The pandemic has battered our economic lives. Through no fault of their own, millions have lost jobs, health care, and their businesses. Across CD2 we see the pain and worry of families and individuals struggling to survive this crisis, and we are committed to providing relief. Since May, our campaign has traveled over 4,500 miles listening in small towns, suburbs and urban areas alike. In each of these varied neighborhoods, Utahns are looking for our government to function and our politicians to be responsive—not do the usual blame game and point fingers.
To drive economic recovery, federal funding is needed to support state, local, and tribal governments so educators, healthcare providers, and other essential workers are not laid off. We need to extend COVID crisis unemployment insurance to help those who are out of work. This support will not only continue these essential services but also provide salaries that will generate economic activity in other sectors. This is especially important in rural areas, where broadband access is still far too limited and many residents echo that “the biggest export around here remains our children.”
We need to raise the minimum wage through the actions outlined in H.R. 582: Raise the Wage Act, which has passed the House but languishes in the Senate. We also need to explore ways to make childcare more accessible and affordable to help parents balance work and family.
Pandemic relief for businesses has turned into the second bailout in twelve years for big corporations and Wall Street. The Trump Administration provides help to big businesses and well-connected cronies while small business owners across CD2 jump through hoops but are still unable to access the relief they need and which Congress intended for them to receive. One B&B owner in Torrey, for example, fell into this COVID-relief gap and only got voicemail when calling Congressman Stewart’s office. Small businesses must have support to recover, so Utahn entrepreneurs can get back on their feet and carry our economy forward. This support includes healthcare reform, detailed below.
Elected officials who argue that we cannot afford these investments are the same people who doled out trillions in giveaways to corporations and the wealthy over the past three years. Now they say there is no money left for working families and small businesses, but this is simply not true. We as a country have ample resources to bring hope and security to American families. It is a matter of priorities. It is a matter of will. It is a matter of caring enough.
Economic recovery requires a real strategy to deal with the pandemic and people-first policies focused on families, small businesses, and local economies. A comprehensive approach to economic recovery requires that we also address the public health crisis comprising healthcare that leaves millions uninsured and a global pandemic that has become politicized in the U.S.
Read more about Kael Weston’s issue and policy priorities.