November 8, 2016 is a date that will be forever burned in my memory. It is the date when the country I love elected an authoritarian with very little understanding of how our government works to the nation’s highest office. The election of Donald Trump, a lazy, narcissistic owner of a corrupt real estate empire, to the Presidency of the United States will be a stain on our nation’s history and all of the sitting members of Congress that are enabling his petulant behavior are dangerously eroding norms that will affect our democracy for decades. As I sat down to my office desk the day after the election, I knew I had to do something. My family’s future and my country’s future depended on it.
My name is Tom Taylor and I am robotics engineer. A year ago I defended my Ph.D dissertation at the University of Utah and had plans to enter the private market and become a regular, productive member of society. Those plans changed when the 2016 election brought some frightening possibilities to the future of our nation. If we don’t do something, we risk doing damage to our democracy that will be very difficult to recover from. I decided that I had to do everything that I could to rebuild Washington.
I grew up in Utah’s 4th Congressional District and am a product of the local public school system. I have a passion for math and the sciences and have grown increasingly frustrated by the willful ignoring of facts and evidence by those in Washington. I became an active volunteer in politics after I earned my degree in mechanical engineering in 2009 and found the job market to be devoid of opportunities because of the collapse of our financial system. Those of my generation grew up with a promise — if we studied and worked hard, there would be a good job waiting for us on the other side. For many like myself, that promise went unfulfilled and if we don’t take action to fix the problems in our government, we not only risk facing a “lost-generation,” but we also allow the same issues to affect future generations.
Some are surprised to find out that Utah’s 4th Congressional District is competitive and has the opportunity to go blue in 2018. Utah’s CD4 was chosen by Swing Left as one of the “swing districts” they are targeting to take over the House in 2018. The incumbent, Mia Love, has hidden from her constituents by refusing to hold town halls and her recent votes on extreme legislation like the AHCA make her increasingly vulnerable. Mia Love has voted along with President Trump 96.7% of the time according to Five Thirty Eight. Now is not the time to play regular partisan politics and anyone that isn’t willing to stand up and fight for the future of our democracy has to go.
For this district, it is all about voter turnout — if registered Democrats voted in both 2014 and 2016, Democrats could have taken this seat in both elections. What is required is a candidate with a bold vision for our future that will fight for the needs of average Utahns. That is why I am running on a progressive platform that will lift up all of us instead of continuing to benefit the wealthiest among us. Here are some of the parts of my platform I am pushing for:
- Medicare for all. It’s time to guarantee healthcare for everyone. No one should be starring down the barrel of bankruptcy due to medical bills and no one should die because we refused medical care to someone for not having enough money.
- Fighting economic inequality. We are facing an extreme amount of inequality that will severely damage our democracy if it isn’t kept in check. When the wealthiest among us can buy politicians in Washington that will craft legislation to further assist the wealthiest, it becomes a vicious cycle that is harming millions of Americans.
- Combating climate change. We are quickly approaching a point of no return that will impact our planet in a way that will displace possibly billions of people. As a scientist I know how important it is to trust the scientific method and come up with solutions that will build a future we can be proud of.
- Campaign finance reform and ending gerrymandering. Our government should be chosen by the people, not those that are currently in office or those that have the most money. The rise of the internet and social media has changed the game when it comes to redistricting. Districts can literally be drawn house-by-house now to strengthen the positions of those already in office and it dilutes our voice.
I can’t do this alone, but with your help we can bring the changes to Washington that are desperately needed. Please sign up for my newsletter at www.tomforutah.com and consider a donation to my campaign. Also, follow me on Twitter @TomForUtah. We can do this.