Alex Brandon, AP
In this Nov. 26, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump points to a supporter as he departs a rally at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss.

I was elected by Utahns to roll up my sleeves and work to fix a broken Washington. As a mayor, I learned that reaching across the aisle is how consensus is forged.

Utahns, whether Democrat, Republican or independent, are frustrated by a lack of progress and common sense in Congress, which reached a new low with the disgraceful occurrence of the longest-ever government shutdown. I was encouraged when President Trump agreed to reopen the government in exchange for a promise to have a debate about border security funding and future discussion on a permanent solution for the DREAMers.

I have invited my brother-in-law to be in the House Chamber for the State of the Union address. He voted for President Trump and he also supported me. Many constituents in Utah’s 4th Congressional District fall into the same category. We have challenges such as rising health care costs and infrastructure needs that merit our attention and urgent action. Agreeing to long-term solutions that are not simply undone by the results of the next wave-year election will take Democrats and Republicans working together.

I hope to hear President Trump renewing his promise to help address health care access and costs made during his 2016 presidential campaign. I believe there is a way for us to put forward and discuss solutions and make a good-faith effort to protect Americans from the threat of losing coverage due to a preexisting condition. Another place where we can find common ground is our need to modernize our nation’s infrastructure. This is an idea which has strong bipartisan support and will help our economy and our quality of life.

The president, along with me and many Utahns, has spoken about watching out for those who rely on Social Security and Medicare, so they will not see harmful changes to these important programs. As more and more Utahns move into retirement, the need to secure the future of those programs has never been more critical. Republicans and Democrats have spoken about the need to resolve the uncertainty that affects 1.8 million "Dreamers" in our country. America is the only country they have ever known. They are enrolled in college, are working and are serving in the military to contribute to the country they love. Finding a permanent solution for them would be a big step forward as we search for comprehensive immigration reforms.

16 comments on this story

In an era of divided government, the only way to move forward is to put forward a plan that Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate can support. Setting up an all-or-nothing scenario is not productive and is a false choice. I was elected not to support one party’s agenda, but to put people over party and to do what’s right for Utah. There are more than two points of view on most of the complicated issues we face. Anyone who thinks that all Democrats and all Republicans think alike hasn’t met the same individuals that I have met — both on the campaign trail and during my short time in Washington.

President Trump has an opportunity to set a productive and positive tone when he gives his address by highlighting the outcomes we all want for our country — safety, security, good jobs, excellent schools and vibrant communities. I’ll be listening for his ideas about how we find common ground and can come together as a country to ensure that the state of our union is strong.