This Is 30: Jess Uglesich, Bluff
Utah is the youngest state in the country, with a median age of 30 years old. So what does the future look like through the eyes of Beehive State millennials? In a series we’re launching this week called “This is 30,” KUER asked voters around the state how they’re feeling ahead of a critical election.
Name: Jess Uglesich
Lives in: Bluff
Occupation: Education Center Manager at the Bears Ears Education Center
Party Affiliation: Democrat
What are your top concerns going into this election?
I'm new to this area, but I have been in Utah working short-term jobs for the past couple years and — particularly in San Juan County — there seems to be an imbalance in the representation in the leaders versus the population. So, I really hope to see changes with this upcoming election and have the people who live here have people in office that are listening to their needs in making sure that balance and fair representation is happening.
Do you have any national concerns?
I'm deeply concerned about all the division that's happening right now. I'm a little bit scared. It's almost like an alternate reality. All in all, looking at how divided the country is right now, and how people are normalizing what's going on and it makes me feel sad for the future. It's something that I can't understand — certain thoughts and beliefs that people are just throwing around so carelessly, words and hate, it's just really ugly.
What first brought you out here?
The first time I came to Utah was on a road trip with three other girlfriends; all geology students. We came out and adventured on the Colorado Plateau and I was like 'this landscape is amazing.' Back in 2013, I was fortunate enough to join the Los Angeles Natural History Museum on a paleontological dig out in San Juan County and that was the first time I spent time in San Juan County.
What's one issue that you face as a millennial voter that you think politicians should address more?
My initial thought is jobs ... lack of jobs. Finding jobs with pay that can actually support the cost of living, and especially in cities. It's insane how expensive life is. I know millennials get this reputation for wanting to try out different things and being non-committal and things like that, but I think it's also being dissatisfied not only with the work but with the pay.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about your future?
Optimistic. I just moved here just over a month ago and this is exactly where I want to be — physically in this landscape. I'm very passionate about public lands.