US Senate candidate Brad Wilson discusses government spending, economy at Provo town hall

By Carlene Coombs – Daily Herald | Dec 11, 2023

U.S. Senate candidate Brad Wilson held a campaign event in Provo hosted by Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith, attracting around 30-50 attendees to the Saturday morning event.

Wilson, who was the Utah House Speaker before resigning his speakership in November, is running to replace U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, who announced in September he won’t seek reelection.

Smith introduced Wilson by telling the crowd about the Kaysville Republican’s work earlier this year to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to enshrine the sheriff’s office in the Utah Constitution. During the 2023 legislative session, Wilson sponsored a House resolution that would allow Utahns to vote on a constitutional amendment in 2024 to ensure the county sheriff’s office remains an elected position.

The former state House speaker touted his record in the Utah Legislature, noting that, under his leadership, the governing body had reduced taxes three years in a row.

State income tax was reduced in both 2022 and 2023, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, and some tax cuts also occurred in the 2021 legislative session.

“There’s no one that’s going to get in this Senate race that can match my record on restraining spending in government and cutting taxes,” he said.

Wilson spent much of his message criticizing President Joe Biden for rising inflation and “reckless spending” in the nation’s capital. The candidate blamed increasing housing costs and prices for other living expenses on fiscal policies under the Democrat’s presidency.

“I’m growing increasingly concerned that one of our biggest threats are liberal policies back in Washington, D.C., that are threatening the very livelihood and the lives that we have in this country,” he said.

Reining in government spending was another focal point for Wilson. During an interview with the Daily Herald after the town hall, he said lawmakers could cut spending through social service program reform. He added the federal government spends too much in areas it doesn’t need to, such as the U.S. Department of Education.

“You’ve got to have serious lawmakers back there that willing to go through the federal government, item by item, or at least category by category and saying, is this a proper role for government? If it’s not, let’s stop spending it at the federal government level,” he said.

A majority of the town hall was spent doing a Q&A, with attendees questioning Wilson about his views on fiscal policy, limited government and former President Donald Trump.

When asked about his thoughts on Romney and his criticism of Trump, the candidate said he would vote for Trump if he became the Republican nominee.

“​​It is really important to me that we have Republicans back in Washington, D.C., that are all playing for the same team,” he said, without providing an opinion on Romney’s criticism of the former president.

In discussing compromise with the group, Wilson expressed that there are times when “there’s no compromise,” pointing to when he, along with other Utah lawmakers, overrode the governor’s veto on legislation barring transgender girls from participating in school sports.

He expanded on compromise during an interview with the Herald, saying compromise can “be dangerous” if it’s not done with consistency and while still aligning with one’s values.

“I have a history of working really well with people from a lot of different political backgrounds and political perspectives,” he said. “That’s not going to change in the U.S. Senate. But it doesn’t mean you need to compromise on your values.

Other issues Wilson hopes to champion for Utahns in the U.S. Senate are managing growth and addressing water and transportation.

Other candidates for the Senate seat include former Mike Lee staffer Carolyn Phippens, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, Roosevelt Mayor Rod Bird, political commentator Tyrone Jensen, data scientist Gabriel Lobo-Blanco and accountant Josh Randall.