Reason for Seeking Public Office:
I'm running to represent District 64 because I believe that we need a representative with experience, leadership, and integrity. I have always had an interest and passion for public service.
After graduating from BYU, we moved our small family to the east coast for graduate school. I got to know many economists whose careers had enabled them to influence public policy because they had earned the respect of policy makers. That's the direction I wanted to go with my career in economics.
After getting my Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1995, I came back to Provo and taught undergraduate students at BYU for eight years. I taught courses in public finance and health care economics which further cemented my desire to influence public policy for the good of the community.
In 2003 an opportunity came along to leave the academic world and take a position as a research consultant in state government that would allow me to be centrally involved in influencing public policy. From 2005 through 2013, I was asked to be a policy adviser to the Governor's Office and eventually to lead a team to develop a state-based version of health system reform for the State of Utah. For those eight years, I worked closely with two governors, two lieutenant governors, and dozens of state legislators in developing good public policy for the State of Utah. Working in this environment on such a critical issue gave me great experience in the legislative process and further strengthened my appreciation for the value of public service.
Several things have come together in the past year to make this the right time for me to run:
With our two oldest children getting married and moving out in the Fall of 2012 and our youngest leaving to serve an LDS mission, in May 2013, my wife and I suddenly found ourselves as empty nest-ers. Of course, we are still busy with church and community service, but we are much less concerned about the day-to-day raising of our children, which was always our first priority.
For eight years, I was a policy adviser to the Governor's Office on health issues. With that position, there would have been too many conflicts of interest between my job and being a state legislator. In September 2013 I took a position in the Department of Health that does not have those conflicts of interest.
In December 2012, there was a change in the federal law removing restrictions on most state employees running for partisan office. (This was the law that created problems for state senator Jon Greiner, whose experience was critical in getting the federal law changed.)
Representative Lockhart has served District 64 very well for the past 16 years. With her indication that she will not be running again in 2014, this creates an opening and opportunity that does not come along very often. I believe I am uniquely qualified to step into those large shoes to represent the voters of our district.
While I don't necessarily have the corporate connections to deep-pocket funding or the support of the special interest lobby, what I do bring to the table is the experience of having worked closely with the policy making process for the past eight years, a substantial amount of leadership skills developed both at work and through my community and church volunteer work, and the integrity to stay true to my core principles of good government.