Monday, October 31, 2016

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE: Jeremy Peterson vs. Kathie Darby

Policy positions matter, and its important that voters know where candidates stand.  A lot of things have been said or insinuated this election cycle that don't have a lot to do with public policy or the issues that voters care about.  Voters need to discern the differences between candidates if they are to make an informed choice.  So, I have taken a few moments to highlight a few key differences between me and my opponent.

Professional Background

Rep. Jeremy Peterson - I have been self-employed as a small business owner since college.  I work in the real estate industry as a Real Estate Broker and Property Manager and have been in the industry 12 years.  My work puts me on the front lines of the free market everyday.  I understand how government action affects the everyday lives of our people and our economy.

Kathie Darby -  A retired IRS employee where she served for years as upper management.  She also serves on many local boards of charitable and non-profit organizations.

Your Money Your Taxes

Rep. Jeremy Peterson - I have worked to lower state taxes whenever possible.  In 2012 I ran a bill that reduced taxes $24 million.  I also voted against the property tax increase and gas tax increase of 2015.

Kathie Darby - She wants to increase government spending and increase taxes.


Rep. Jeremy Peterson - Education Funding is a perennial issue and hotly debated at the Capitol.  Since all of our income tax pays for our education system, it is important to keep existing tax credits under control.  I have passed legislation to provide oversight of these precious funds and I am running legislation to reign in out of control credits as well.  These efforts will help stabilize and provide predictability to funding our education programs.

Kathie Darby - She says she wants to increase spending without raising taxes.  But, she has not declared which ongoing state programs she would cut to do so.

Clean Air

Rep. Jeremy Peterson - I have supported many of the clean air proposals that have been brought to the Legislature.  Most importantly, I supported the effort to convert our local refineries to Tier III fuel standards.  Tier III fuels burn cleaner and converting our local gas supply to Tier III would have the largest impact in improving air quality during inversions.

Kathie Darby - She supports stricter building codes, expanding Salt Lake City's no-idle ordinance, and opposes Utah's coal industry.  Read more.  

Utah's Public Lands

Rep. Jeremy Peterson - Utah's economy and education budget is severely constrained by the amount of land locked up under Federal control.  Utah has been seeking to take control of Federal public lands (NOT National Parks by the way) and make them Utah public lands instead.  Why?  Presently, all mineral severance taxes on Federal land pay only 50% to the state.  If Utah controlled these lands, 100% of those taxes would flow to state coffers.  Control of our public lands would double our state revenues from this pre-existing source.  I support Utah controlling its own lands.  Do you trust a distance Congress to govern our land, or do you trust the local guy you can call on the phone at any time and talk about your concerns?  I trust local control over Federal control.

Kathie Darby - She trusts Federal control over local control.

Full Medicaid Expansion

Rep. Jeremy Peterson - I opposed full Medicaid Expansion on grounds that it was a budgetary disaster in the making.  Now, let's say you want to purchase a product but there is no price listed, the clerk tells you he thinks he might know what the cost is but isn't sure.  He proposes you buy it by writting a blank check to him and take the product home.  Then, when he figures out what the product really costs, he will fill in the check and deposit it at his convenience.  Would you do this?  Most of us wouldn't.  And that is what full Medicaid Expansion was asking us to do.  It would be impossible for us to budget for all of our existing programs with the blank check floating out there.  This is why I supported and co-sponsored incremental Medicaid expansion that passed the house last year and had a fixed cost to the program.

Kathie Darby - She supports full Medicaid expansion.

Race and Diversity

Rep. Jeremy Peterson - I have served as a member of the Governor's Multi-Cultural Commission since 2012.

Kathie Darby - She says that Utah needs intelligent non-racist leaders.


Rep. Jeremy Peterson - I am opposed to abortion as a form of birth control.  It is something that I believe is acceptable only when the life of the mother is at risk or in those rare cases of rape or incest.  I believe we have a responsibility to our future generations and need to respect the awesome power we have been given to create that generation.  As the uncle to four adopted nephews, I am a strong advocate for adoption placement when children are conceived unwanted.

