Congressional Democratic candidates Jenny Wilson, Shireen Ghorbani make appeal to Southern Utah voters

Democratic candidates Shireen Ghorbani and Jenny Wilson during a meet-and-greet in St. George, Utah, July 22, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives made a stop in Southern Utah to appeal to voters and answer residents’ questions regarding their campaigns.

Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, who’s running against Mitt Romney for the Senate seat, joined Shireen Ghorbani, who’s running against Rep. Chris Stewart for the House seat in Utah’s 2nd district, for a meet-and-greet in St. George Sunday afternoon. Around 40 people in attendance were able to ask the candidates questions and listen to them address the priorities in their campaigns.

Jenny Wilson

Wilson is currently serving her second six-year term in the Salt Lake County Council and was the first woman on the council when she was elected in 2005. She’s also a board member of the Utah Association of Counties.

Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson speaks to supporters during a meet-and-greet in St. George, Utah, July 22, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

Wilson said the biggest difference between her and Romney is she’s a “lifelong Utahn.” She said she’s spent most of her career doing community and political service in Utah, while Romney is a relatively new resident.

Read more: Romney to St. George News: When Trump is divisive or racist, ‘I’ll stand up and speak out’

She described herself as very direct and not having a filter and said her priority lies in the families of the middle-class.

“I’m clear on what positions I support. He’s migrated quite a bit in his positions,” she said, referencing Romney.

Wilson addressed problems facing Utah voters and said the U.S. dollar isn’t getting residents what they need. She said:

Our wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, and we tend to get more and more of a burden put on us by the federal government. I fear that the next generation won’t be able to live the American dream because education, health care and home ownership are becoming less accessible than when I left college.

She also addressed Utah’s opioid crisis and how she has worked on policy and solutions to address the problem. One of the priorities of her campaign is working toward better, affordable health care and tackling substance abuse through increasing federal funding for treatment and life-saving drugs.

“The Affordable Care Act has flaws,” Wilson said. “We need to get back to bipartisan solutions and working across party lines to modify the Affordable Care Act.”

She said she would also fight to get “money out of politics and influence out of politics.”

In regards to Southern Utah, she said the substantial issues facing residents are water, growth and livable communities.

“St. George, at some point, was a retirement community,” she said. “It’s now much more. Making sure our resources are available to the community are key.”

Making sure wages in Southern Utah keep up with health care and access to housing is also important, she said.

For independent and republican voters, she said she hopes to offer a fresh voice that would serve the people of Utah. She has already committed to holding town halls in every county in the state the first year if she’s elected to the Senate.

Shireen Ghorbani

Shireen Ghorbani at a meet-and-greet in St. George, Utah, July 22, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

Ghorbani, who works full-time for the University of Utah, said she never envisioned a life in politics for herself. But she said she got frustrated that democrats don’t have a voice in Utah.

“The actions of this administration violate our values as Utahns,” Ghorbani said of the Trump administration. “We need somebody who’s going to be a check on corruption.”

The differences between her and Stewart, she said, is she’s “people-powered.” Her campaign is funded by over 2,200 donors.

Read more: Constituents grill Rep. Chris Stewart on gun control, Russian collusion at town hall

“Chris Stewart largely has a lot of corporate backing,” she said. “A really big difference is that I’m not accepting corporate PAC dollars. I’m accepting donations directly from people.”

Another difference, she said, is along with Wilson, she’s out with her team talking to thousands of voters and knocking on doors.

“Really getting out there and asking people what’s going on in their lives is what matters to them in Congress,” Ghorbani said. “How would they like to be represented?”

From going door-to-door and listening to people’s stories, she said the biggest issue Utah voters face is the “heartbreak and financial ruin” tied to health care. She said people who have health care are seeing their premiums go up, and they’re spending more on prescriptions.

“I talked to families who have children suffering from asthma who are very worried that the increased cost of inhalers just continues to go up.”

When talking to Southern Utah residents, she said the opioid crisis, housing prices and labor are some of the issues she’s heard about frequently. She said people who are working in service industry jobs in Southern Utah aren’t receiving “generous salaries.”

She spoke with a couple of business leaders from the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce who she said told her they’re struggling to find people to do labor and keep up with the demand in housing.

Democratic candidates Shireen Ghorbani and Jenny Wilson at a meet-and-greet in St. George, Utah, July 22, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

“Anything from framers to skilled construction workers, it’s a challenge here,” Ghorbani said.

