Freshmen lawmakers are getting their bearings as the 2013 legislative session kicks off. KCPW spoke with two new members of the legislature – from the more than 25 freshman members of the 60th session of the Utah legislature.
Representative Angela Romero, of Salt Lake, is the only new Democrat in the House. She says that her highest priority as a lawmaker is education.
“My biggest goal and what I promised the constituency that elected me is public education,” she told KCPW. “House District 26 is the most diverse district in the state of Utah, and we also have the lowest number of high school graduates.”
Romero said that the workings of the legislature can be unpredictable.
“You learn by doing,” she said. “So the one thing I’ve learned here is to not expect something – because it might change in a second.”
Representative Dana Layton, of Orem, is one of 23 new Republican lawmakers. She says she’s most concerned with preventing bad legislation from being passed.
“I see my job as legislator, first and foremost, (being) to prevent bad legislation – to vote no on things that aren’t good policy, or that maybe even aren’t worked all the way out yet,” Layton said. “I think that the legislative process primarily, thank goodness for Utahns, is designed to kill bills, not to keep them alive.”
Layton said that she takes her role as a lawmaker very seriously.
“Last night, in thinking about coming up and being sworn-in today, I felt quite a weight of responsibility.”
The 45-day session, which began on Monday, runs through March 14th.
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