Kael Weston, Democratic candidate for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District
Occupation: instructor/educator, Marine Corps University, and writer (I previously taught at the Univ. of Utah and Westminster College)
Hometown: Orem, UT
Residence: Salt Lake City, UT
Education: BA, Univ. of Utah, MPhil, Univ. of Cambridge, Fulbright Scholarship, Netherlands
1. What is your position on Utah’s coronavirus response, and do you support mask mandates?
SL County Mayor Wilson and SLC Mayor Mendenhall have shown strong leadership and rightly focused on public health. At the state level, there have been serious shortcomings. COVID has also shown the great disparities — communities of color and the underprivileged have been most affected. The federal government’s response under the Trump administration failed to take the virus seriously and to tell the truth to the American people when it would have mattered most. The same is true for my opponent, Mr. Stewart, who has understated the seriousness of the pandemic. I trust the people. I believe science and facts should guide public policy. I support mask mandates in order to help ensure public health.
2. What is your view on the ongoing protests for racial equity and police reform?
Our police forces need to be reformed. Protests are legitimate and constitutionally protected. Mental health resources and crisis intervention teams need to be better funded. Civilian Review Oversight boards should be strengthened, police training improved, and national-level funds used to ensure accurate reporting of alleged police abuses. I am not anti-police. I am pro-reform. Communities of color fear unequal treatment because data proves as much. In Congress, I would fight for the rights of all, not just some.
3. What are the top three issues affecting Utahns?
1. Public Health and economic issues (job losses) tied to COVID.
2. Growth and cost of living (rent, housing)
3. Clean air, water, and climate change
4. How will you vote in the presidential election?
Biden/Harris. We need to start to repair and rebuild our country on November 3rd and in 2021.
5. What, if anything, would you like to communicate to Salt Lake Community College students specifically?
As someone who has taught college students, I understand the pressures to pay bills and tuition. I, myself graduated with almost $25,000.00 in student loan debt two decades ago. I believe our country should look at free community college education and ways to reduce student loan burdens. I also believe that our politics are failing our people, particularly the most vulnerable among us. I am hopeful that SLCC and other Utah students will vote and help ensure that we get the change we need. Our country needs to get back on track and be a lot less divided. My almost 11 years in the U.S. State Department, seven of those years in Iraq and Afghanistan, taught me how to build bridges, listen, and bring people together. Please visit our website: www.westonforcongress.com