ST. GEORGE — Utah Republican Senatorial candidate Becky Edwards made a two-day stop in Southern Utah to meet with perspective voters and share why she’s running against Sen. Mike Lee in 2022.
“I think that differentiation lies in a simple thing – but that’s also incredibly important – and that’s the ability and commitment and desire to listen,” she said. “To listen and to walk across the aisle in a bipartisan way.”Edwards, who served in the Utah House of Representatives from 2009 to 2018, met with voters gathered at Vernon Worthen Park in St. George Saturday morning and shared what she believes sets her apart from Lee.
During her decade serving in the Utah Legislature, Edwards said she gained a reputation for reaching across the aisle and working out compromises and collaborations with Democrats and others who had different political leanings.
Edwards told those gathered to see her that she feels Utah’s congressional delegation isn’t working in a bipartisan manner, and that it’s hurting Utah.
“I’ve seen a lack of ability to do that quite honestly, and I think it hurts Utah,” she said. “We need someone who will negotiate, compromise and collaborate in a bipartisan way.”
Another difference, Edwards said, was keeping to the idea of term limits. Lee originally ran on the promise of congressional term limits. Legislation he has discussed would limit a senator’s time in Congress to two terms. However, Edwards said Lee running for a third term is not sticking to the two-term limit he originally proposed.
Other topics addressed during Edwards’ visit related to the resurgence of COVID-19 and illegal immigration.“It’s hard to step down,” Edwards said, yet added that when she said she’d step down after 10 years in the Legislature, she did. “Keeping your word. When you say something. Do it.”
With COVID-19 making a comeback in recent weeks, there has been discussion on the national level over renewed mask requirements. There has also been concern expressed about the government mandating vaccinations.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new mask guidelines, CDC Director Rochelle Walansky posted over Twitter Friday that there would be no federal-level vaccination mandates. However, the White House also announced the Biden Administration is looking into ways to promote increased vaccinations where able.
“I think those decisions are best left to the states,” Edwards said. “I think one of the things that’s been the greatest blessing, quite honestly, that we’re seen in our country in a long time is the rollout of the vaccines.”
Edwards said people should consult with their doctors about vaccinations, though she expressed a general support for vaccinations overall.
The topic of illegal immigration followed soon after with a man asking Edwards her opinion on the issue, as well as enforcing immigration policy.
“I do believe in having a process for everyone that is legal and delineated,” she said. “We have to stop illegal entry, and we need to provide for people once they are in our community.”
While Edwards said there needs to be safety on the U.S.-Mexican border and that immigration reform needs to happen, she also said it was a “very complex and difficult” issue that will ultimately need a “nuanced solution.”
The man asking the immigration question replied that he didn’t believe Edwards was answering his questions. He then said he had read she voted for Joe Biden in the last election instead of Donald Trump, which meant she was in favor of policies that, in his view, were harming America.
Edwards confirmed she had voted for Biden, yet declined to comment further as she thanked the man for his questions and opinion and continued to address questions from other attendees.
Throughout the event, Edwards touted her ability to work with Democrats and find bipartisan solutions to complex issues.
“I did that over and over for 10 years in the Legislature,” she said.
She also supported compromise legislation that allows the signature path to the ballot for candidates who wish to bypass the state’s caucus-convention system.According to the Salt Lake Tribune, issues Edwards has supported in the Legislature included recognizing the impacts of climate change and the creation of a tax credit for businesses that offered paid family medical leave. She has also advocated for increased investment in affordable housing.
Edwards announced her intent to run against Lee in May. By mid-July, it was reported her campaign had raised $500,000, though over half of that came from Edwards herself with the remainder coming for donations.
Outside of politics, Edwards is a marriage and family therapist and sixth-generation Utahn who, with her husband, has raised a family of four children that also includes nine grandchildren.
“I believe in Utah,” she said. “I value the issues that are important here and I want to make a contribution.”