Kudos to Cathy McKitric who wrote in the Standard Examiner recently regarding our race in House District 9. Here is her article:
OGDEN — While no debates or town halls are scheduled between House District 9’s Republican incumbent Jeremy Peterson and Democratic challenger Kathie Darby, both agree they offer voters in this diverse district a distinct choice.
Ogden resident Peterson, 39, seeks his fourth term representing the district that includes downtown Ogden’s core — which is high density and economically disadvantaged, north Roy which is largely suburban, and West Haven, an affluent area that still remains somewhat rural.
“So you’ve got a real medley of different neighborhoods and demographics,” Peterson said. As a self-employed Realtor and father of four, Peterson said he’s a big fan of the free market and private property rights. He also believes he has a rare opportunity to speak in behalf of Ogden’s pressing needs.
“Most of the districts in Utah that have disadvantaged communities are in Salt Lake County and are held by Democrats. They’re in the minority in the House, so oftentimes thart story goes untold,” Peterson said. “So I have a unique role to articulate their story.”
Darby, 63, retired from her job as a senior operations manager for the Internal Revenue Service in 2014. She has lived in all three areas of House District 9 during her lifetime — currently residing in West Haven, but having grown up in Ogden where she graduated from Ben Lomond High School, and then raised a family in Roy for two decades.
“I know the people and the issues” of House District 9, Darby said.
Of her opponent, Darby said: “He’s pretty hard-line conservative, I’m much more liberal and progressive. We both pretty much follow our party lines.”
Regarding Darby, Peterson said: “We offer two starkly different perspectives.”
On the race itself, Peterson said he’s noticed an overall lack of interest in politics: “There’s a lamentation going on out there.”.
On the issues
If handed a fourth term, Peterson said he will back legislation to address the problem of the state’s solar panel income tax credit draining dollars from Utah schools.
“That impact this year is about $25 million, or equivalent to about one percent of the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU),” Peterson said, noting that solar panels have dropped in price by about 75 percent. “The state has incentivized and it became very popular. We’re not going to eliminate the credit. We just want to wind it down over time.”
Peterson would also like to sharply reduce the size of the Northern Utah Correctional Center near West 24th Street in order to spread the burden of probationers and parolees over several communities.
“Ogden has 50 percent of all the halfway house beds in the state,” Peterson said, intent on shrinking NUCC’s 152-bed capacity to 30. Peterson noted the problem such a heavy concentration of ex-offenders in one area poses when they exit halfway houses and try to assimilate in the city.
“With recidivism rates being as high as they are, it creates a real struggle for the community to bear that burden,” Peterson said.
Regarding the solar panel tax credit, Darby believes Utah should retain that incentive, but move the subsidy to a different budgetary source such as the state’s general fund.
“I don’t think it’s worn out its usefulenss. We need to still encourage people to go green to keep our air cleaner,” Darby said. “I would have found another way to get the money. Maybe we need a whole fund set up for greening up Utah.”
Ogden’s NUCC represents a rare point of consensus for Peterson and Darby.
“I agree with him on that,” Darby said, noting that she and her husband Joe volunteer to conduct judicial reviews statewide. That role affords a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Weber County’s courts. “I see that place as an issue. NUCC needs to be smaller, and other communities need to share that burden.”
Darby said education would be her top priority, if elected. Utah consistently ranks last in the nation for per pupil funding.
“We have to spend more on our children’s education. I agree that money doesn’t solve everything, but it sure would help to be able to pay our teachers more,” Darby said.
Other issues Darby addresses on her blog include improving Utah’s air quality, reducing its opioid addiction and overdose rates, insuring gun safety and maintaining federal management of public lands.
Darby also favors legalizing medical cannabis.
“I think we have to give it a shot. There are people with all kinds of chronic pain, cancer and nervous system issues. It has many uses,” Darby said. “We need to start somewhere with it.”
Peterson favors a more guarded approach to medical cannabis, because “the devil’s in the details.”
“As far as extracts or pills derived from the plant, I’m not opposed,” Peterson said. “but smoking the cannabis ... I’m opposed to that. There’s a drug culture ready to jump on this if it’s legalized. We don’t want it to morph into some sort of wink and nod for that community.”
Peterson posts his legislative stances and insights to a blog called Mr. Peterson’s Perspectives. He supports the state’s fight to gain control of federally-owned land in Utah, and noted recently that the state’s lawsuit to accomplish that feat has cost only $950,000 so far, rather than the $14 million projected by the Commission on the Stewardship of Public Lands. In March, state lawmakers in the heavily Republican House approved a resolution indicating support for such litigation, but that message bill failed to come up for a vote in the Senate before the 45-day session ended.
The race is heating up!