Prioritizing the Environment
Clean air is a constant concern for residents of the Salt Lake valley, and outdoor access is one of the highlights of living in Utah. Sahara’s environmental priorities include:
Increasing measures for clean air, including increased accessibility of public transit and incentivizing clean energy.
Protecting public lands from development and overuse.
Urgently addressing the shrinking water level of the Great Salt Lake and long term security of Utah’s water resources.
An environmental shift is not something that can be achieved overnight, but making small changes can help improve the overall environmental welfare of Utah. These include incentivizing local governments to add protected bike lanes during road construction and the addition of charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as working with public transit to increase the frequency of buses and trains and the number of free fare days.
Supporting Public Education
Teachers have one of the highest positions of trust and responsibility in the state, and they deserve to be compensated accordingly. Increasing the salaries of teachers is a large aspect of teacher retention, and needs to be addressed at the legislative level. Sahara is an advocate for smaller class sizes, increased public funding for schools, and the overall strengthening of the public school system.
Utah is experiencing dramatic population growth, and while it is important to keep up with this influx, it needs to be done in an intentional way. The state should work to prioritize long-term sustainability in new housing, and incentivize affordability. Additionally, it is important to protect the interests of the people who already live in areas being developed, and design measures to keep them from being displaced.
Strengthening the Arts
Arts and culture is a large part of what makes communities feel like homes. Like so many industries, the arts sector was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing to provide operational support and relief to arts organizations is a priority, as the arts are an integral part of what makes Utah such a vibrant state.
Protecting Queer and Transgender Youth
Every child deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. Recent bills targeting transgender youth are cruel, and need to be challenged directly. In addition to opposing bills that discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community, Sahara plans to work with queer and gender-affirming organizations to propose legislation to improve the quality of life for queer youth in Utah. This includes providing a direct route for parents and students to update names and gender markers in schools, and advocating for the inclusion of same-sex relationships in sexual education courses.
Healthcare is a constant concern for many Utahns, which frequently includes the headaches of insurance battles and opaque information. Sahara prioritizes funding organizations that provide free healthcare for those experiencing homelessness, accessible and legal reproductive healthcare, and requiring insurance providers to include gender-affirming healthcare in their plans.