KSL TV ‘Politics Priority Game’ gets several different answers

Jan 16, 2024, 6:49 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — It can be tough getting people to talk about politics. Unless you ask them to play a game about politics.

“Really? Fun!” Percy Meadows said.

We approached random people at Memory Grove Park in downtown Salt Lake City Tuesday afternoon with a magnetic board and twelve different magnets.

Each magnet was a different issue facing Utah right now, such as clean air, the Great Salt Lake, mental health, transportation, and affordable housing. We then asked people to pick up their top three magnets and rank the issues first, second, and third.

With Tuesday being the first day of Utah’s legislative session, the game was a way to get people talking about issues important to them and why.

(Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

Meadows, who lives in Salt Lake City, picked homelessness as her number one issue.

“It’s like, where else are they going to go? So, they just get moved around and these poor people don’t have the right resources. It would be nice if we could do something more for them,” she said.

Salt Lake City resident Thomas Lopez chose homelessness as his second biggest issue, but only because he says it comes from his number one issue: mental health.

“In Utah, I think mental health isn’t… people don’t care about it very much and they are not putting it first,” he said. “I was homeless, and I understand it, and mental health is why there are so many homeless people here in Utah.”

Paying more attention to mental health is also what David Bevacqua put as his number one issue he would like to see Utah legislators prioritize this session.

“It is so important,” he said. “It is like the days of thinking everyone can handle it and be tough are kind of coming to an end, hopefully.”

Bevacqua almost put the shrinking Great Salt Lake as his number one issue, but after thinking about it, he decided mental health is more important.

“Help the people and then fix the lake,” he said.

(Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

Helping people is what Paul Davidson had in mind when he chose transportation as his most important issue.

“I use Frontrunner from Ogden to Salt Lake and it is wonderful. But I hope that continues to be a progressive in that frame that people can get in and out of these large population areas,” he said.

Davidson would like to see more investment in mass transit to expand FrontRunner and TRAX. He also likes the recently opened West Davis Corridor.

“I think it has made a huge difference in traffic and congestion,” he said.

Davidson chose clean air as his second most important issue and renewable energy as his third.

“I really think we should take another look at nuclear energy,” Davidson said.

For her second most important issue, Meadows chose the shrinking Great Salt Lake.

“It is drying up and there are a lot of carcinogens in the water that are going to kill us in a couple of years,” she said. “It is going to take a big, huge movement, and I hope we can get our stuff together.”

For her third most important cause she hopes legislators address, Meadows chose transgender issues.

“Utah isn’t as safe as it should be for transgender people,” she said. “The University of Utah has really good transgender healthcare options but outside of that, you don’t see it covered much here.”

For his second most important issue, Lopez said you can’t ignore affordable housing.

“Many people are struggling for money, so it is super important,” he said.

Of course, we only came up with 12 issues for the game we played with people. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of more issues that are important as well.

We also played the game in Salt Lake City, where transportation and clean air were usually in the top three. If we were in another part of the state such as Garfield County, you might see land rights concerns picked more.

In St. George, you might get more people choosing water rights and the drought as the priorities. In Logan, there’s a good chance more people would choose issues related to farming and agriculture.

It certainly isn’t easy to represent everybody but that is what the legislature is trying to do. When this session ends, people will decide if those legislators were successful or not.

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KSL TV ‘Politics Priority Game’ gets several different answers