Some Questions and Answers
Below I've put some answers to some common questions I've heard. If you have a question that I haven't answered, or want more information, please contact me and let me know! I'll try to get an answer for you soon.
- Why are you running for office?
- What makes you passionate about the position?
- What principles guide your view of government?
- Will you approve high density housing?
- What do you like about the current direction of Eagle Mountain?
- What would you like to see change about the current direction of Eagle Mountain?
- Thoughts on how to allow for growth but still meet the road needs of citizens already living here?
- Would you support Ranked Choice Voting in Eagle Mountain?
- What are some goals for creating recreation (ponds, rec centers, parks, bike trails, shooting areas)?
- Would you support and Eagle Mountain Rec Center?
- How long have you resided in Eagle mountain, and why do you call Eagle Mountain your home?
- Decisions are made by the city council that you may or may not have knowledge of the ecology of the area and the possible repercussions of those decisions. What resources would you use to complete your due diligence regarding habitat and wildlife impacts?
- What do you think is the role of non-disclosure agreements and economic growth? And how does it affect government transparency?
- What specific things do you feel that the city is doing exceptionally well?
- Is the rural culture and feel of Eagle Mountain important to you? Eagle Mountain has a rural culture and feel, how do you think we can have growth and keep that feeling?
- what specific agenda's would you like to champion though the office of city council and why?
- Tell us something that sets you apart from the rest of the group of candidates?
- What are your personal, political, and professional long term goals in regards to Eagle Mountain?
- What founding father (signer of the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution) has impacted your political philosophy the most and why? Do you have a favorite quote from a founding father?
Why are you running?
Excellent question, thank you for asking it. This is something I'd love to ask every candidate for every office. There are good and bad reasons for running, and people's motivation matters a lot to me.
In my case, I've been a concerned citizen now for decades. I've been very displeased with the direction things are going at the federal and state levels, and in some cases the city level. I realized a few years ago that local politics can impact us just as much or more than the higher level. I've found myself frustrated and feeling powerless sitting back watching things happen. I had a realization that I could actually run for office to try and change things and move the needle in the direction I'd like to see it go.
I am also passionate about keeping Eagle Mountain a great place to live. We are entering a critical time for our city. Over the next few years there will be enormous growth. If we don't handle it well we could end up with a dysfunctional city with horrible traffic, high taxes, and housing costs that none of our children or retired parents can afford.
What makes you passionate about the position?
The biggest thing is that I live here in Eagle Mountain! I want a great city to live in for decades to come, and I want my kids to choose to stay here to raise their own kids. I've met some of the most incredible people on earth here in Eagle Mountain, and I want them to stay here! I want to see the city grow intelligently and responsibly. I see so much potential in Eagle Mountain, and that really motivates me and stokes my passion.
What principles guide your view of government?
This is a question that requires a lot of time and discussion to answer completely, but I'll try to give a short summary.
Quite simply, I believe in small, limited government that protects the rights and freedoms of the people and then leaves them alone to live their lives and pursue their happiness as they see fit. I believe that taxation should be minimal. Money received through taxation is sacred, and should be treated with the utmost respect.
Some of my favorite political philosophers include John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert Nozick. I believe that it is important to be exposed to a diverse range of ideas and opinions, and as such I've spent years studying many different viewpoints.
I don't believe I have all the answers. I think humility and a hungry mind are important traits in people, especially political leaders, and I wish those traits were more widely held. I try to always keep an open mind and to listen to new ideas. It's important to apply critical thinking and analysis, and I try hard to do that.
Will you vote to approve high density housing?
One of the great things about Eagle Mountain is that we have one of the largest cities in the state at 41.7 sq mi (according to the great source of truth, Wikipedia). As such we have plenty of space and do not need to build high density housing in areas near existing homes and neighborhoods. Not only can high density housing negatively impact property values for surrounding homes, but it is unpopular with existing residents.
