Alliance for a Better Utah Staff

Chase Thomas

Policy and Advocacy Counsel

Chase joined Better Utah in January 2016 as our Policy and Advocacy Counsel. He first started working with Better Utah as a Mary Alice Woolley Public Service Fellow from the BYU Law Class of 2015, a generous year-long fellowship from the BYU Law School, from which Chase graduated in April 2015.

During his time at BYU, Chase interned with the ACLU of Utah, as well as in New York City with the LGBT Project of the National ACLU. Chase was very involved at BYU as an editor on the BYU Law Review, chair of the Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, and the leader of the first-year mentoring program. He was also president of BYU Law’s chapter of the American Constitution Society—a national network of progressive lawyers, judges, and policymakers—helping contribute to a more robust discussion at BYU surrounding legal and policy issues affecting Utah and the nation.

Before moving to Utah for law school, Chase graduated with a degree in political science from Arizona State University. Although he was born and raised in Arizona, he lived in the Fort Worth, Texas area for two years while he served a mission for the LDS Church during which he learned to speak Spanish and gained an appreciation for the hardships immigrants face while living in this country without documentation.

Favorite Movie Quote: “Not my daughter, you b***h!”  — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Chase apologizes profusely for his language, but cannot deny that this is one of the greatest lines ever to be spoken in cinematic history.)

Favorite Food: Pizza!! (with white sauce, not red because tomatoes are disgusting)

Favorite Book: The Wheel of Time series (and yes, he is counting 14 books as one book…)

How can we make a Better Utah?

I believe that we can make Utah a better place by refusing to be silent about the issues that are important to us. There are more progressives and moderates here in Utah than we are made to believe. Will we ever be a New York or California? I doubt it and I’m not sure if that is what I would want this state to become. But if our government officials and politics more adequately represented the population, I believe Utah would be a much better place for all those who live here. But for that to happen, we have to let them know we’re here. So speak up! And even more importantly, VOTE!

c: 480.532.1880

Madison Hayes

Content Manager

Madison Hayes joined the Better Utah team as their Content Manager in March 2016.

Maddie received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Vassar College and graduated in 2015. While at Vassar, she spent a semester abroad in Australia with a Sustainability and Environmental Action program through the School for International Training. During this semester, she had her first experience interning for a nonprofit, the Rainforest Information Centre. Her senior year, she volunteered for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance’s “Wilderness Week” lobbying event in Washington, D.C. Following graduation, she interned in SUWA’s D.C. office providing legislative and grassroots organizing support.

Working for SUWA and reading works by Terry Tempest Williams inspired Maddie to return to Utah, her home state. Aside from having a deep appreciation for the landscape, she could not help but feel committed to the multitude of issues Utah faces.

Favorite Movie Quote: “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour…we’re gonna see some serious s***.”  –Back to the Future

Favorite Food: Chocolate. All things chocolate. (She has a slight sugar addiction.)

Favorite Book: Of course she’d say Harry Potter. She is partial to Prisoner of Azkaban — because she loves Lupin, and loves that Voldemort isn’t around! (Spoiler alert?)

How can we make a Better Utah?

Keep pushing back – not falling into a sense of complacency is essential to keep issues moving along, no matter how long it takes!

Laura Boyer

Karen Shepherd Policy and Advocacy Fellow

Laura joined Better Utah as a Karen Shepherd Policy and Advocacy Fellow in August 2017.

Laura graduated from Brigham Young University in 2017 with a degree in Political Science, focusing on political aspects of global development and environmental protection. While at BYU, she spent extensive time researching and working with nonprofits in parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Specifically, Laura spent three months in northern Thailand researching factors that influence a community’s willingness to support nonprofits. She later presented her findings at a national conference, winning an award for her original research. Additionally, as president of the club, Students for International Development, Laura endeavored to increase awareness of complex social issues, such as women’s rights, environmental protection, and poverty alleviation.

Laura has also been involved with nonprofits on a local level. As a native Utahn, she grew up enjoying the beautiful Wasatch and was cognizant of Utah’s pressing political concerns. As such, she felt a need to volunteer with organizations striving to improve the community and Utah’s political climate. Laura interned with the International Rescue Committee and is a member of various nonprofits along the Wasatch. When Laura is not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors rock climbing, skiing, and peak bagging.

Favorite Movie Quote: “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs. Dinosaurs eat man. Women inherit the earth.” — Jurassic Park   (Disclaimer: Not a man hater, Laura just loves those #strongninetieswomen)

Favorite Food: Cottage Cheese. Call her weird, but she loves just straight-up, plain cottage cheese and eats it everyday.

Favorite Book: The Harry Potter series. Specifically, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

How can we make a Better Utah? 

I believe lack of empathy and genuine compassion cause so many of the political problems in our society. I think that in order to make a better Utah, we need to increase understanding and compassion in our community. Doing so will allow us to have better conversations and create balanced solutions for the many issues facing our state. I hope that as a community, we can make Utah a more compassionate and open place for everybody.