US Congress, Utah District 1, Jamie Cheek

— 1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? —

I feel I was a very active participant in the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum project. I donated multiple times to the printing costs for the packets as well as the upstart costs. I also actively worked to obtain signatures from citizens in Weber County. I spent evenings on Weber State University’s campus getting signatures from students after their night classes. Once Harmon’s opened their doors to our cause, I did a couple tabling shifts there as well. In the end, I was able to submit 3 packets to the Weber County office. I was even able to get my husband involved and he submitted 1 pack of his own!

— 2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? —

Taxes on basic necessities like food and gasoline disproportionately impact the most vulnerable people in our communities. I am generally opposed to regressive tax systems that hit the working class much more than others. For a millionaire who pays $1000 per year in taxes on groceries and gas, that tax amount is pocket change. However, for someone working a full time job making minimum wage, that same $1000 per year is a substantial percentage of their income – so much so that these taxes could price them out of their housing and healthcare.

— 3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? —

Basic and essential services should not be taxed. I may support taxes on luxury services as long as they were implemented fairly and without consideration to special interests or powerful lobbies. Taxes on services are generally regressive and thus not preferable to a more progressive tax system that scales up with income.

— 4. Many Utahns felt that after the town halls and committee meetings that the legislative tax task force held throughout 2019 that their concerns were not heard and that special interests wielded too much influence. On the other hand, many legislators felt that the people didn’t understand the issue or the solutions that they put forth. If elected, how would you respond to the concerns and issues that your constituents bring to you and how would you educate them on the issues you are dealing with? —

First, my campaign does not accept any money from special interests, so I would not be beholden to anyone but my constituents. Second, one of the biggest reasons I am running is out of a persistent frustration with our current legislators both in Utah and in Washington – they rarely ever respond to constituent concerns, pass off the responsibility of listening to their staff, and send templated impersonal and irrelevant form letters and emails in response to every inquiry (I have received 4 of the same responses from Senator Romney this week alone). I will not do that. Constituent services are of the utmost importance to me and they must be prioritized over pandering to special interests. I would hold town halls regularly, setup dedicated call time to spend with constituents in my district rather than donors, and personally respond to every email that a constituent in my district sends to me. Education is a two-way street. Elected officials have a role to play in educating members of the public about the issues, but too often they forget they also have a role to play in being educated by those most effected by the issues.

— 5. Are you willing to vote against bills that legislative leadership wants you to support even when threatened with losing coveted committee positions, having your legislation held hostage, etc? Explain —

Absolutely. Legislators are elected to represent their constituents, not their party. They must fiercely protect their independence from pressure even when it comes from political allies. My vote will not be held hostage by my own ambitions. The only people I will allow myself to be pressured by are constituents in Utah’s First Congressional District.

— 6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not? —

No, I am not. Utah has one of the lowest per pupil spending rates in the entire country. This amendment would enable the Utah legislature to further undercut funding on K-12 and Higher Education which are critical elements for Utah’s future prosperity. The framers of the Utah constitution had the foresight to know that education funding must be protected from special interests and legislative greed. I think that was wise and we should continue to stop these attempts at eliminating the backstop for education funding just so legislators can line their pockets through corporate welfare and building projects like the dirty, polluting, inland port project in SLC.

— 7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. —

I am the candidate for the working class of Utah – only when we all do better will we all do better. I come from a working class background growing up in rural Wyoming where my whole family worked in the oil fields. I know what its like to live paycheck to paycheck hoping just to get by for another month. I know the panic of checking a bank account near zero or wondering if my check for rent will bounce and leave me without a place to live. I am the best candidate for this position because I know what it is like to be vulnerable and feel like no one in power gives a crap about you. That’s why I’ve chosen a career dedicated to serving the public and it is that same spirit of service that I will bring with me to office.

— Email —

cheekforutah@gmail.com

Jamie Cheek

Biography:

Jamie grew up in Wyoming and moved to Utah nearly a decade ago. She now lives in Ogden with her husband and daughter. She works with the State of Utah, helping many of the most vulnerable populations find greater independence through fulfilling employment. Through her work, Jamie has served as President of Utah’s chapter of Job Placement and Development and is currently the President-elect of the Utah Rehabilitation Association.

Jamie grew up in a rural area. Access to resources was limited and the family struggled to make ends meet. Like many, they relied on programs such as Free School Lunch, Medicaid, and Food Stamps to survive. As a first-generation college student, she was fortunate to receive grant scholarship money but still had to work and take out loans to pay rent, buy food, and afford textbooks. She is one of the success stories, but it was incredibly difficult, and for every success story there are many more who don’t make it because the deck is stacked against them.  She is focused on issues that can make a difference in the lives of Utahns.

She rejects the politics of fear and hate that pervade the status quo. “Utahns are compassionate people and our values are not being represented by our politicians, who remain impervious to public sentiment. It is time to elect someone different — someone who will listen to her constituents and will tirelessly work to make their lives better.”

Website: Cheekforutah.com

Platform Priorities

Affordable Healthcare: The US doesn’t have a healthcare system; we are suffering from a ‘sick care’ system.  It’s the consequence of an underregulated industry that profits when more people receive less coverage. About 1 in 10 people in our district can’t afford health insurance, and many more can’t afford the insurance they have. Every American deserves affordable pharmaceutical, preventative, and emergency care.

Let’s Clear the Air: We should not accept a status-quo that provides out-of-state executives a license to poison Utah’s air. Corporate profits shouldn’t be subsidized by our physical health. We know the long-term impacts of the climate crisis and air pollution. The science is in, the economics are clear, and our planet is sending us an SOS. We can’t surrender to the liars and deniers. We must take immediate action to protect our communities.

Investing in our Future: Utah ranks last in the nation in per-pupil funding for public education. But, throughout the nation, our schools are underfunded, teachers are underpaid, and many high school students now graduate unprepared to meet the challenges of their generation. The zip code of your childhood home should not determine your future income potential. The only sustainable path forward for our nation includes providing every child access to a dynamic education.

Rebuilding the American Dream: The American Dream is retreating into the pages of history. The same economic opportunity that built the middle-class and powered America is disappearing. Vast wealth inequality has forced far too many Americans into the insecurity of a gig-economy. Trickle-down continues to fail us. It’s time to invest in the working-class, unburden the innovative ability of Americans, and restore the American Dream.

Giving Power Back to the People: Government should work as well for you as it does for political donors. This campaign is focused on kitchen-table issues that affect everyone in our district. Meanwhile, Republicans are treating the ultra-wealthy to a five-course meal, then when they dine-and-dash, the rest of us are left to foot their bill. It’s time to give every American a seat at the table, end the corruption in Washington, and build a government that works for the working-class.