However, housing follows the basic economic principles of supply and demand. Having a supply of housing that matches the market demand (including for lower cost housing) is really important for keeping Eagle Mountain affordable and reducing the pain of the housing crisis. For many families, the cost of housing is already to the point where our own children are not able to live here. They are forced to move away, in some cases quite far away into Salt Lake County or Provo and in other cases other states in search of cheaper places to live. Young growing families will not be able to move into Eagle Mountain either. With the large size of our city, there is no reason we shouldn't have a diverse array of housing options. We have a ton of land! We don't need to build high density housing close to existing neighborhoods. Lastly, if we want to make Eagle Mountain attractive to employers, employees of all levels will need affordable places to live also.
Recently I read an article that suggests that high density housing might in fact make things worse. I plan to continue researching this and to examine the data referenced. If indeed high density housing would not help, then it makes sense to me to oppose unnecessary and upopular high-density housing. The evidence would need to be compelling though.
What do you like about the current direction of Eagle Mountain?
I think our mayor is generally doing good things. He is working to bring businesses to the city in a way that is balanced and sustainable. Businesses bring a lot of value. Of course they provide jobs, but they also support infrastructure development that benefits us all. They also generate tax revenue that is used to shoulder the burden of maintenance on our existing infrastructure and roads.
Mayor Westmoreland is working to attract a variety of businesses. Recently we've heard about Facebook and Tyson chicken. These are two very different companies in very different industries. That kind of diversity is good for Eagle Mountain. This is just a start. We also need to attract larger employers with higher paying jobs. I would love to help Mayor Westmoreland continue.
Aside from the business growth, Mayor Westmoreland is also doing a good job at growing a balanced city. He is working to attract high tech while also maintaining an agricultural sector. I think this is fantastic.
What would you like to see change about the current direction of Eagle Mountain?This is a difficult question to answer without criticizing our existing council. I'm hoping I'll be working with them and don't want to start out as adversaries :-) Please understand that I have respect for them and believe they are all doing what they think is best.
I would like to see more transparency around things that are happening. I do understand that often there are non-disclosure agreements that prevent the dissemination of information, and that can obviously complicate things.
I would also like to see construction projects managed in a way that is less disruptive and destructive. There have been many complaints from citizens about different negative externalities.
Solutions to these problems require a great deal of education and forethought. If elected, I will invest that time into educating myself and finding solutions, and trying to work with the other council members and the city staff to get things done in an effective way.
Regarding our roads, What are your thoughts on how to allow for growth, but still meet the needs of citizens already living here in beautiful Eagle Mountain?
Note: This question came via Facebook from Kristin Shane Holiday
Awesome question! That's a big thing on my mind. I'm still working on understanding the nuances more. I very much share your concerns. I absolutely HATE traffic and congestion. I love the small-town feel, while still being within commute distance to Lehi.
One of the challenges is that road construction is expensive, and building roads before homes can be wasteful if we guess wrong about capacity needs. We also want to build big enough that we don't have perennial construction (which Utah is famous for). However reactionary construction can turn into a nightmare, as we have all experienced.
There are several ways we can approach it, and I tend to think a combination is the best approach. Attracting businesses to the city can really help because they install infrastructure up front as part of their construction. This can be a great tool to get roads built without going into debt or raising taxes (which I will fight hard against should it come up). For major thoroughfares and the like where business help is unavailable, we should consider bonding, particular where construction costs are expected to rise in the future. A bond could paradoxically save us money in that case because the interest on the bond may be less than the increase in construction costs. I am very cautious about accruing any debt, and roads are one of the few areas where I think I would support it.
Would you support Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in Eagle Mountain?
Firstly, if you haven't heard of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), it is not difficult to understand and is well worth your time. You can find information at Utah RCV.
I am a big fan of RCV. There are a number of great benefits, and it is the right thing to do. Our system of govenrment works best when people have a voice, and the traditional voting system encourages people to make calculations and guesses, rather than just voting for the person they feel is best for the job. We've all heard the expression "don't throw away your vote on a third party." That is certainly one scenario improved by RCV, but there are other advantages as well. If you aren't familiar with RCV, please take the time to look into it.
If I am elected, I will absolutely support Ranked Choice Voting in Eagle Mountain, and would also do what I could to call attention to it from the County and State of Utah.
