Democratic candidate for governor Chris Peterson in an undated photo. | Photo courtesy of Chris Peterson for Governor, St. George News
CITY OF CEDAR – With mail-in voting for the November general election already underway, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Peterson has used a Cedar City town hall to advance his plans for Utah’s future.
During the town hall hosted by Southern Utah University, Peterson and his running mate Karina Brown announced an 11-point plan to facilitate growth in rural Utah.
“Chris and I want to protect workers and their families across UtahBrown said, explaining that their development plan is based on feedback from voters gathered while touring rural communities across the state.
“Providing opportunities for more rural growth is an issue that fascinates me deeply,” said Brown. “It was such a privilege to create this plan considering Utah’s 29 diverse counties.”
“This pandemic has shown the strength of the Utahns and our communities,” said Peterson, “but it has also highlighted some of our weaknesses… Energy security, food security and Utah’s economic security are directly linked rural economic development. So Utah’s future depends on strong rural communities. “
Elements of Democrats’ 11-point plan to facilitate rural growth include:
- Make high-speed Internet access available throughout rural Utah to promote educational opportunities, health care options, and business connections.
- To expand access to affordable health care, including mental health treatment, throughout Utah by providing financial support to rural hospitals and clinics as well as supporting telehealth programs.
- Creation of a student loan cancellation program for young potential farmers and ranchers.
- Create public-private meat-packing cooperatives as an alternative to multinational offshore agribusiness companies to protect the economic independence of rural Utah residents.
- Develop and maintain Utah’s outdoor industries, including outdoor focused retailers, the tourism industry, and federal / state land management efforts.
- Offer one-time tax credits to rural businesses that establish genuine apprenticeship programs for young workers.
- Propose legislation to create training grants for renewable energy workers and public financial support for the development of green energy.
- Propose right to repair legislation to counter anti-competitive practices by agricultural equipment manufacturers who require their machines to be repaired only by authorized dealers at high costs.
- Fight to increase Utah’s share of energy royalties and bring payment in lieu of federally controlled statewide real property taxes to market values.
- Support Utah’s research universities to facilitate their efforts to lead innovation in information technology, biotechnology, aerospace research and the banking industry.
- Cap interest rates on payday loans and strengthen enforcement of existing laws prohibiting predatory lending, misleading advertising and abusive loan terms.
Peterson criticized the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, calling on Gov. Gary Herbert, rival gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and other state officials to show “the political courage ”to impose a statewide mask mandate and other restrictive health precautions.
Written by CHARLIE SCHILL, Cache Valley Daily
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