By Jenna Rakuita—My favorite teacher growing up was Mrs. Jenks. During our first day in class, she sat us down and said, “The truth is, sometimes you can’t do whatever you set your mind to. Some of you will never be track stars because you won’t be able to run fast enough—regardless of how hard you try. Some of you want to be in movies, but you’re never going to be able to act.” In her classroom, I learned that although I might not be good at everything, I could find my niche, and when I did, I would excel.

I have found my niche. 

I’m entering politics because I have witnessed, through my career as a social worker, the impact policy has on our communities. I have seen laws and programs build up and protect families; I have also seen laws exploit families and individuals. I have seen the need for Utah politicians who understand and care about the complexities of poverty, mental health, racism, labor practices, and more. While conducting visits with families in need, I often wished I could educate politicians and community leaders about the issues our neighbors and neighborhoods are facing. I’m running for the State Legislature to give myself and my community that opportunity.

Seventy-one percent—nearly three-fourths—of my district is 18-24 years old. Students and young adults in Provo are tired of being subject to laws that were created without their best interests in mind. They are tired of dealing with overpriced apartments and low standards of living, tired of overpriced services in student-dominated areas, and tired of voting (or not) for individuals who fail to show up at their events—or for their concerns. Students have expressed their frustration and their passion through their pocketbooks; my campaign has outraised incumbent Adam Robertson this cycle with over 76 individual contributions.

On the other hand, Provo’s long-term residents fear living in a city congested and overwhelmed by its growing population. But we can build a community that works for everyone. I am a young, ambitious candidate who views my political career as an opportunity to unite Provo’s students and long-term residents to create an environment that is welcoming, innovative, and community-focused.  I also believe my scope of influence reaches far beyond Provo City. House District 63 has a uniquely large population of students who live in the area temporarily, then disperse throughout the state. I believe that by representing the needs of Provo’s residents, I am representing families and communities throughout Utah. I believe what’s best for students is what’s best for Utah. That’s why I’m running to be the next Representative of House District 63.