Crowd of Democrats jockeys for primary win to replace retiring state Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck

With their eyes on an open seat in House District 24, four Democratic primary candidates met to introduce themselves to Salt Lake City voters and to discuss the issues that they feel are most pressing to their constituents.

At a debate this week at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Darin Mann, Jacquelyn Orton, Igor Limansky and Jen Dailey-Provost each told the filled auditorium why voters should choose them come the June 26 Democratic primary.

Orton cited her experience with dozens of political campaigns and working with high-profile lawmakers on important issues, and said she played a role in getting President Barack Obama to designate the Bears Ears National Monument. “I do it in the Legislature every year,” the widow of former U.S. Rep. Bill Orton said at Tuesday’s debate.

While experience in politics was Orton’s selling point, Mann, a 29-year-old who has been involved with various nonprofit and activist groups, said he would serve as a voice for the underrepresented youth — and that a vote for him would be a break away from the political system. He said the volunteers on his campaign support him because they are “tired of the status quo” and want a candidate who will speak to their issues and “be unrelenting in that endeavor.”

When asked about what policies and reforms would give Utah the best educational outcomes, Limansky, who works full-time in Title I schools, said he sees kids come to school without shoes or with empty stomachs. “We need wraparound services in Title I schools to make sure the basic needs of these kids are met,” Limansky said, “so they can be ready to learn.”

Dailey-Provost noted that teaching is “exceptionally hard,” and paused to ask the audience to give a “shoutout” to “everybody in the room who works in the education system. We have to learn to value our teachers,” she said, including paying them more and providing them with comprehensive child care.

This article was originally published in the Salt Lake Tribune. If you would like to read the full article, click here.

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