Derek Kitchen

Issues

You can count on me to be an effective advocate for issues impacting Salt Lake City today and in the future. 

A Voice for Salt Lake CitY

Our community is growing fast. We expect to nearly double our population in the next 30 years. This growth presents enormous opportunities as well as challenges. A blossoming population will put pressure on our most valued resources: air & water. I will vigorously defend our legacy of conservation and environmental stewardship. Growth will also compound the existing housing shortage and drive up the cost of living. As a small business owner in Salt Lake City, I know the importance of having a qualified workforce & livable communities. We need to get ahead of these issues so that we can stay economically competitive & continue to be a place where people want to live and raise their families.

Decisions that we make today will impact our community for decades to come. I vow to lead the charge on quality of life issues like air quality and transportation, healthcare, education, and affordable housing. The way that we grow matters. We must do it right, and I'm here to be your champion in the State Senate. 


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Protecting our Public Lands

Our public lands represent what's best about Utah and the west. Federal and state protected lands have created opportunities for conservation & recreation. Through responsible stewardship of these natural wild lands, we have an opportunity to create enormous economic benefits and drive tourism to rural communities in Utah. The long-term benefits of protection far outweigh the short-term profits of oil & gas development. 
I pledge to work with legislators from both sides of the aisle to responsibly manage and protect our heritage and help to cultivate the next generation of residents that appreciate and care for our public lands. 

 


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Clean Air & Transit

Utah is one of the fastest growing states in the country. We have a young population and a strong economy. Growth will continue to present opportunities and challenges for Utah. We must prepare for the future by investing in clean fuel vehicles and move Utah toward adopting renewable sources of energy. 

It's also time to update our state building codes to better conserve energy, and invest in robust transportation infrastructure. I will work with all stakeholders to create progressive policy that prepares our community for the future. 


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Affordable Housing

Our growth will continue to put enormous pressure on our housing stock. Current estimates suggest Salt Lake County has the tightest housing market in a generation. A lack of access to affordable housing negatively impacts young families and lower income individuals, and makes it hard for Utah communities to attract new businesses & grow their tax base. In the Utah Senate, I will work with municipalities to update zoning & land-use to accommodate smart-growth principles that facilitate walkable and dense communities. I will also focus on creative policy that will increase funding to the Olene Walker Housing Trust Fund, and look for ways to further incentivize the development of new affordable housing units. 


Education

Shortly after college, I spent a few years working as an instructor for Second grade students with the Salt Lake City School District. My time in a Title I school was a sobering experience that showed me the true struggles of low-income & underpriviledged students. The experience also filled me with hope. Children are incredibly resilient and their education must be our number one priority.                                                                                               

Our state has a responsibility to invest in our schools, teachers, and students. Utah has the youngest population in the country, and as your Senator I will push for early childhood education. Pre-K is the single most important investment we can make in our young and growing population.          


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Social Justice

Utah can be a rough place for women, minorities, and disenfranchised communities. I hold justice and equity close to my heart. As the lead plaintiff in the landmark federal lawsuit that legalized same-sex marriage and adoption in Utah & 5 western states - Kitchen v. Herbert - I vow to continue to fight for policies that promote inclusion and equity in Utah.

From gender pay parity to a woman’s right to choose, the gender disparity is an unfortunate reality in our state. I will be a strong champion for women’s issues and work to advance opportunities for social participation & career opportunities for Utah women.

Many LGBTQ+ people in our community continue to experience discrimination and violence, I will work across the aisle to strengthen Hate Crimes laws & build understanding for the unique issues that the queer community faces.

As a small business owner that hires refugees & new Americans, I promise to work on policy that creates a safe & welcoming place for immigrants, dreamers, & refugees. Immigrants often face major legal & economic obstacles to achieving the American dream. I will work to amplify the needs of this diverse community and build understanding among Utah lawmakers so that we can better fold diversity into our communities.


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Small Business &

Economic 

Development

We must support the true engines of our strong economy - small & independent businesses. As a business owner and employer, I know the importance of State & local policy that facilitates business expansion and new investment. Small business not only employs the majority of our workforce but it helps to create a unique identity and quality for our neighborhoods. Employers  will go where the employee's want to live. We need to focus on supporting the local economy and on policies that facilitate a high quality of life. 


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Homeless Services

One thing that has become apparent as we've begun to re-align the homeless services system in Salt Lake County is that people from all walks of life can fall into poverty and homelessness. No two stories are the same, and we need to continue to support programming that helps people get on their feet and into the workforce again. State leadership is needed to address the problems of homelessness & addiction that is ripping families and communities apart. The Legislature needs to continue to prioritize homeless services at the State level by funding mental healthcare & treatment for substance use disorder. Further, it's important that we take larger steps to fund the development of affordable housing, as well as innovative programming that will allow individuals to be folded back into our communities. Homelessness should be brief, rare, and non-recurring. 

 


Cannabis Legalization

The failure of the war on drugs came at a great cost to our liberty and public finances. The war on cannabis has cost the US billions of dollars, led to a black market for cannabis that fuels criminals, and contributed to the explosive growth of America's incarcerated population. Cannabis has many medicinal and emotional benefits. We need to allow our research institutions and medical professionals to research and develop applications for medical cannabis. In addition to it's medicinal use, I support full legalization for recreational cannabis. We need to look to our neighbors, Colorado & Nevada, for best practices in legalization and develop statewide policy that protects public health while opening the economic development opportunities presented by cannabis. Legalize it, tax it, grow our economy.