Sending her to Washington, D.C. would ensure a Democratic voice among Utah’s delegation, she said. As well, Robles said she believes she will able able to add more diversity of thought to the delegation.
Utah’s only Democratic Congressman, Rep. Jim Matheson, of Utah’s 4th U.S. Congressional District, announced last year he would not be running for re-election in 2014.
Some of the prime issues for Robles as she campaigns include: health care, education, environment/air quality, and immigration.
Robles said she would love to have a debate with Stewart over the Affordable Healthcare Act. The Republican Party, through one means or another, has repeatedly tried to dismantle the ACA since since it was voted into law and later upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court. Stewart has been among those Republicans wanting to gut the ACA, Robles said.
In Utah and some other states, parts of the ACA are held up because the state legislatures haven’t defined what “basic cover” is, Robles said. This has held up implementation of the ACA from covering conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, she said.
This was something that seemed odd to her, she said, as Utah has the highest level of children born with autism in the country.
Robles herself is member of the state Senate’s Heath and Human Services Committee. She is also a member of various health care-related boards like the Utah Health Policy Board and Autism Council of Utah.
Immigration reform is another issue Robles supports. “I just think it’s a no brainer,” she said.
Utah has been at the forefront of immigration reform, Robles said. An example of that is the Utah Compact. The Compact has language that acknowledges the roles immigrants play in the state’s economy, and also denounces any policy that would separate immigrant families.
The majority of Utah’s congressional delegation has been against immigration reform, Robles said, though she did acknowledge past contributions toward reform by Sen. Orrin Hatch who cosponsored the Dream Act in 2001.
Immigration reform is another area of disconnect between the congressional delegates and Utah’s people, she said. How can Utah make moves toward reform while its congressmen push against it nationally?
Robles said she has been following Stewart’s call to disarm the so-called paramilitary SWAT teams employed by federal regulatory agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Education. The call for disarmament came in the wake of the April 12 Bundy-BLM showdown in Bunkerville, Nevada.
“I think it’s radical,” Robles said, “They’re just portions of bigger departments.”
Robles said she would like to have an honest discussion with Stewart about his underlying reasons for wanting to disarm the agencies.
As Robles moves forward with her campaign, she hopes to help get more voters involved at the grassroots level, and show them that their basic concerns will be represented, and not drowned out by political agendas.
“I’m interested in changing the face of voting in Utah,” she said. However, she also said she understands she is a Democrat running against a Republican in one of the country’s reddest states.
“We know what we’re going up against,” she said.
If people want to know more about what Robles is about, she said people can check her voting record and bills she sponsored for the Utah Senate.
Thus far Robles campaign has raised $122,000 since its last reporting.
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