Kathie Darby - She is an advocate of Planned Parenthood.

Religious Liberty

Rep. Jeremy Peterson - We live in a mixed society of many faiths and beliefs. Some of these beliefs are secular or might even be considered non-belief. Regardless, all of these views should have a place in the public square and should inform our deliberations as a society in trying to solve our common problems. As a person of faith myself, I recognize the important impact that my beliefs have in guiding my relationships with others and how I treat those around me. Religious participation of all kinds should be viewed as a worthwhile exercise that helps citizens improve themselves. The self mastery and personal responsibility taught by most faiths supports government in its efforts to provide for public safety and manageable public finances. For these reasons, expressions of faith should not be driven from the public square as somehow foreign to the purposes of government. While government should not mandate or advocate for any one religion, nor should it discriminate against followers of any faith or sect. Instead, government should view religious participation and expression as a general support to its goals of providing basic services and safety to its citizens.

Kathie Darby - She is on the record making comments about religion in our community.

I hope this comparison approach helps illustrate many of the bright lines separating my views from my opponent's on the issues.  With that being said, I hope I can have your support on November 8th.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

POINTING FINGERS: Weber County Democrats Poke Self In The Eye

The election season is at full-throttle and this is the time where some people check their scruples at the door and are willing to say or do anything to advance themselves.  Today's example is the Weber County Democrats who recently made some noise by trying to accuse Republicans (i.e. me) of  misusing campaign funds.  Here are some excerpts from today's Standard Examiner story:

    "Utah’s incumbent GOP lawmakers sometimes find themselves flush with campaign cash, and end up using some of those funds to make charitable contributions or to pay expenses related to their legislative work. It’s all completely legal, but Weber County Democrats have taken issue with the practice."

“How can Jeremy Peterson claim to be a fiscal conservative if he is spending so much of his campaign money on noncampaign expenses? It makes us wonder if this use of corporate cash is influencing his decisions in the legislature,” Weber County Democratic Party Chairman John Miles said in a recent statement, also noting that most of Peterson’s donations come from outside House District 9, with more than two-thirds flowing from Political Action Committees or corporations."

“Even if he is not being influenced, campaign contributions should only be used for campaigns and not for Ubers and nights at the Hilton.”

Wait!  Stop the tape.  Lets break down this reckless accusation into pieces and point out the irony here:

Accusation #1: How can Jeremy Peterson claim to be a fiscal conservative if he is spending so much of his campaign money on noncampaign expenses?

Fiscal conservatism is about exercising restraint in spending other people's money, namely taxpayer money.  Campaign funds belong to the candidate and the candidate is responsible to spend them wisely. I make it a personal policy not to take contributions from anyone I am not willing to vote against.  Also, note that Mr. Miles makes no claim that Weber County Democrat candidates are fiscally conservative.  This is because they are not.

Accusation #2: It makes us wonder if this use of corporate cash is influencing his decisions in the legislature.

My record on all accounts is transparent. I have purchased policy books, paid for food when traveling to Legislative conferences, and paid for charitable causes along with regular campaigning activities.  People donate campaign funds to candidates they agree with.  For me, people donate because they agree with my worldview.    

Accusation #3: Most of Peterson's contributions come from outside his district.

FACT:  85% of Kathie Darby's contributions came from outside her district.

Accusation #4: More than two-thirds of campaign contributions flowed from Political Action Committees or corporations

FACT:  86.7% of Democrat House Minority Leader Brian King's campaign contributions flowed from Political Action Committees or corporations.

