Stumping alongside Ted Wilson Saturday were members of the Federation of Democratic Women. The wom-en and the gubernatorial candidate promised to fight against social ailments that "strain and destroy families."
"My campaign theme is `JET,' an acronym representing my focus on `jobs,' `education,' and `taxes.' For me, these are the most pressing problems confronting our great state," Wilson told the federation's spring conference in the Tri-Arc Hotel, 161 W. Sixth South.However, he said Utahns must also address some very vital social issues such as women and children living in poverty, inadequate child care, spouse and child abuse and substance abuse.
These pressing problems were the focus of two panel discussions Saturday morning. Among the panelists were Judge Judith M. Billings, Utah Court of Appeals; Shauna O'Neil, director, Salt Lake County Aging Services; Vee Carlisle, former state representative; Ann Wise, an attorney specializing in civil rights litigation, and other noted women addressing the conference theme: "The Many Faces of Utah: Paradoxes, Conflicts and Tensions of the 1988 Election Year."
Like Wilson, the politically active conference participants agreed that a healthy economy would assist in providing the means to address these issues. But finding ways to solve the problems will require the involvement of both men and women, they said.
"The history of Utah women is a history of strength, courage, caring, nurturing . . . Our traditions in Utah emphasize family life, and we support the family as our most valuable unit of society," Wilson said.
But the politician said families have changed. More families are headed by single women, and more families face a necessity for both parents to work.
"Of the women in Utah, 59 percent are in the labor force as compared to 54 percent for the United States," Wilson said. "In the 30 years between 1950 and 1980, labor-force participation rates for Utah women more than doubled. Considering that the number of years an average 20-year-old woman can expect to spend in the labor force has risen to 26 years, we can expect that many women will be working for at least part of the time their children are younger and at home."
And Utah has the youngest population in the United States, Wilson said, with 506,000 children under the age of 13. Of these young people, about 149,412 have working parents and need child care care that may cost more than many families can afford.
Wilson said his agenda includes continued development of two important child-care options: latch-key programs and additional options for employer-sponsored care. He also expressed concern that the issue of women and children in poverty be adequately addressed.