Here is a video from Maine that explains things as well if you prefer video:
What are some goals for creating recreation? Ponds, Rec centers and parks, bike trails and shooting areas? This is a very active community and we love our land
Note: This question came via Facebook from Andrew Hill
I think that's a great question! I love all of those things you mentioned. I think most of them could also be done without using taxpayer funds. There is a pretty good experiment going right now with a "partnership" between a volunteer non-profit group that is putting together the dog park, but using some city resources (like insurance coverage) to avoid cost prohibitive things that would disallow free entry.
I would love to see how this goes, and take the lessons learned from it to apply to those things you mentioned, with possible exception the rec center because the cost there for building maintenance would without a doubt require tax increases. A shooting area in particular should be pretty easy to run with low costs, by certifying volunteers as range masters. Davis County had pretty good success with this.
A shooting area may be an important priority as well given the problems with wildfires last year. If you head west past Cedar Fort and Fairfield there are a ton of trails, and also different areas where many people go to shoot.
As for bike trails, the current Eagle Mountain Bike Park is quite popular (and super cool if you haven't been). I know it's not really a "trail." I'd be very interested in hearing ideas about additional places we could put those. With the number of Eagle Scouts that people pursue in the area, I would bet we could get volunteers to build the trails and then the city can maintain them.
If I'm elected, I will for sure follow up on this. I think within several months we should know more about how the dog park will go. Next Spring might be a good time to start planning a shooting area.
Would you support an Eagle Mountain Rec Center?
The answer is both yes and no (I hope that doesn't sound like a cop out, please allow me to explain).
While I would personally love to have a rec center in Eagle Mountain, I do not believe that it would be right to tax Eagle Mountain citizens in order to pay for it (or subsidize it). I also do not believe that it is the proper role of government at any level to pay for, subsidize, or administer things like gyms and rec centers. As such this is not something I would personally support.
However, I would absolutely support getting a rec center proposal on the ballot to see if the people of Eagle Mountain would vote for it. If it is the will of the people, I would work hard to get us an amazing rec center that makes the other cities jealous :-)
Additionally, the city does have a role in planning and approval. As a council member, I would absolutely work with anyone interested in investing in or building a rec center.
How long have you resided in Eagle mountain, and why do you call Eagle Mountain your home?
I have lived here for two years. Initially we moved here because I took a job in Thanksgiving Point Park in Lehi, and we have always been "small-town" people. Eagle Mountain we hoped would be far enough away from Lehi that it would have a small town feel but close enough that the commute is not a nightmare.
Now having been here for a couple of years, we love Eagle Mountain. There's definitely a small-town feel here. The community is also great! My kids have found many friends and the other families have been very warm toward us.
Decisions are made by the city council that you may or may not have knowledge of the ecology of the area and the possible repercussions of those decisions. What resources would you use to complete your due diligence regarding habitat and wildlife impacts?
More broadly, there will be many decisions that come up where I would not have expert knowledge. In the tech and cyber security world this happens a lot, so I have had to deal with it quite a bit. I am a big believer in "know what you know, and know what you don't know." I try to live by that continually. When I don't have a good understanding of a subject, I seek out experts that do and I try to learn from them and I carefully consider their advice. I do try to watch out for the fallacy of "Appeal to Authority" as well however. Simply being an expert in a subject matter doesn't automatically grant you correct opinions, but it certainly does mean you should be listened to. As a city council member I will not make decisions blindly or ideologically, including regarding decisions that can impact things as important as ecology.
Specifically regarding habitat and wildlife impacts, there are many resources available from the federal and state governments. I would absolutely make use of these resources. As issues come up, I try to be proactive in seeking out expert opinions and recommendations.
What do you think is the role of non-disclosure agreements and economic growth? And how does it affect government transparency?
Firstly let me say that government transparency is very important to me. Increasing it is one of my top priorities. That said there are cases where companies (particularly large ones) will require city staff to sign NDAs that prevent transparency as a precondition of business. There are various reasons for this that vary between competitive advantage and also board requirements. Most are legitimate reasons and are standard legal procedure. Unfortunately for those of us who value transparency, this is a fact of life. Even though I don't like it, I acknowledge that sometimes there is no way around it.
However, I will do what I can to ensure that only information that is absolutely necessary is kept secret, and that when the information is revealed it is done so in time for citizens to weigh in. After that fact, I will also push to release all the information so that there can still be accountability for past decisions, even if it is a bit late in that particular case to reverse it. The people are entitled to know what their government is doing, and to hold that government accountable if they aren't acting in the people's best interest and in good faith.
