State Delegate Kevin O'Donnal gave me permission to post his questions and my answers on my blog site
Where do you stand on Common Core? Common core started out on the right path with states being able to determine what their internal state values, ideals, and needs are. However, the Common Core movement was hi-jacked by the Obama administration that fills it full of liberal agenda items and philosophies. When that happened the Common Core initiative lost its moorings and failed the parents, students, and taxpayers. We in Utah need to abandon the national Common Core and return to our own standards.
- Where do you stand on the 2nd Amendment?
I am a gun guy and have been around guns my entire life. I grew up thinking that Venison was the main Thanksgiving Day meat and not turkey. I’ve had my concealed carry permit and am on my 3rd renewal. I have a different handgun and carry method for every day of the week. I tied with Rep. Mike McKell in a recent shotgun tourney at Wasatch Wings and Clay as the best shooters in the legislature. My grandfather was a gun nut and had a patent for a very cool kind of automatic rifle. I am related by marriage to John Moses Browning. With Madsen and Oda leaving the legislature I will be the main gun guy left. My main carry is a tricked out Baby Glock 26.
- What is your stand on States rights?
The states created the federal government and not the other way around. States rights are the ultimate right as stated in the U.S. Constitution that all of the limited rights not specifically given to the Federal Government are given to the states. The states rights are unlimited. The Federal powers are limited and defined and should never creep out side of that box.
- Should all Federal lands be returned to the States?
I don’t think that all lands should be transferred to the states, but there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution or Utah Constitution that would prohibit that. I’m good with the Feds keeping national parks, national forests, Hill Air Force Base, and the training and test range in the west desert. However, there is nothing that should keep the rest from being given back to the citizens of Utah. The lands that Utah manages (SITLA, etc) generate $14 per acre, while the lands that feds manage lose -$1 per acre. The #1 reason that Utah is last in the nation in per pupil spending is that we are only able to generate property taxes on well under 1/3 of our state.
- Would you vote as your constituents want even if it goes against your moral beliefs?
I represent the voters in my district differently than anyone you have ever seen in elected office. I push as much information as can to the involved voters in my area. I give them more info and I trust them with that info than anyone else. I claim that my voters are the most informed I the state. I used to get in trouble with house leadership and I upset the governor by pushing more information to my voters than anyone else. Now leadership understands what I do and are supportive. However, I had to prove that to them. The local news reporters follow me on social media for tips that they can’t get anywhere else.
- What is you plan for taxation?
I vote against any new taxes. The only tax increase that I have ever voted for was SB97 last year. I actually tried to get Sen. Osmond to make it revenue neutral, but he said he had the votes and I could either vote for or against it. However, SB97 was a very important bill that equalized education-funding statewide and Alpine SD was the main beneficiary of SB97. Since 2/3 of Utah state funding of education comes from Income Taxes it isn’t right and the state should not allow winners and losers in education.
- Do you support Constitutional carry laws?
Yes, I was one of the main proponents that the governor vetoed 2 years ago. I have spent time trying to find a structure that would work statewide. FYI, before I got my state concealed carry permit I would constitutional carry, just because I could.
- What are your plans to protect and support the Constitution?
I have voted several times to hold an Article V convention and exercise our right to limit the federal government. I believe the Constitution is an inspired document. I support it and speak out to limit the overreach of the federal government at every opportunity.
- Districts are telling teachers to do more with less and are planning to increase class size dramatically next year. Utah Teachers are among the lowest paid in the Nation. What do you plan to do to support our education system?
Every year that I have been in the legislature and served on the Education Appropriations committee I have supported an increase in education funding. Despite what you may have heard in the media we have actually given more to education than the Governor’s budget requested. Each year we have funded for new growth and added between 2.5% and 4.5% of new funding. With SB97 last year we added nearly 10% of new money to education.
- What is your stand on term limits?
We need to have term limits. However, even more than that we need an informed and active electorate that will replace elected officials as soon as they represent special interests over their own voters.
- Should it be made easier to remove elected officials that violate their campaign promises, the laws of the land and their party platform?
YES. I am one of the few in the legislature that would support a recall provision. But again, an informed and active electorate that holds elected officials accountable for their actions in office is the simple solution.
- What is your opinion of the illegal alien and refugee situation going on in the nation right now?
This is one of the few responsibilities that the federal government actually has. However, both parties have been trying to play the immigrant situation to their benefit and as a result we have a completely dysfunctional immigration system that rewards the bad actors and punishes those attempting to abide by the law. We need a wider gate to allow those attempting to enter legally and can pass a comprehensive background check. And a taller wall to keep out those that attempt to bypass the main gate of our immigration system.
- What will be your course of action if the Federal Government tries to place non-vetted refugees in Utah?
Unfortunately, this is a federal government issue. Utah’s attempts to deal with this ourselves have been declared unconstitutional. There are some governors that talk tough, but in all honesty there is nothing that Utah can do constitutionally to impede the flow of not-vetted refugees. I voted for a resolution to repeal the 17th Amendment. That would give us as a state more control over immigration. But that may never pass.