Republicans Tracy Miller and Rich Cunningham compete for open Utah House District 45 seat

Tracy Miller is a Jordan School District board member; Rich Cunningham is a former House member. They’re running to represent part of Salt Lake County

A former Utah legislator and a Jordan School District board member are running to replace current Rep. Susan Pulsipher in House District 45. Pulsipher, who was first elected in 2016 and has served since 2017, is not seeking reelection.

Tracy Miller, who serves on the Jordan School District’s board of education, and Rich Cunningham, a member of the Utah House from 2013 to 2017, are vying for the open seat. House District 45 represents central Salt Lake County, including Sandy and parts of South Jordan.

The Tribune sent each candidate six questions, gave them a deadline and word limit and informed candidates that their answers may be edited for clarity and length. Cunningham declined to answer.

1. Utah’s largest electricity provider has canceled plans to replace its coal-fired power plants with nuclear power and has walked back comments about investing in clean energy.

Should Utah, while it actively supports housing and business development, also be looking for more sustainable and less fossil fuel and carbon-dependent energy sources?

Tracy Miller: Utah should be actively seeking more sustainable energy sources as our state continues to grow. However, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced approach. Fossil fuels are still an important part of our economy and energy mix, providing stability and reliability. A thoughtful transition to clean energy is necessary to ensure we don’t harm our communities or cause economic disruptions. This should be done by encouraging innovation and development in the private sector. By investing in a diverse energy portfolio, we can ensure energy independence, protect our environment and keep costs manageable for families and businesses.

Rich Cunningham: Declined to answer.

2. Yes or no: Is climate change negatively impacting Utah?

Tracy Miller: (Did not give a “yes or no” answer.) We are experiencing environmental challenges in Utah particularly with air quality and water. We need to continue to take steps to promote clean air, to save the Great Salt Lake and to plan for the future.

Rich Cunningham: Declined to answer.

3. Water scarcity continues to be a challenge for the state. Recent legislation has attempted to conserve water and get more to the Great Salt Lake and Colorado River.

Should Utah do more to subsidize homeowners to conserve water? Should laws require large users to pay more for water? What other steps should state government take to deal with water scarcity? (150 words max)

Tracy Miller: The last few years the legislature has focused on water conservation and future water supplies. I am supportive of the recent bills passed including current subsidies in place to encourage homeowners to conserve water. I believe we should incentivize responsible water usage and new innovation. I support laws that require large water users, such as those doing mineral extraction, to reduce water usage.

Rich Cunningham: Declined to answer.

4. Yes or no: Do you support building the Lake Powell Pipeline?

Tracy Miller: I support building the Lake Powell Pipeline to help our Southern Utah communities.

Rich Cunningham: Declined to answer.

5. Triggered after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, Utah’s current law bans nearly all abortions — except in instances of sexual crimes, when there is a fatal fetal abnormality or when the mother’s life is at risk. For now, that law is currently on hold in the courts and an 18-week ban is active in Utah.

More or fewer: Should Utah’s trigger law have more or fewer restrictions?

Tracy Miller: I am pro-life and pro-family. I support the current Utah law banning abortions except in instances of sexual crimes, when there is a fatal fetal abnormality or when the mother’s life is at risk.

Rich Cunningham: Declined to answer

6. For or against: Are you voting for or against the constitutional amendment that removes the requirement that income taxes be used for education and social services?

Tracy Miller: I am in favor of removing the income tax earmark for education and social services. While the earmark for education has been in place for many years, it does not guarantee the money will be allocated and distributed to our public schools. The constitutional amendment does include a guarantee that public schools will receive an increase to the WPU each year to account for growth and inflation. It also establishes the Economic Stabilization Account that will be used to fund the WPU increase when revenue sources are down.

Rich Cunningham: Declined to answer.

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