Devin Thorpe, Democratic candidate for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District
Occupation: Author, speaker, journalist
Hometown: Provo, Utah
Residence: Salt Lake City, Utah
Education: BS in Finance from University of Utah; MBA from Cornell University
1. What is your position on Utah’s coronavirus response, and do you support mask mandates?
I believe our federal government has failed in providing proper leadership and relief to the people most impacted by the pandemic. The administration punted the hard decisions to the state and local governments, and simple issues of public safety have become unduly politicized. The science is clear that masks and social distancing drastically reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Without a widely distributed vaccine, the only way that we can get our economy moving and students back in the classroom is to have broad adherence to the health guidelines.
On the federal level, Congress must act now to provide further relief to the workers and small businesses that are hurting right now. We cannot continue to allow partisan politics to get in the way of providing real solutions and leadership for the American people.
2. What is your view on the ongoing protests for racial equity and police reform?
The Preamble to our Constitution lays the roadmap for how we are to guide our country forward: “create a more perfect Union, establish justice… and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” We are all in this together as we continue to strive toward an even more perfect Union. To do so, we must protect the rights and ensure equal protection under the law for all people.
We place great trust in our law enforcement to serve our communities and keep us safe. When there are failings in the system, we recognize the potential to make changes that will enable law enforcement to better serve all members of our community.
I support implementing common-sense reforms to increase transparency and improve police practices, including doing away with chokeholds and carotid holds, implementing a comprehensive data collection system, providing trained social workers or mental health professionals to respond to mental health calls, and creating greater accountability for misconduct.
Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the United State have suffered disproportionately due to inequalities in the criminal justice system, as well as system inequalities that have impeded home ownership, education, employment, equal pay and wealth creation for generations. The three central issues of my campaign platform are reversing climate change, ensuring access to affordable healthcare, and eradicating poverty. Addressing these issues in addition to policing reforms—that have a disproportionately negative impact on minority communities—will hopefully create a more perfect, equitable union.
3. What are the top three issues affecting Utahns?
In my travels throughout the district over the last 9 months, the three issues that voters bring up most are the rising cost of healthcare, climate change and clean air, and securing the gaps in our social safety net. For nearly a decade, I have worked to eradicate extreme poverty, improve global health, and reverse climate change. I have concluded that the best way for me to accelerate my impact, is to run for Congress to represent the people of Utah’s Third District.
The pandemic is revealing deep flaws in our healthcare system. While we have some of the best doctors and facilities in the world, our health outcomes are mediocre. Our healthcare system is sick. Insurance is too expensive and covers too little. Americans with insurance should not go bankrupt paying for medical care. No one should die here because they don’t have insurance. I will work for a solution that will cover everyone affordably.
Utahns care as much as I do about ending poverty. I will help restore the dignity of work, by ensuring that workers are safe and earn a fair wage. We can’t expect people to work if having a full-time job leaves them in abject poverty. America’s economy is suffering more than ever and a rapid recovery requires bold solutions focused on people not big corporations.
Climate change represents the greatest threat to this generation of Americans. It is also the biggest opportunity. In this decade, we will make massive, profitable investments in renewable energy, clean technology and transportation. This will drive financial returns for entrepreneurs, create high-paying jobs for Utahns and improve air and water quality for all of us. I will work with members of both parties to accelerate a just transition to a green future.
4. How will you vote in the presidential election?
I plan to vote for Joe Biden for President. I believe that he not only represents Utah’s values of honesty, integrity, and compassion, but I believe his policies will ensure a bright future for all Utahns. My hope is that following this election, we can begin to heal our divisions and come together to create bold solutions to the problems facing everyday Americans.
5. What, if anything, would you like to communicate to Salt Lake Community College students specifically?
There are serious issues facing our country right now. Far too many Utahns have filed for unemployment and may struggling to figure out how to pay their rent and afford healthcare. We need experienced leaders that understand the values of the district and aren’t afraid to tackle these issues head-on. I have vowed not to take any money from corporate PACs. I will work for the people of Utah’s 3rd congressional district to ensure a better future for everyone—I won’t work for special interest or be constrained by partisan politics.