Southern Utah University hosted Senate Candidate Becky Edwards on Monday, Nov. 22 in the Michael O. Leavitt Center. Edwards answered questions from SUU students about her campaign. She served in the Utah House of Representatives from 2009 to 2018 and is challenging incumbent Senator Mike Lee.
Edwards grew up in Provo, Utah. She went to Brigham Young University where she earned her Masters in Social Work with a focus on marriage and family therapy. She currently lives in Davis County where she volunteered in her community and saw systemic issues.
“Through my involvement in the community, I noticed a gap between the communities I was working with and the actions of the legislature,” Edwards said. “I am committed to changing people’s lives across the state and that begins with a commitment to the legislative process by listening and responding to what the community wants.”
Edwards explained that the communities she worked with wanted change across the state with environmental initiatives, affordable health care options and more available housing. She believes she is the best candidate to get these initiatives up and running because she is an expert in social work.
“Politics is so divisive now-a-days,” Edwards said. “However, my experience in social work taught me how to work with people to address our shared challenges and get what the community wants done.”
Edwards wants to see more meaningful change in the Senate including more bipartisanship. Yet, she wants to unify the Republican party on its traditional values in fiscal responsibility and limited government while providing a campaign that people can align themselves with, including deeply conservative voters.
“I spoke with a young woman today who is nihilistic towards our political process,” Edwards recounted. “When I hear someone talk about the greatest political system on the planet in that sentiment it is very discouraging and shows [legislatures] need to exemplify civility by honoring other people’s perspectives.”
However, Utah is torn on how future representation will be chosen based on the new congressional map approved by the Republican-controlled Utah Legislature earlier this month. HB2004 gerrymanders four important counties in Utah to be mostly Republican. Some argue this is a ploy by the Republican party while others believe it helps represent rural Utah.
The biggest issue constituents have with HB2004 is that the congressional map approved by the bill does not take into account the maps drawn by the independent redistricting committee. The committee was created and elected by constituents in Utah to draw unbiased maps of congressional districts.
“People value their voice and the people spoke when they passed the provision that created the redistricting commission,” Edwards said. “The commission in turn did a good job in representing the wants of the people by reaching out to them and creating maps based on their wants and needs. The maps the legislature came up with do not reflect those maps and that is concerning.”
Edwards plans to continue traveling across Utah to meet with constituents who feel unheard and disenfranchised under the representation of Lee. Since her announcement to run, Edwards took the lead as the Republican challenger in polling. She believes she has a good chance at winning and believes Lee’s support is soft.
“I am looking forward to aligning with Utahans who feel unrepresented,” Edwards said. “The reality is: I know Utah will be better off with more inclusive representation through a leader who can actually get something done.”
Article by: Danielle Meuret firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos provided by Becky Edward’s press kit