Access and affordability is how she plans to address some of these issues. She said:

No. 1 is making sure that we start taking very seriously having Medicare and Medicaid negotiate drug prices at the federal level. This is something that Trump said he supported, specifically for Medicare, and he has not been able to get his Congress to support it.

When drug prices aren’t negotiated at the federal level, she said, every single taxpayer will pay more.

With Utah predominantly being a GOP state, both Ghorbani and Wilson said they are getting more votes by having person-to-person conversations.

“We’re saying, ‘Do you feel like your representative is doing work for you,'” Ghorbani said, “and what we hear over and over again is, ‘I don’t know who my representative is.’ And what I say to them is, ‘That’s his problem, not yours.'”

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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15 Comments

  • RadRabbit July 22, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Democrats caucus with other Democrats and their leadership Schumer and Pelosi once elected. I’ve seen the failure of Democrat policies in action living in California, she’s no different. Maybe she should be happy 40 people showed up probably the only votes she’ll get thankfully. But I’ll make sure to vote for Mitt just incase even though he wasn’t my first choice.

    • comments July 22, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      Utah’s republican politicians are not doing anything to keep the flood of illegal aliens from invading. This place will be like vegas or CA in no time. We’re already seeing the beginning stages of it. Once the illegals flood in and begin to multiply it’s pretty much game over.

      • Striker4 July 23, 2018 at 2:04 pm

        Aww what a shame the cry baby Prophet Bob got his pantyhose in a knot

      • RadRabbit July 23, 2018 at 2:07 pm

        True not sure why the GOP in this state is so soft on illegal immigrants. They should use the drivers licences our states given them to track them down and deport them back to wherever they came from honestly, if they don’t want to have to worry about getting deported come here the right way from the start.

  • comments July 22, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    I’ve met Ghorbani and I believe she’d be a hell of a lot better than the parasite lifelong politician we’ve got in there now, and likely better than Mittens. I bet the other woman would be a lot better option than the corporate whore that is chris stewart, also. If they’re on the ballot they’ll both get my vote since I’m “a librul”. What’s a good way to say this… superman has his kryptonite, right? Well the kryptonite to the dem party is the issue of the gay agenda, and the issue of coddling and giving amnesty to the illegals, and basically the whole multi-cult diversity agenda which you could wrap both these issues into. If they want conservative or semi-conservative votes they’ve got to toss the gays AND the illegals RIGHT THE HELL OUT THE WINDOW (figuratively. LOL!! 😉 ) — or it flat-out aint gonna happen for them. And this is a national issue not unique to only utah. Dems better wake up and get in touch with reality.

    • comments July 22, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      oh, besides the gay agenda, the illegal aliens, and the multi-cult stuff, there is the issue of gun control. Dems need to leave that alone if they want votes in this state. Or even go against their party’s agenda and be pro gun rights. They bring in a lot of this ultra-leftist stuff and it just becomes a deal killer. They need to leave the leftist garbage out and focus on what matters to people. The illegals need to go home, the gays are a teeny tiny minority that get wayyyyyyy too much play within the party, when it comes down to it no one but these hollywood types of filth actually likes this multi-cult/diversity BS, and lastly they need to respect the right for folks to have guns. I guess nutters/loons might ask: why am I even still “a librul”…

  • John July 22, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    Democrats and reality are mutually exclusive…just sayin’

  • Not_So_Much July 23, 2018 at 7:25 am

    It’s time to look at 3rd parties.

  • Steve July 23, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Republicans basically suck the life out of everything that doesn’t put money in their pocket. Dems actually do try to help people and the environment! Greed and ignorance are the twin pillars of Utah family values.

    • Striker4 July 23, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      Oh oh you’re going to hurt comments feelings…dont worry about it nobody cares

      • comments July 23, 2018 at 6:43 pm

        Dump, Sweetheart, you’re losing the plot again. I completely agree with Steve. 😉

    • RadRabbit July 23, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      LOL fallow California politics for a bit you’ll see otherwise. State is completely run by dems and only help those than line their pockets like unions for example.

    • RadRabbit July 23, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Besides Dems also being horribly corrupt and won’t allow any type of voter ID either on state levels or nationally due to illegal immigrants and fellons voting for them.

      • John July 24, 2018 at 12:35 am

        Democrats used to be a political party, now they are a mental health crisis!

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