Senate candidate running against Mike Lee doesn’t like partisan ‘ping-pong’

Senate candidate running against Mike Lee doesn’t like partisan ‘ping-pong’

ELIZABETH SMITH / MESSENGER PHOTO
The yellow couch, a symbol of listening and acting for the Becky Edwards’ campaign, will make its way across the state in the back of Edwards’ car. She is challenging Sen. Mike Lee for U.S. Senate in 2022.

EPHRAIM—U.S. Senate candidate Becky Edwards brought her “Yellow Couch Tour” to Sanpete County as she met and talked with residents on a campaign stop.

Edwards, a Republican, will challenge Sen. Mike Lee in the 2022 primary elections.

She was impressed with Sanpete County, she said, and how each town is able to preserve its uniqueness while still staying connected to each other.

“Wouldn’t this be a great place to retire,” she said to her husband, “after the senate run.” 

Ephraim is the second stop on the candidate’s tour around Utah. While serving in the Utah House of Representatives for 10 years, Edwards invited constituents from Salt Lake County into her home to voice concerns; and she said she would act on those concerns. After leaving the House in 2018, she is back and she is extending her old tradition to the rest of the state.

“I knew that I couldn’t have the whole state in my living room, but I knew we could take a piece of my house,” Edwards said of the yellow couch she is hauling to different towns. 

Edwards has criticized Sen. Mike Lee for his support of the Trump Administration on some issues and she voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Edwards’ campaign is focused on affordable housing, clean air and education, among others, which she said some argue are “not Republican issues.”

“These are issues that transcend labels, they transcend parties,” she said.

Amid a polarizing political climate, and an ever-dividing Republican Party, she said she is hoping to give voices to the voiceless and promote unity. She encouraged Republicans who are feeling disheartened not to leave the party. 

“I don’t enter this race lightly,” she said. 

Edwards said she is wants to energize disenfranchised populations in Utah by “letting people know they matter and their voices are heard.”

As member of the Utah House, she said she worked to include all stakeholders on pieces of legislation, such as the 2015 antidiscrimination bill. 

“Nothing gets done when we play partisan ping pong,” she said.

And some Sanpete residents are ready to have a seat at the table. Shannon Allred, an Ephraim resident and the mother of two gay daughters said she was “intrigued” by Edwards’ campaign.

As a liberal independent in Sanpete County, Allred said she is “always looking for middle ground.” 

“She is trying to bring civility back to the Republican Party,” Allred said.

But Allred isn’t the only one in the county that was impressed with Edwards.

Mayfield Councilmember Eric Peterson said he thinks Edwards is the one for the job. She understands that you have to be willing to think outside your own party, he said.

“When you’re a representative, you represent all people,” he said.  He said he was impressed with her determination to come to Sanpete, a county where almost 83 percent of residents voted for Trump in 2020. 

“Healing divisiveness is more important than any policy issue,” Larry Smith of Ephraim said. 

And Edwards said healing is just what she wants. 

 “I don’t want to say brighter days are close,” she said, “but brighter days are ahead.”

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