Politics & Issues | KUER 90.1

Politics & Issues

Four Republican candidates will be on the June 30 primary ballot in the hopes of representing Utah’s First Congressional District. KUER asked them about public lands, mental health, the needs of rural Utahns and more.

Utah’s First Congressional District is the only federal race in the state that has a Democratic primary. We asked the two Democratic candidates about issues that affect that district, like public lands, mental health, the needs of rural Utahns and more.

In a district that's a high priority nationally for Republicans to flip, four candidates are vying to be the republican nominee to unseat Utah's lone democratic congressman Ben McAdams. Ahead of the primary election on June 30, we asked them why they're best positioned to beat McAdams, their top policy priorities, and more.

Photo of Spencer Cox at podium.
Ivy Cabello

Utah has the first open seat for governor this year since 2004 and there are four candidates vying for the Republican nomination. In the lead up to the June 30th primary, KUER is bringing voters a conversation with each of them.

Politics reporter Sonja Hutson spoke with Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox about his vision for Utah. 

Photo of protesters encircling a pile of discarded roses and signs in a rainy parking lot.
David Fuchs / KUER

As rain poured down Saturday evening, hundreds of protesters gathered at the State Capitol to hold a vigil for Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal — the 22-year-old man who died in an officer-involved shooting in Salt Lake City over Memorial Day weekend.

A photo of a woman speaking into microphones inside the utah capitol building
Jon Reed / KUER

In the wake of mass protests in Utah and across the country over police brutality and racial injustice, the NAACP is pushing for widespread legislative changes to law enforcement agencies across the country. 

Protestors hold sign at a Black Lives Matter event in St. George, Utah.
Lexi Peery/ KUER News

The Dixie State University football program held a team meeting recently — not to discuss plays but to talk about the protests being held nationwide in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.

Photo of police standing outside at night
Brian Albers / KUER

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis spurred protests against racial injustice in Salt Lake City and around the world. But the incident has some Utahns thinking about the state’s own relationship between police and civilians.

Image of black squares.
Renee Bright / KUER

If you’ve been on social media in the past few days, you might have seen a flood of black squares in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ... and then criticism of those black squares that they were misguided or just for show. There’s a term for that: “slacktivism.” 

Graphic illustration of a hand holding a smartphone showing a voting application
danijelala via iStock

Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner received a $1,500 campaign donation from an investor in the blockchain voting app Voatz in 2018, roughly 16 months before the county first used the app in its elections. 

Photo of a crowd of people standing in front of a car turned upside down and on fire
Courtesy of Sarah Ramirez

Nearly 60 people have been arrested following protests over the past few days in Salt Lake City against police brutality and racial injustice. The majority, 41 came on Saturday — the most destructive event — though most were charged for failing to disperse. On Monday, 18 more were arrested, including two juveniles. 

Photo of people meeting in a board room.
Jon Reed / KUER

The Salt Lake City Police Department met with leaders of the state’s black community Tuesday to hear about their concerns over police brutality. Officers also explained the tactics they use, such as how they are trained to use force and conduct internal investigations. 

Composite photo of 3 men and one woman in business attire.
Rick Egan / Salt Lake Tribune Pool Photo

The four Republican candidates aiming to represent Utah’s 1st Congressional District met for a debate Tuesday

Photo of the candiates speaking on stage
Rick Egan / The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and his primary challenger Utah County Attorney David Leavitt hurled accusations at each other at an hour-long debate Tuesday.

Photo of a large crowd of people in protective face masks. Some are holding signs, some are holding their hands up.
Kelsie Moore for KUER

More than 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Salt Lake City for the second time in three days, as a new citywide curfew went into effect and Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency because of civil unrest.

Photos of four candidtes for governor.
Ivy Cabello

The four Republican candidates for Utah governor got into a heated discussion about the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and politicization of the public health crisis during a debate Monday evening.

Photo of candidates on debate stage.
Steve Griffin

Darren Parry is the council chair of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. Jamie Cheek is a district director for the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation. The two are the only Democrats in a primary election for any of Utah’s congressional races. 

Photo of a group of protesters facing a line of police.
Elaine Clark / KUER

People flooded the streets of Salt Lake City Saturday to protest the in-custody death of George Floyd. One of them was Shea Freedom, a musician and activist based in Salt Lake City. KUER’s Caroline Ballard caught up with him on Sunday to hear about his experience.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Caroline Ballard: How has your experience influenced how you think about the unique intersection of civil rights & LGBTQ rights?

Photo of the candidates standing behind podiums
Pool photo

Four Republicans are vying to be the party’s choice to unseat Utah’s lone Democratic member of Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams. They made their cases to voters in the 4th Congressional District at a debate Monday.

Photo of police in riot gear in Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers / KUER

More than 40 people were arrested in Salt Lake City over the weekend when peaceful protests against police brutality and racial injustice turned violent and destructive. Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera spoke to KUER’s Diane Maggipinto about what she’s doing to take on racial bias and police reform.

Men in orange vests outside building
Jon Reed/KUER

Updated 9:47 a.m. MDT 6/1/2020

Salt Lake City officials launched a massive cleanup effort on Sunday, the day after intense protests through downtown Salt Lake City left a wake of damage, including spray painted graffiti on the State Capitol, smashed windows and overturned and burned two cars, including a police cruiser. 

Graffiti on Utah Capitol grounds.
Jon Reed / KUER

Utah politicians are largely criticizing the violence that took place during a Saturday protest over the in-custody death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis. Some are calling for systemic change to prevent more deaths of black people at the hands of police. 

State Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, said protests are effective tools to bring awareness to issues, although she’s worried the violence on Saturday has diluted that message. 

Graffiti cleanup at the Utah Capitol.
Jon Reed / KUER

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said Sunday morning the city’s streets are “quiet and calm” after Saturday’s protests against police brutality turned violent.

But Mendenhall cautioned against prematurely lifting a citywide curfew that went into effect 8 p.m. Saturday and is scheduled to last until 6 a.m. Monday.

Photo of protest line and riot police in Salt Lake City.
Ross Terrell / KUER

Updated 11:00 p.m. MDT 5/30/2020

A citywide curfew enacted by Salt Lake City to quell violence after a day of protest against police brutality went into effect Saturday night, as police advanced on demonstrators, pushing them south from downtown Salt Lake City.

Photo of protesters in Downtown Salt Lake City.
Emily Means / KUER

A controversial concert protesting social distancing measures was effectively shut down Friday after a Utah District Court judge issued an injunction against it being held.

Photo of U.S. Capitol under blue sky.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

The state Legislature’s Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee voted Friday to recommend using roughly $37 million from the Medicaid rainy day fund to offset proposed cuts to social services. Those cuts include reducing payments to foster families and money for domestic violence shelters.

Photo of small chairs on a small table in a classroom
blanscape via iStock

State and local leaders are working towards issuing guidelines for how Utah’s K-12 public school districts and charters can reopen in the fall. 

Photo of a machine and workers laying asphalt on a road
peuceta via iStock

The Utah Department of Transportation’s budget could shrink by up to $1.5 million next year due to falling tax revenues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo of a chain link fence
Steve Gehrke of the Utah Department of Corrections

A legislative subcommittee approved plans Wednesday to cut up to nearly $45 million in funding for Utah’s courts and Department of Corrections. 

Illustration of a student at a table with a backpack gathering dust.
Renee Bright / KUER

Audri Robbinson is worried about her kids. Like many parents, she became a second teacher to them after state leaders announced in-person classes would be temporarily suspended in March. But it's been an ongoing challenge to keep Vincent, 4th grade, and Viauna, 2nd grade, engaged outside the classroom.