Local Legislator, Logan Wilde went toe to toe with his democratic opponent, Chris Neville at Morgan High School on October 10th. The debate which discussed multiple hot topic issues was calm, respectful, and straight forward. Some would say a nice change of pace to the tumultuous political climate.
The Morgan High School debate team moderated by asking numerous questions on different amendments and propositions that voters will see on the November 6th ballot. Beginning with the background on the two candidates the audience learned Wilde has been the elected official for district 53 for the last 2 years and has been called a “rural voice for our district.” Chris Neville has worked as an IT professional for the last 15 years, and resides in Summit County.
One of the first questions asked was in regard to affordable housing. Neville said, “Affordable housing is a pretty big issue for Utah. It’s affecting us a lot now, but it will more and more in the future.” Neville continued saying he plans to help developers in areas take risks and invest in creating more moderate income housing for regular families who need housing. Wilde responded by saying, “Modern housing is one of the greatest hurdles the state must overcome. It’s not the exuberant homes or the lower income it’s the middle block that we need to work on. We need to develop a plan on how developers can meet that. As a state we need to look at policy on how we can incentivize people to build affordable housing. We need teachers, policeman to be able to afford to live in our communities.”
Regarding Proposition 1, a tax credit for education, the two candidates had similar ideas, but differed on how the money should be handled if and when allocated.
Neville said, “There’s a lot of money for education in our state, but we’re also a younger state. Most people are worried their money isn’t going to spent on their students and teachers. Right now 25% will go to the teachers. Overall I do support Proposition 1, but people deserve transparency to know their funds are going where they want to them to go. My background is in financial reporting and tracking and I hope to bring that to the State. We can help schools know where to put the money.”
Wilde said about allocating funds, “The local school districts determine where the money goes. Legislators can help fund programs, but salaries, staff and other things are up to the local school boards. I always opt to send the money to the local level and allow each district determine their needs.”
Wilde mentioned the upcoming special session regarding Proposition 2, medical marijuana. “We want to make sure a pharmacist is there to help regulate. I really applaud those who have helped negotiate this more clear path with medical marijuana.” Neville felt differently. “I was both discouraged and encouraged about the compromise being formed behind closed doors. I am for compassionate government, and support Proposition 2. 20% of the current legislature has resigned from their seats so the discussion out of the public was strange. I’m glad there’s a compromise, but am worried if we don’t show support for Prop 2 the special session won’t happen and these people who could use this medicine will be left behind.” Neville suggested using his IT background to help create a medical cannabis database to help track those who are allowed to have medical marijuana and those who are not. Wilde spoke of the risks and increase in costs of the “windfall” from the recreational use of marijuana including jail cost, medical cost, but also agreed with Neville that there won’t be a huge windfall right at the start.
Though throughout the debate both candidates held different stances, they oftentimes agreed on issues relating to the state of Utah. Both candidates hold a strong belief they can help the state grow responsibly, compassionately, and safely. Though representing different parties, Neville and Wilde share a common love for Utah and the people in its borders and hope to encourage those able to vote this mid-term election. Wilde made the comment, “Voting strengthens our democracy.” Now, the outcome is in the hands of the voters.