Politics

Parkite, Caroline Gleich, discusses Senate campaign with TownLift

“A huge part of my campaign is advocating for policies to support Utah’s families, and that includes more resources for caregivers, whether that’s for childcare or for elder care. It includes paid parental leave to make sure that no one has to worry about losing their job if they decide to start a family."

PARK CITY, Utah – Caroline Gleich, a resident of Park City and a Democratic contender for the U.S. Senate, recently spoke with the Townlift about her ongoing campaign and aspirations upon potential election.

Gleich, who has not held public office, was inspired to run for Senate following current Senator Mitt Romney’s call for a “new generation of leaders” to assume office.

Having commenced her campaign in January, Gleich, a seasoned ski mountaineer and longstanding advocate for climate action, finds her aspiration for public office driven by both of these passions.

As a climate activist, Gleich traveled to Washington D.C. often over the past decade, and mentioned having “strong allies” in the Senate and House of Representatives which inspired her to start a campaign for Utah’s open Senate seat.

Gleich also mentioned how she hopes to be a strong voice for younger people in America.

“At 38 years old, I am the average age in America. The average age of Utah is 30, and the average age of the US Senate is 68. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the older generations, and it is imperative that we listen to people from all age groups and respect the wisdom and experience of older generations, but America has also been very clear that we need younger people in Congress,” Gleich said.

Running as a Democratic candidate in a typically Republican state, Gleich discussed her early campaign success which included her fundraising efforts raising nearly $400,000 in the first quarter, raising the most funds as a democratic candidate in Utah in over four decades.

Gleich attributes her early success to Utah’s unique political landscape.

“On the surface, Utah is a deep red state, but I was really encouraged by Nikki Haley’s results in the Republican primary, and by how well the Biden-Harris administration did with young voters in Utah,” Gleich said.

Caroline Gleich at a climate hearing. Gleich’s campaign is mainly centered around taking action on the climate crisis.
Caroline Gleich at a climate hearing. Gleich’s campaign is centered around taking action on the climate crisis. Photo: Caroline for Utah

“We are the youngest state in the nation and we are the fastest growing state in the nation and what really excites me is the opportunity to meet with folks and to talk about the shared values that we have because a huge part of my campaign is advocating for policies to support Utah’s families.”

Gleich also attributes her success to the “growing extremism” in the Republican party.

“Utahns are ready for a new generation of leadership and they’re very disenchanted with the growing extremism of the Republican Party. Growing up in Utah, and then having traveled all across the state now as a candidate, I’m really struck by the warmth that we have and also the global awareness that we have as Utahns.”

“We’re a really warm, welcoming, and inclusive place, with a strong focus on family values, and when I think about the direction that the Republican Party is going, and when I think about the growing hateful rhetoric around immigrants and our LGBTQ plus community, it’s just it’s not reflective of who we are as Utahns.”

Gleich’s campaign will focus on climate crisis

Gleich’s campaign is mainly centered around taking action on the climate crisis to improve the lives of Utahns.

“Taking action on the climate crisis and improving our air quality and ensuring that every Utahn has clean water is a huge priority for me,” Gleich said. “Already we’re seeing some of the impacts of climate change in Park City and in our mountain communities.”

“We’re already starting to see some of the effects from climate change, such as the drain of the Great Salt Lake and how air quality impacts our health. It’s really a public health crisis, and if we don’t take action and if we don’t have strong leadership, to put not only our state but also our country on a track to reducing pollution, we are going to be in a much worse situation.”

If Gleich is elected, one of her first priorities would be to connect electrical grids across state lines.

“One of the first priorities as Utah’s next senator would be to work on 21st century grid integration. And I know that sounds a little bit wonky, but in order to achieve our climate goals, we need to accelerate our transition to clean renewable energy and a lot of that means electrifying our homes and increasing the amount of electricity that go to homes,” said Gleich.

Gleich hopes to ‘reintegrate’ the electrical grid, which would address the intermittency of renewable power sources such as wind or solar.

“(Reintegrating the grid) will also help us as we get more solar sources and our houses become more electrified, and it will help communities keep up with increased electrical loads. Connecting these transmission lines between states is something only the federal government can do.”

In addition to reintegrating the electrical grid, Gleich would also prioritize reducing federal subsidies as part of her climate action plan.

“The government is providing fossil fuel subsidies and Utahns and average Americans are paying the consequences with its impacts of the pollution of burning fossil fuels, and that’s especially felt in frontline communities,” said Gleich.

“The air quality and public health impacts of air pollution are disproportionately felt by marginalized communities. And so by reducing those subsidies or eliminating them, we can really help to level the playing the playing field between renewable energy and fossil fuels.”

Gleich explained how reducing fossil fuels, while it may result in a short-term economic burden, pales in comparison to the possible long-term economic consequences of climate change.

“Clean energy is cheaper, it’s more reliable, and it creates good jobs. Without accelerating our transition to clean and renewable energy, we risk the enormous consequences of climate inaction. For our community in Park City, that’s millions of dollars of lost income in the winter. So without action, there’s a much higher economic burden.”

Campaign will also focus on improving quality of life for Utah families

In addition to Gleich’s climate action plan, she also hopes to be an advocate for families if elected to the Senate.

“A huge part of my campaign is advocating for policies to support Utah’s families, and that includes more resources for caregivers, whether that’s for childcare or for elder care. It includes paid parental leave to make sure that no one has to worry about losing their job if they decide to start a family. There really hasn’t been a strong champion for those values in the U.S. Senate.”

More information regarding Gleich’s campaign can be found on her website, carolineforutah.com.

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