Abe on the Issues

My career took my family to many places. We were in Central Asia - where I saw how poor governance and insular thinking created poverty, homelessness and lack of economic opportunity.  We lived in the Maldives islands, where I saw the impact of climate change and poor transportation on the future of an entire country.  It took us to Nepal, where we saw how air pollution, and lack of investment in infrastructure affected the lives of everyday people.

I got involved in this race for Salt Lake City council because I started to see that we are facing many of those same challenges that I’ve seen in other places…

And as I’ve knocked on doors throughout the neighborhood, I’ve heard you speak of these challenges as well.

  • The first is a concern with the lack of infrastructure maintenance in the City.  We see it every day when we drive down the street, and the potholes swallow up our tires.

  • The second thing that I hear are concerns around the affordability of housing.  Young people are concerned that they can’t continue to live in the neighborhood that they love.  Young families feel they have to move far to the south or far to the north to afford a home for their growing family.

  • We are also very concerned about folks who are experiencing homelessness.  For some they are concerned about the humanitarian crisis we have when there are people suffering on the cold streets. For others they are worried about the crime they’ve fallen victim to - often as a result of folks trying to deal with the crippling effects of addiction.

  • Finally - many in the community are worried about air quality.  Although air quality has improved over the past 30 years, it is still dangerously full of pollutants.

In order to address these issues, I think we have to keep in mind two important principles.

The first is creating unity.  If you think about the 4 problems above, none of them can be improved upon without citizens being united with the government, without the council being united with the mayor, and without the city being united with neighboring Municipalities, the County and the State. It seems that we have a culture of mistrust and skepticism.  Citizens complain that city government is not transparent and open.  Often this lack of unity is created because of the hyper partisan nature of both voters and our elected officials. Sometimes it is because elected officials want to imprint their own agenda on the process. As someone without an agenda, as someone who has created unity to solve big challenges in the businesses I’ve been trusted with - I’m confident I can help create unity for you on the city council as well.

The second challenge is that we sometimes have endless discussion of the problem, we study and we plan, without coming to visible solutions. Often this comes because we don’t connect our intentions with action. As a city council member, not only will I work hard to make sure I listen and understand the issues from your perspective...I’ll work to make sure that your priorities, are actually being executed on by the mayor’s office. I will require the use of good data to measure the outcomes we are focused on.  And I’ll make sure that our actions in government are actually moving the needle on the community’s priorities. I’m confident that the work I’ve done around the world in turning vision into action will serve me well as I serve you.