INFORMED DECISIONS 2016 Snapshots: U. of Utah Conducts Focus Groups

This is not intended to be an original piece and is meant to build a writing sample portfolio. This is a rewrite of original University of Utah press release found at gardner.utah.edu

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Salt Lake City (Aug. 1, 2016) – More educational opportunities that lead to earning a degree or certificates. Increased assistance for teachers through state funding. Building consistent Utah Transit Authority performance and service levels. Reevaluating the state’s stance on gas tax and taxing e-commerce transactions.

Education, infrastructure and taxes issues were revealed to be the most important issues to Utah voters by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and the Hinckley Institute of Politics during its focus groups last April and May for the INFORMED DECISIONS 2016 campaign.

“The issues presented in these Snapshots, along with upcoming events and issue briefs, will help voters and candidates alike prepare for the voting booth,” said Jason Perry, Hinckley Institute of Politics Director.

In a collaboration with KSL Broadcasting and the Deseret News, six focus groups made up of citizens from the public, business, nonprofit organization and government backgrounds to build an image of what Utahns will value as the general elections approach in November.

“We put a lot of stock in the heartfelt comments made by these community members and leaders, and we’re grateful for their insights,” said Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Director Natalie Gochnour.

Education

  • Increased priority given to early childhood education.
  • Educators need to be valued at a higher level.
  • Access to postsecondary education is essential for all Utah families.
  • More stability and funding from state legislature was requested.
  • For details about this focus group conducted in concert with the Utah Education Policy Center, please visit gardner.utah.edu.

Infrastructure

  • Legislature should continue to try increase the gasoline tax.
  • Frustration about performance of Utah Transit Authority, especially in western Salt Lake County.
  • The issue of subsidizing, instead of monetizing, use of water and lack of incentive to conserve.
  • Long-term strategic planning for transportation, air quality along with land and water use.
  • For details visit gardner.utah.edu.

Taxes

  • Efficiency, fairness, simplicity and transparency is needed.
  • Taxing online purchases has its share of support.
  • The state has managed the Great Recession in an effective manner.
  • Tax breaks for out-of-state corporations were not supported.
  • For details visit gardner.utah.edu.

The next component of the INFORMED DECISIONS 2016 platform is a series of Candidate Conversations beginning Monday, June 20 at 10:30 a.m. in the Moot Court at the University of Utah. Republican Third District Congressman Jason Chaffetz and his Democratic challenger Chia-Chi Teng will be in attendance.

“We hope the findings will spur everyone to learn more about the issues and cast votes during this year’s important primary and general elections,” Gochnour said.

The event will be broadcast on KSL-TV and live streamed on hinckley.utah.edu. More information is available at gardner.utah.edu and hinckley.utah.edu.

“While national politics is predictably taking center stage, Utah voters have a chance to make a real difference at the state and local levels,” said Perry.

By: Mike DeVine

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