Becky Edwards, a U.S. Senate candidate running to replace two-term incumbent Sen. Mike Lee in the upcoming Republican primary, spoke to a small group of student supporters Wednesday night at a Vineyard home.
Edwards addressed the 24 in attendance, detailing her plans to help fix a “broken congress.”
“Congress isn’t doing their job,” she said. “They’re not working with each other; they’re not working across the aisle or even with their own parties.”
Edwards said her experience representing Davis County in the Utah House of Representatives from 2009-2018 prepared her to engage in the bipartisan work of compromise that Washington lacks.
“The people of Utah want to see someone representing them in the U.S. Senate who has a track record of getting things done,” she said. She emphasized the importance of bringing all voices to the table and building consensus to create the best legislation possible.
While in the Utah House of Representatives, Edwards was the primary sponsor behind HCR7, which made Utah one of the first Republican-led states to officially recognize climate change. Edwards said her ability to include everyone in the discussion also led her to make legislative advances in the realms of air quality, healthcare and affordable housing.
After her fifth term in office, Edwards did not run for reelection, because she said she set herself a 10-year term limit when she began serving in the position. She and her husband were later called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in American Samoa, where she acted as the area mental health adviser. They returned home in January 2021.
Edwards said the mission provided her outside perspective, which allowed her to see with greater clarity the unhealthy state of American politics.
“Watching the divisive dialogue around politics just increase in a really destructive way, I thought we can do better. We need to do better,” she said.
Edwards announced her campaign in late May 2021 and has been traveling Utah since, talking with constituents like those gathered in Vineyard on March 9. Through her many conversations with Utahns, she said a theme has emerged.
“I’m hearing from people across this state who are yearning for and hungry for a leader who is effective in working in a proactive, productive and inclusive way,” she said.
Her campaign motto reflects that idea: “Productive. Inclusive. Proactive.”
Edwards said if she is elected, her “Day 2” initiatives will be summarized into three categories: family economic prosperity, clear air, and immigration reform.
Edwards’ campaign was the first in the race to submit the required 28,000 signatures to appear on the ballot for June’s Republican primary election.
BYU experience design and management senior Brooke Taylor from Smithfield, Utah, hosted the event in her home. She was one of the volunteers who helped collect signatures and has been involved in Edwards’ campaign since fall of 2021.
Taylor said she appreciates Edwards’ openness to address big issues and her desire to include everyone in the conversation.
“She can talk with people from all different backgrounds in order to make a difference in a diverse state like Utah,” Taylor said.
Sabina Williams, another volunteer who helped gather signatures for Edwards, is not from Utah but still wants her voice to be heard through Edwards’ campaign. Williams is from northern Virginia but has lived in Utah since 2018 and is now a senior studying public health at BYU.
Williams highlighted Edwards’ willingness to interact with those from all viewpoints whether they be ideological or otherwise. “We need her because she’s willing to work with everyone and she’s willing to work hard,” Williams said.
Edwards urged those in attendance to register to vote and set their affiliation to “Republican” so they can participate in the Republican primary election on June 28, when the party’s nominee for Utah’s 2022 U.S. Senate race will be decided.
“Mike Lee doesn’t represent the Utah that I love and the Utah that I’m involved in,” Taylor said. “Utah deserves better and I think that better is Becky.”