Photo used with permission © 2016 Jan Munger

Q & A with Ryan Poduska

October 23, 2019

A resident had reached out to me with a list of questions to get to know me better and I felt it would be best if I posted my answers here so that everyone was able to see as well. I would like to preface my answers with a brief explanation into the myth that we can only vote for someone that is 100% aligned with our own beliefs. It appears that society is always looking for the “perfect” candidate (a savior so to speak) that will vote the way they will vote all the time and are upset when they occasionally don’t…but when they vote “wrong” in our book, are they voting “correct” for someone else? Having a representative government means they are representing more than just one group – they are representing an entire city, county, district, state, or even country with all the unique differences that are mixed in with those groups which makes it impossible for them to vote 100% the way we would like them to vote. To get along with someone and to really listen to what they have to say should never be dismissed on whether they voted for someone different than you. And we should also understand that there is always going to be someone that knows more about a topic that doesn’t give them a pass to belittle those that haven’t invested as much time or who have been misled by false information.

With that said, here we go…

Q: Which political party do you belong to?

A: I wish we didn’t have political parties as all it does in my opinion is divide our country. In fact, George Washington saw political parties as a major flaw to government as it pits both sides against each other as they try to gain power over the other. That’s one reason why I like local government because it’s non-partisan which causes us to look at the individual and not what party they belong to (the vote by party question at the beginning of a ballot drives me nuts). I consider myself a Constitutional Conservative and have found in the past that there are currently more representatives in the Republican Party that closely align with my beliefs, however, lately that seems to be dwindling as more are forgetting the constitution, proper representation, and fiscal responsibility and seem to care more about following the party than representing their constituents.

Q: Do your beliefs generally follow the party line? If you have differing opinions on certain topics what are they?

A: I think this was already answered above.

Q: Why did you decide to run for city council and what do you hope to accomplish if elected?

A: I applied for the vacancy in City Council back in August of 2017 where I was appointed by the city council and I am now running to hopefully be elected to stay on City Council because I absolutely love our city and where we live. I also have always enjoyed spending my free time serving others in hopes of making their lives better: better informed, better lifestyles, and overall helping to build better/stronger communities. My hope, if elected, would be to continue to devote my time in building those relationships with other entities that will ultimately result in our city having better transportation, unique amenities, maintaining low taxes and our property rights as much as possible (we’ve already lost so much of that well before I was born), and supporting our police, fire, emergency, and fundamental city services.

Q: Do you believe in climate change?

A: Without going into too much detail, I do believe in climate change, just not man-made climate change. I do strongly believe in “actually” taking care of the environment and finding ways to be more efficient, but I’m uncomfortable with government mandated penalties that will destroy our economies or that simply pushes the problem to someone else. As just one recent example to illustrate what I mean, some cities in California are pushing to have all their residents use electric cars by a certain date because of climate change, however to power all those electric cars they need electricity that is still being provided by coal plants in neighboring counties which isn’t fixing the pollution issue. And after the battery life of all those electric cars are spent and are disposed of in other countries, it gives me the impression that the more vocal groups that are trying to impose government-mandated penalties are more concerned about the “appearance” that we are being environmentally conscious by it not being in our backyard when in fact we’re just pushing the issue to another part of the world for them to deal with. I have my own theories of how to help this situation, but the main point is that I don’t have all the answers and am always open and enjoy these type of discussions as we continue to progress forward in technologies and awareness.

Q: Are your political beliefs closely intertwined with your religious beliefs?

A: First, politics has lately become a “religion” for many as they proselyte their cause as if there’s immediate doom to those that don’t follow or others act as a prophet figure that has all the answers and vilifies the other side for not believing. I am grateful for the differences that everyone brings, whether that’s in politics or religion. For those that know me, I never impose my belief structure on others (in politics nor religion), but to try to separate my decision making process to be different when wearing different hats shows a person that is internally divided and doesn’t practice what they believe. Being in public office, I must do my best to represent everyone in my district regardless of their political affiliation, religion (or no religion), income, race, etc. as I do the same in my personal life which leads into the next question.

Q: What is your opinion on liquor licenses in Saratoga Springs? Do you think that more should be issued?

A: As mentioned earlier, I don’t want to impose my own religious beliefs onto others and we build communities and cities together as a whole, not just with those that share the same beliefs. We also must take public and community safety seriously and as with any substance (when not consumed responsibly) that causes some to make poor choices that infringes on others’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness then we need to do what we can to protect those rights (similar to the effects of secondhand smoking). There’s a lot more discussion on my thoughts about the pain alcohol causes with those killed by drunk drivers, domestic violence, and other negative results, but with that said, you may be aware of the State Liquor store that has started the application process to build in our city which I will vote in favor of because it fills a need to residents within our community that currently have to travel far to purchase and it’s an establishment where it’s not consumed at the location but in the privacy of their own home.

Q: What do you think can be done locally to protect our kids from the gun violence that we hear so much about on the news?

A: In my opinion, gun control is not the answer as that will only punish law-abiding citizens and not criminals who already have no intention of obeying our laws who will also be able to easily identify their targets with our “Gun-free Zone” signs. I’m a strong believer of our second amendment right to bear arms. An example of this is with emergency preparedness: Why are we encouraged to have a 72-hour kits in case of an emergency or encouraged to have CPR and other basic medical training? It’s because it takes time for first responders to get to the location to assist us with our needs and we’ll need something until they arrive. In my opinion it’s the same with any immediate life-threatening situation, you teach correct principals and let the people govern themselves. For the most part, gun owners are responsible and have gone through training to have their carry permits (this is similar to the alcohol discussion where most are responsible, but we need some regulation for those that choose not to be). My initial thought for schools is to not require teachers to carry (nor prohibit) but instead have a few police officers at our schools that will provide our kids with a sense of security and the kids also really bond with their resource officers. Of course this increases costs to our schools that would have to be budgeted.