Accusation #5: Campaign contributions should only be used for campaigns and not for Ubers and nights at the Hilton

FACT:  State law permits the use of campaign contributions to pay for expenses related to performing the job of a Legislator.  This includes travel and lodging expenses.  This is not illegal or unethical.  It is a policy that makes sense.  In fact, Democrat Minority Leader Brian King spent campaign funds on four separate trips out of state this year alone.  Was he on vacation?  No, he was learning about the issues so he could properly represent his district.  Most legislators, including myself, use campaign funds to attend such informative and productive events.

So, ironically, as the Weber County Democrats have tried to make something out of my transparent yet boring campaign finances, they have poked themselves in the eye by being guilty of their own criticisms.

Now, lets get on to talking about the real issues affecting voters in our district.

CORRECTION 11/4/2016:  A previous version of this article indicated that Kathie Darby had recieved $1000 from Planned Parenthood for her campaign.  That information was incorrect and I apologize for getting the information wrong.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

BILL File: The Student Prosperity Savings Plan

For the past several months, I have been working with stakeholders to draft a very unique bill to help kids living in intergenerational poverty (IGP) and others living below the poverty line to achieve success through college attendance.

Many economically disadvantaged kids are great students.  However, the lack of family financial resources often keeps them away from higher education experiences.  This in turn reduces their opportunities in the labor market and the poverty cycle continues unabated.

Utah currently has a tax incentive for parents or relatives to put money in a savings account specifically for tuition needs of a student.  Most of the kids that have these accounts open live in homes where parents have disposable income.  Yet, the demand for resources is infinitely greater in our IGP community.  Understanding this problem, we set out to find a solution.

In order to work toward a solution, I didn't want to create a giant taxpayer funded program and redistribute wealth from taxpayers to the poor.  For my proposal, I wanted to find a way to connect the wealthy and poor voluntarily.  I believe we have achieved that objective in our proposal.

Here is a copy of the bill:

Here is a brief outline of what the bill does:

Our presentation today was very fruitful and the committee asked some very good questions.  We will be making some technical revisions to the bill and presenting it to the committee in November for a vote.  If you are interested in hearing my presentation, you can listen to it HERE.

Monday, October 17, 2016

VOTE FOR REP. JEREMY PETERSON: His Record Represents Our Values

So your mail-in ballot should be arriving in your mailbox anytime now.  Who are you going to vote for in House District 9?  Since I am soliciting your vote again this election cycle, I thought it would be helpful to share some position statements with you.  Please compare these with my opponent's to make an informed decision.  Here are my positions:


We all want clean air.  None of us disagree about that.  I voted last year to support conversion of Utah's Oil Refineries to produce cleaner Tier III fuels.  Tier III fuel will make the biggest positive impact on our quality of air.


Funding education is important.  During a recent Special Session, I passed a bill called Tax Credit Review Amendments which gives the a committee oversight of $600 Million in taxes that are dedicated to the education budget.  Prior to passing this bill, no real oversight of these precious tax dollars existed.

I have spent time with teachers and education administrators to discuss the Common Core issue.  While we all agree that standards are important, the SAGE testing aspect is a major disappointment for most parties.  It provides excellent information for administrators while needlessly stressing students and teachers.  It also gives misleading information to parents and serves as an unhelpful yard stick for grading school performance.  The time dedicated to the testing also distracts from the education process.  So, I support ending the use of SAGE tests in lieu of another more common sense assessment mechanism.

Of course, teacher shortages and college and career preparedness are major issues affecting our education programs right now.  I support additional compensation for teachers to keep quality educators in our classrooms.  I am also hopeful that opening up the teaching profession to uncertified but otherwise highly qualified professionals will help alleviate pressure on our schools to fill their teacher rosters.


For the past two years I have served as the Vice-Chair of the Revenue and Taxation Standing Committee.  All major tax policy proposals in the state are heard before our committee.  I voted against the Gas Tax bill and against the Property Tax Equalization bill in 2015.  Both of these tax increases were proposed in a year when we had a $600 Million budget surplus and that surplus should have been used to offset the proposed increases.  

