Recent U grad campaigns for District 25 House seat

By By Isabella Bravo, Staff Writer

By Isabella Bravo, Staff Writer

Garrett Clark’s campaign T-shirts, logos and signs are green, not red or blue.

“I’m a moderate, let me stress moderate, Republican,” said Clark, the current candidate for House District 25 of the Utah State Legislature and recent U alumnus. This election, Clark’s first, is not about the politics, he said. Instead it’s about the issues that matter most to him: the environment, K-12 education and the U.

Clark said the Republican majority in the Legislature prevented past District 25 legislators from advocating effectively for their constituents, because District 25, located in Salt Lake City, is predominantly Democratic.

“No one but Democrats have been elected in this district since 1982,” Clark said. “I respect the rest of the state for what they are, but the rest of the state is different from District 25. I have no loyalty to either party. I’m running as a Republican to get things done.”

Clark believes that if he runs as a Republican, then that status will open doors to his district that Republicans have kept closed since 1982 and make it easier to pass legislation.

Clark was the campus relations board director at the U for ASUU, a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and participated in kitchen help at the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority house. He attended the U from 2004 to 2006 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Although Clark decided to attend Westminster College for his Master’s in business administration, he said he still has a close connection to the U.

Alyson Bean, a senior in political science and the grassroots coordinator for Clark’s campaign, said the students who work on the campaign are enthusiastic about his candidacy.

“It’s clear that he knows what needs to be done for District 25 and the U,” Bean said. “I don’t align myself with either party. He’s moderate, so I feel really comfortable working for him.”

While in ASUU, Clark visited the Legislature to lobby for the Student Life recreation center at the U. After the Legislature denied the funding, Clark decided the U does not have enough advocates on Capitol Hill. The Legislature approved a bond for the center during the spring 2007 session, but the U is still trying to locate a donor to begin construction.
Help for the U is a primary concern for Clark, said Andy Murphy, a volunteer for the campaign and a U alumnus.

“Garrett and I are both recent graduates,” he said. “We’ll have better connections with ASUU. We’ll work closely with the government arm at the U to see what their legislative needs are.”

Murphy, a Democrat, works as Clark’s campaign manager.

“There are some differences we disagree on, but not enough for me not to help him get elected,” he said.

Although Clark has hot button issues on his platform, he de-emphasizes the political component.

“I’m a very big tree-hugging hippie. That’s not a political thing for me,” Clark said. “Once again, I don’t think there are politics there.”

Clark said he would legislate for more open space, stringent emissions standards and a realistic approach to energy.

“I think that there is a profound lack of vision. (Coal) is a short-term fix for a long-term problem,” Clark said. “Oil shale is dirty and expensive, but we still have energy needs. (Oil providers) can’t be handcuffed.”

Clark spends about 20 hours per week working on his campaign, so far it has cost $3,500.

“It’s been mostly small donations,” he said. “We received $1,000 from the Committee to Elect Republicans, but the majority have been $30 checks and cash.”

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Thien Sok

Recent U alumnus Garrett Clark prepares for his first campaign with the help of fellow U students. Clark is focusing on issues such as K-12 education and the environment.