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This school board member seeks to unseat Wayne Harper, Utah’s current longest-serving state senator

Republican Harper has been in the state Legislature since 1997. Christina Boggess, challenging Harper in Utah’s Senate District 19 primary, thinks that is long enough.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Wayne Harper, left, and Christina Boggess, candidates for the GOP nomination for Senate District 16.

Wayne Harper first joined the Utah Legislature in 1997 and regularly ranks among the top in the body in bills sponsored and passed. But this year the Senate District 16 lawmaker is facing a Republican primary election against challenger Christina Boggess, who has been a teacher development trainer and last year joined the State Board of Education.

Democrats did not field a candidate in the district, but the winner will still have to face unaffiliated candidate Monnica Manuel in November’s 2024 general election.

The Salt Lake Tribune submitted the same set of questions to each candidate asking about issues readers said were important to Utah. Harper did not respond, so only Boggess’ answers are below and may have been edited slightly for length, style or grammar.

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?

Christina Boggess: The presupposition implies that there aren’t people looking at energy. This is not true. Utah has an abundance of energy solutions and mineral wealth. As our nation’s energy demands increase, Utah should be poised to provide solutions. Utah is already a leader in oil, gas, coal, and uranium. The only thing preventing our state from having a much more significant impact is the federal administrative state. It is best to have a diversified energy portfolio of assets. All energy should be affordable and reliable to meet the needs of Utah’s growing population and economy.

Harper: No response.

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

Boggess: This question’s presupposition negates fact and makes implications that cannot be reconciled with the historical record. I cannot answer a question with a fundamentally false presupposition.

Harper: No response.

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?

Boggess: The government shouldn’t be involved in behavior modification endeavors. To do so is authoritarian at its core. Corporate America should not get a free pass on water usage; however, the presupposition of the second question bates the first, and I oppose any move of the government to engage as an authoritarian state.

Beyond this the final question’s presupposition is also false, implying that there has been no natural rebound of the water table record in history. This is not true. If the question was built on a true presupposition, it could be answered. It cannot be answered in this format.

That stated, Utah is a state that “loves lawns.” While it is not a legislative issue, I would love to see local municipalities evaluate restrictions on xeriscape yards and the micromanagement of private land.

Harper: No response.

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

Boggess: I don’t support any legislation until I read it.

Harper: No response.

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

Boggess: The equality of man shall never be understated; this extends to the pre-born child.

Harper: No response.

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

Boggess: At this time, I oppose this amendment. Governments often play a shell game with money and tax liability. Utahns need to remember that mobilizing the tax burden is not relief. Taxpayers should know where money is being allocated and the purpose of the tax. Removing the earmark creates fertile ground for legislative malfeasance and financial instability of the systems funded by the earmark. The trajectory of the current legislature causes one to be concerned that the removal of this earmark will cause taxes to increase.

Harper: No response.

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