Q: What are your infrastructure concerns and plans? What do you think needs to be done to manage traffic, particularly during rush hour?

A: Unfortunately, UDOT only builds on necessity, however they do plan out into the future which is where our current city council and staff have done a great job in speeding up those future UDOT plans to happen sooner. We had Redwood Road widening sped up by 3 or so years. Mountain View Corridor was also installed sooner than planned. And we will be widening Crossroads Blvd to 5 lanes across the river this coming Spring. In addition, we are already in the design and planning stage for Foothill Blvd extension to be an alternate north/south corridor. We are also preserving land for Pony Express to some day connect to the freeway as another east/west corridor. I commute to North Salt Lake daily for work and I use Frontrunner, so more transportation options such as more routes and utilizing technology such as ride-share apps, etc. will help. However, it’s a double-edged sword because if we free up too much congestion then UDOT won’t see the need since they base it on traffic count…so it’s an ongoing balancing act that is definitely at the forefront of our goals as a city.

Q: What is your opinion on a bridge being built over the lake?

A: I’m all for it in the south end of the city so that we preserve as much of Utah Lake’s views as possible while still improving our transportation needs.

Q: What kinds of attractions/recreation options do you think Saratoga Springs needs? More activities for kids and teens? more restaurants? nightlife options?

A: I would like to see the unique areas of Saratoga Springs be preserved/enhanced such as our current concept plans to preserve/enhance our natural hot springs into a recreational “Lava Hot Springs” destination spot. We are also in the works of master planning our future north marina with camping, beaches, small shops with board walks, and other activities that tie in Saratoga Springs’ recreational historical roots. I would like to see farmers’ markets and continued civic events (which have only continue to get better each year). And now that we have reached 100,000 in population between Eagle Mountain, us, and west Lehi, more commercial will start coming in (such as Costco) and more business parks, which means that restaurants will be coming soon (as they require lunch crowds in order to survive).

Q: Would you support a city-backed network provider for internet like Spanish Fork, Provo, and other cities have done?

A: I’m in favor of the free-market and competition to drive down prices. To be honest, I haven’t researched the financials on this to see if those cities are having to subsidize a lot of the expenses with taxes, but I don’t want government to pick winners or losers in the marketplace and having a universal city internet does just that. Sure a resident could still choose a different internet provide instead of the city’s internet, but as a resident they’d still be paying for it and that’s creating an unfair financial advantage over competitors because they don’t have taxing authority.

Q: If the federal government asked Saratoga Springs to take in refugees from the Middle East, South America, Europe, or anywhere else what would your stance be?

A: First, I would hope the Federal Government would first look for safe areas closer to their own country so as to not uproot them as much as possible. But if the best option is bringing them into our country, as long as it was being done fairly across the other cities so that there isn’t an unfair strain put on our city services, I would welcome them with open arms and work to help them acclimate into their new surroundings and community as fast as possible so they can move past the difficulties they’ve gone through and to feel at home.

Q: Do you think there is anything that we, as citizens can do to support our childrens teachers and give their educations a leg up?

A: From my perspective, and from the teachers I’ve talked to, parents are making themselves too busy to participate in their children’s lives (I’m guilty of that at times). In many cases, both parents work to support a house they can’t afford which means they are not as available to help reinforce at home what is being taught in school. In my opinion, our biggest support we can be to our children’s teachers is to work less, watch TV less, and spend more time engaged with our kids schooling (even if they don’t have homework) that will increase their passion to learn and reduce our teachers’ load.

Q: Who did you vote for in the 2016 presidential election? Do you stand by your vote?

A: This has been a very divisive topic in our country (and throughout the world now) because for many it now depends on how the answer aligns with the one asking the question on whether or not the one answering will be shunned, ridiculed or ostracized. I’m an open book and don’t believe in hiding based on the potential consequences outline above. I fear some will immediately judge and dismiss everything that I’ve said earlier because I’m not part of their “political” religion and we then become persecuted for having a different opinion. With that said, I voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election as most of his priorities and goals aligned with what I wanted to see happen in our country and I do stand by many of the things he’s done for our country. Is he 100% of what I want in a president? Absolutely not. Can we ever have a president that is? Nope. If I had 90% of the media negatively blasting me on a daily basis while on City Council, I’m sure everyone that only got their information from those sources would want to see my demise as well. Lately our society has moved from the mentality of “innocent until proven guilty” to “guilty until proven innocent and when we can’t prove they’re guilty then it’s quickly moving onto finding something else that they are apparently guilty of until proven innocent” and on and on, which is a very pessimistic outlook in life as well as divisive. Reverse the roles and have Hilary Clinton as president and the republicans would be doing the same because it’s more about which party is in control than what is best for our country. I support any president that is doing things to help strengthen our country and freedoms, regardless of their party. They deserve that from all of us and so does our country.

 

Well that’s a little insight into me. Hope it helps everyone better understand me and hope that I didn’t lose any relationships because of being candid and open about my beliefs. And I hope this encourages more to get out and vote (for whoever you choose…hopefully I’ve gain your vote). You can learn more on how to check your voter registration and the simple steps to register online no later than October 29th and vote on November 5th at city hall (if you haven’t already mailed in your mail-in ballot).

 

Sincerely,

Ryan Poduska

Current member of and 2019 Candidate for Saratoga Springs City Council

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