‘Facts and data, not partisan politics’: An SUU News exclusive interview with Congress candidate Nick Mitchell

The second congressional district of Utah is the largest in the state, spanning from Salt Lake City down to the south of St. George. Congressional candidate Nick Mitchell hopes to represent that district after the upcoming election in November.

Mitchell is a member of the Democratic Party and was nominated to be the candidate for the second congressional district’s House seat during the Democratic convention in April 2022. He is running against the incumbent House member Chris Stewart of the Republican Party. 

Mitchell is a chemical engineering scientist who has spent the last year creating a tattoo ink for dark skin that produces a brighter colored tattoo. However, if he were to be elected, Mitchell intends to help solve the most critical problems in the state of Utah.

In an interview with Mitchell, he described his overall experience of representing this district, as well as what he valued the most. 

Q: What difficulties have you faced representing a district of this size?

A: The hardest part is just getting there and meeting everybody because that’s my favorite part. Just getting around and meeting people and hearing the issues that they’re facing, and seeing what we do to work together to try to solve these issues. The issues are just so vast that it’s hard sometimes to be able to be an expert on everything, which I like to be so I can truly understand the issues at heart. That way, I can come up with a solution. Being a scientist, having the most amount of data you can possibly get, you can make the most accurate solution. So that’s what’s hardest, just learning everything. From Salt Lake’s issues, because I go all the way up to Davis County, and so I’ve known Davis’ issues, and down here in southern Utah, and then southeastern Utah, rural Utah, they’re all different. It’s learning the issues and trying to come up with a solution.

Q: Speaking of you being a scientist, would you say that your perspective as a scientist is different from that of an average politician?

A: I would say it does because, as a scientist, you’re focused on making actual solutions to fix the problems at hand instead of “kicking the can down the road,” and saying “oh I’m up for–,” and this ties into me believing in term limits, “kicking the can down the road because I’m vying for reelection.” It’s kind of a touchy subject. Data doesn’t lie, facts don’t lie, and so that’s what I use to base my solutions on: facts and data, and not partisan politics.

Q: As of right now, what are your top three legislative priorities?

A: It kind of depends because the first three bills that I want to introduce involve term limits, campaign finance and trading stocks. The bills will be about a page long so that everyone can read them, instead of these 90-page bills. What I want to focus on is making healthcare more affordable for all, but that’s going to take a lot of work across the aisle to make sure that happens. Workers’ rights are huge for me, such as making it easier to form unions, making it so that people have a liveable wage, and are just treated well by companies. Then lastly is the environment, because, right now, whether it’s Salt Lake or southern Utah, you know about the water issue, as we’re facing that up in Salt Lake, as well. We can’t just keep kicking the can down the road and say, “we have water for the next 20 years, we’ll be fine.” But then 20 years sneak up, and where are we going to be? Even now, people like my opponent Chris Stewart, who was a climate change denier for a very long time, is now even addressing the issue of “we need to do something.” It’s something that should have been taken care of a long time ago. But now, we’re barely starting the process of being “okay, now we’ve got to do something.” I’m not sure if there’s an actual solution to solving the problem, because we may be too far gone, which would be scary because that would make Utah unlivable, as well as make most of the southwest unlivable. So that’s one of the things that I’m working on right now is trying to figure out a solution for the water crisis that we’re facing and to try and come up with an actual plan so we’ll have water for the future.

Q: Speaking of the water crisis, what are your thoughts on the new bill that would create a pipeline from the Pacific to the Salt Lake area that was released last week?

A: I’m going to try and say this nicely, but it’s a dumb idea. It’s not going to work. From a budgetary standpoint, it will be way too expensive and take way too long to get done. Then, scientifically, we would have to think about the microbes and the salinity of the Salt Lake when compared to the Pacific Ocean. There are just so many issues that aren’t being thought of, except for “oh, if we build this pipeline from the Salt Lake to the Pacific Ocean, we’ll be fine,” but it will cross at least three states to make it happen. So it would take a decade to get it done. So it wouldn’t be feasible because, by that time, the arsenic in the Salt Lake would probably already be in the air. It wouldn’t work; it’s not a feasible solution. 

Q: Finally, what advice would you give to college students on the fence about becoming politically active, or just simply voting, during the upcoming election?

A: Vote. A lot of things are on the line right now, so many things from healthcare, women’s rights to choose and workers’ rights. Just get politically active now. That’s something that I wish I would have done when I was younger, is to be more politically involved. I mean, I always knew I wanted to get into politics, it was always on my mind, but I just kind of pushed it off. I said, “I’ll do it later, I’ll do it later.” I wish I would have said “I’ll do it now” and done whatever I could, at least vote. The first time I voted, I was 24. I wish I would have started voting at 18. That’s my fault, but it’s very important to hear the voices of the young because the future belongs to you guys, and your voices need to be heard. So, whatever political affiliation you may have, get out, vote, show up, learn the issues and vote according to your conscience.

The election that Mitchell is participating in will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Those wishing to register to vote can do so online by Friday, Oct. 28 to be eligible to vote in this election. Those who wish to register in-person can do so on Election Day at any vote center or at an early voting location.

Story and Photo by: Luke McKenzie