ST. GEORGE – Concerned about the state government’s apparent disregard for the environment and seeking equality in pay between the sexes, Shirley Nelson is running for Utah House District 62 on the Democratic ticket.
“I think I bring a fresh look at the candidacy,” Nelson said. “I feel I am the best candidate and will best serve House 62.”
House District 62 covers Washington City and a portion of eastern St. George, which is currently represented by Republican incumbent Jon Stanard.
“I am running for office because I am worried about the future of Southern Utah,” Nelson said in a statement prepared for a debate held in September. “Thankfully, two-thirds of the state are under federal control and must remain under federal control at any cost.”
Nelson said the Legislature promotes economic development at any cost to the environment. It is a factor the states fails to give consideration, she said.
Air quality is another area Nelson said the state hasn’t done well in. She talked about how the air in the Salt Lake Valley has become infamous throughout the country. To correct this, she said, the state must pass control air emission laws in relation to large industries, such as coal-fire plants and industrial refineries.
“Address, study, measure and come up with a plan (to fight air pollution) and enforce that plan,” Nelson said.
On economic development, particularly in Southern Utah, Nelson said tourism and the potential for wind and solar power in the area are big business. Washington County is already a tourist destination but could become even more so in the future, she said. She also pointed at bringing companies in based on technological development.
As she is against air pollution, Nelson is also against water waste.
“There’s no conservation effort in effect at this time in Washington County,” she said. “We need a conservation program with some teeth to it.”
She said Washington County uses the most water in the nation yet pays the least for it. That is something she wants to see change, and she said she may consider legislation aimed at changing how water is paid for in Washington County if elected.
Relating to issues of water and Washington County, Nelson also said she is against the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline.
“The proposal that I’ve seen is not viable and is not feasible,” she said.
Another of the main issues Nelson is addressing is inequality in pay between men and women in the state. Woman make 70 cents for every dollar a man makes, she said. Along with advocating equal pay, she also supports raising the minimum wage.
“If you want the economy to improve, you raise the minimum wage,” she said.
Her target is a minimum wage increase from $7.75 to $10.10 in the state. Raising the minimum wage would help bring families out of poverty who may otherwise be dependent on food stamps and other taxpayer-funded social services, she said.
“It should eliminate the need for all those families to be on food stamps,” Nelson said. “When the poor do well, we all do well.”
On matters of equality related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Nelson said she would support Sen. Steve Urquhart’s nondiscrimination bill, which would add protections for LGBT individuals related to housing and employment.
For more information regarding Nelson and her stance on issues, visit her website.
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- Democratic candidates seek to bring different perspective to Utah House, County Commission
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