What specific things do you feel that the city is doing exceptionally well?
I feel that the city has done a good job at keeping taxes low, something I intend to continue. There will be a lot of temptation for city government to increase taxes, and I hope to be there to make sure that only necessary and appropriate things are budgeted and that we are stretching tax dollars to the absolute maximum. I hate taxes, and I want them kept to a minimum.
Is the rural culture and feel of Eagle Mountain important to you? Eagle Mountain has a rural culture and feel, how do you think we can have growth and keep that feeling?
Yes! The rural culture and feel is very important to me. I think to some extent tho, it's unrealistic to expect to maintain a rural culture in perpetuity, despite sustained, rapid growth. However, this does not mean that Eagle Mountain in its entirety must lose the rural feel. We have a huge city geographically and we can (and should) use that to our advantage! We have plenty of room to maintain rural areas and sections, while still allowing other sections to develop commercially and suburban.
Another important thing along this line is having abundant access to recreational opportunities outdoors. We have many hiking opportunities throughout the city and I will work to maintain that. With how much space we have, we don't need to develop everything. I fully support the ridgeline building ban in place and will maintain that. We have many trails that I would like to preserve as well.
What specific agenda's would you like to champion though the office of city council and why?
There is not a specific agenda that I have. I am running for a multitude of reasons. Some of the issues I care the most about are affordable housing, traffic management, and government transparency. I certainly intend to work on those issues if I am elected.
Tell us something that sets you apart from the rest of the group of candidates?
Probably the biggest thing that sets me apart from the other candidates is that I have a background in cyberwarfare and cybersecurity. Normally this would not be relevant to a city council race, but increasingly cyber-preparedness is becoming a big thing for governments, particularly municipalities. There was a city in Florida that got hit with ransomware and had to pay $600,000 in Bitcoin to get their data back.
As a member of city council, I could put my unique skills to work for Eagle Mountain. If Eagle Mountain had to hire a contractor it would be prohibitively expensive. I can help triage things and prioritize budgets, as well as provide technical guidance. I could (and am willing to) do this regardless of whether I win the race, but I would be much more involved in the details if I am elected.
Mayor Westmoreland has done a good job so far preparing our city for disasters. I would be a good asset to add to the team to help prepare in other ways.
What are your personal, political, and professional long term goals in regards to Eagle Mountain?
My top goal is to have a great environment in which to care for and raise my kids. Keeping Eagle Mountain a family friendly place is very important to me, as is battling the skyrocketing cost of housing. Tremendous growth is anticipated for the city, and my goal is to navigate that growth in a way that leaves Eagle Mountain a great place to live, play, and work. I don't currently have any long term political goals. I have never run for any office before and I don't currently have political ambitions.
What founding father (signer of the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution) has impacted your political philosophy the most and why? Do you have a favorite quote from a founding father?
This is a very tough question! I have studied the founders and the Constitution quite a bit and they have all impacted me and inspired me in numerous ways.
If forced to narrow it down to one, I would probably have to say George Washington. Washington was an inspiration in so many ways. He was a great man who truly loved his country, and sacrificed so much for it. I am struck by the words spoken by King George III of England about Washington. King George asked Benjamin West what Washington would do after winning independence. West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.” The king replied with, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” George Washington could have been the King of America. Yet, he refused the throne and even chastised some (such as Alexander Hamilton) for even suggesting it.
After watching the federal government struggle under the Articles of Confederation, Washington also answered the call of duty again, to create the US Constitution, and to serve as the first president of the United States (an important precedent-setting role). He did this despite wanting nothing more than to retire to his farm. My favorite (though possibly apocryphal) Washington quote is: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence,—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
I also have to mention Patrick Henry, who I love and admire as well. Liberty flowed through his veins, much like I feel it does mine. His quote, "Give me liberty or give me death" speech was amazing and inspirational. He treated government like the fire that that Washington suggested it is. He would err on the side of too much liberty, as do I.
Lastly Thomas Jefferson needs a mention. His ruthless rationality and skeptical mind made him an outstanding enlightenment thinker. His words have greatly inspired me as well.