I believe that government should fund basic services but should be limited in its ambition to grow new and far reaching programs.  While government is necessary, it is terribly inefficient when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars to achieve its goals.  I trust taxpayers to spend their money more wisely than governments do.


Utah is in an unprecedented economic boom right now.  Much of this is attributed to Utah's low regulation environment that fosters entrepreneurial spirit and innovation through competition.  While not perfect, I support our Legislature's approach to regulation.  We keep it minimal and look at new regulations with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Many industries look to regulation to shut out competition and promote market monopolies for themselves.  I oppose regulations that serve this purpose.  Government's job is to make sure players in the market are honest and fair dealing.  Utah's job market today has benefited from the Legislature's self restraint when it comes to regulation.


Providing for public safety is one of the basic services of government.  I am a member of the Law Enforcement Standing Committee which hears bills related to crime and punishment.  I can tell you that it is a heavy load to bear when hearing heart wrenching testimony from victims and victims advocates.  Nevertheless, the committee often balances the issues of personal freedom with the need to protect the public.  I have a great deal of personal experience dealing with felons and working to reincorporate them in society.  My experience has informed my views on how we need to rehabilitate willing individuals who are coming out of our correctional system.  Fortunately, we recently voted to fund better drug treatment and rehab programs to help stem the tide of convicts rotating in and out of our system.  With such a program, taxpayers will benefit from having to spend less on correctional housing, less on personal property damages, and the economy will benefit from having more sober and able bodied workers in the workforce.


I support the right of individuals to express their faith in the public square.  I support prayer in public meetings and I oppose religious litmus tests when hiring employees.


Since the Great Recession, net in migration from our southern border has been virtually zero.  However, the border is still very porous.  I sponsored bi-partisan immigration reform my first year in the House.  But, ultimately, the state deferred to Federal authorities on the immigration issue.  While our state authority is limited, I support common sense immigration laws such as preventing non-citizens from living on our welfare rolls.  Immigration, when it does occur, needs to happen in numbers small enough to encourage the greatest possible amount of assimilation into our society and culture.

Thank you for taking time to read about my positions on the issues.  Of course, there is so much more to read here at my blog.  Feel free to peruse the last 6 years of work I have done on your behalf.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me at 801-390-1480.

Best Regards!

Representative Jeremy Peterson
House District 9


Sunday, October 9, 2016

American Anguish: Looking in the Presidential Mirror

Like many of you, I am still reeling from the recent released recordings of Donald Trump's so-called 'locker room' conversation with a fawning and complicit host of a magazine TV show.  As the son of a mother, the husband of a wife, and the father of four daughters, I condemn his remarks in the strongest possible terms.  They are unbecoming of a true man and reflect the untamed sexual constraints of an immature adolescent.

Of course, the horror is increased by the fact they come from a candidate for President...supposedly my candidate for President.  The race at the top of the ticket has become a cloud of confusion and disorientation.  But, what is clear to me is that I cannot in good conscience vote for Mr. Trump.
So what will I do?  This may be the only time (we can only pray) I have to choose "None Of The Above".

Adding to the anguish of this race is understanding what it means for us as a country.   Our system is designed to be representative.  Our elected officials reflect the views and sentiments of those who voted them into office.  So, as we look at our two Presidential candidates, a majority of each political party is reflected by them.  I am deeply troubled by what I see.  Do the Political Parties even recognize themselves in the mirror?

On one hand we have a crude and amoral business man who is as sensitive as a toilet seat.  On the other hand we have a wickedly corrupt woman whose graft and self-dealing is reminiscent of the decline of Rome.  The distillation process of the primaries has reduced us to these two unsavory options and we have only ourselves to blame.  It is time for us to do some soul searching on what our Parties stand for and whom will be the standard bearer of those principles.  We will never fail when we place our faith in principles over people.        

In the meantime, may God bless all of us as we move forward with uncertainty.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

STANDARD EXAMINER: House District 9 Voters Have 2 Distinct Options This November

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!