“I’m a robots engineer and I know a robot when I see one, and (Rep. Mia Love) follows orders…
“It’s that Christ-like compassion that draws me towards being a progressive. … I’m a progressive… because I’m a Mormon.”
Thomas Taylor is, yes, is a robotics engineer and progressive Mormon who, yes, is running against Rep. Mia Love for Congress.
His advocacy: “What I’m fighting for is for government to be boring again.”
Taylor has been “actively campaigning” since late March and officially filed as a Democratic candidate late last month. He has attended marches and rallies, speaking at one, by Utah resistance groups to the Donald Trump presidential administration.
What troubles Tom
Taylor got into politics in 2008, after the United States’ economic collapse. “It made me really angry because… no one was going to jail for fraud and corruption when (the collapse)
impacted millions upon millions of Americans,” he said.
He also got concerned during the national debt-ceiling crisis of 2011, watching it on C-SPAN continuously. It’s when, as Taylor put it, “members of Congress were willing to hold our debt obligations hostage to get capitulation from the other side.” He said such behaviors “set bad precedents for the future,” and they aren’t even laws, but “political norms.”
“When you shatter the norm, the norm remains shattered, and this is a threat to the whole (nation),” Taylor added. “Frankly, I like being an engineer, but we don’t have a choice (to get involved) now.”
Taylor was also concerned that Senate Republicans held up the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court for 293 days, the longest holdup in American history. Taylor was especially alarmed that Garland’s nomination also didn’t get a hearing, let alone a confirmation.
Taylor pointed out that in 2000, the Supreme Court made a ruling that ended the disputed presidential election. That could have been a problem last year, if the result of the presidential election had to do with a Supreme Court ruling as well. That’s because only eight seats would have been filled on the Supreme Court and a vote would very likely have been 4-4. “All of a sudden, we don’t know who the president is,” Taylor said.
Taylor described his concern about members of Congress who are “looking the other way” at controversial behavior by the Trump administration. “The people of Congress know better and they are suppose to be a check and balance on this guy, and not only are they complicit and and enabling… on the possible collusion with Russia, they’re actively trying to squash investigations into it,” Taylor said.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was criticized early this year for his alleged bias in a Congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
Taylor described the Trump-Russia collusion, if verified, as “the greatest scandal in modern political history,” saying that the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former president Richard Nixon looks “quaint” in comparison. “And we don’t want an independent investigation on this?” Taylor asked.
The intelligence committees in the House and Senate are investigating the possible collusion, but critics have called for other committees, including those having to do with oversight, to investigate.
The battle begins
Taylor is one of three candidates running against Love. That gives him “a lot of hope,” he said. “Citizens stepping up to the plate, it touches me,” Taylor said. “It’s what our country is about.
I’m hopefully that whoever ends up on the ticket on the Democratic side will defeat Mia Love.” Love “has no interest in bucking the (Republican) party,” Taylor said. Taylor said “(Love) deserves to be attacked” for her vote for the GOP health care bill that passed the House of Representatives, as time was so short between the drafting of and voting on the legislation that elected officials didn’t have time to read it and the Congressional Budget Office couldn’t determine how much it would cost.
After pointing out that the bill, titled the American Health Care Act, would cut $880 billion from Medicaid, Taylor said “it’s like protecting tax cuts for the wealthy it the Holy Grail of all this. … seems like (voters for the bill, all Republicans) want to live in fantasyland with the bill and it is literally going to kill people.”
Taylor is promoting “Medicare for all.”
“What it comes down to,” Taylor said, is that “the richest country in the world” in the U.S. “should not have a system where the public is choosing between bankruptcy or debt” due to health care needs. He said he remembered thinking in the hospital, where his wife Caroline’s tumor was being examined to determine if she had cancer, not only whether his wife would die, but that they could go bankrupt over potential costs to his wife’s healthcare.
“No one in the position where someone’s life is literally on the line should be worried about their finances,” he said.
Taylor said that he works in Utah’s community of startups and said that many would not exist if not for net neutrality law, which is legislatively being challenged by Utah’s own Sen. Mike Lee.
Taylor grew in up the district he wants to represent and attended Cottonwood High School, being enrolled in the Granite School District from kindergarten for each grade. In high school, he was very involved in music and he said his math and physics teachers were key to his development to where he is today, recently earning a PhD in robotics.
Taylor decided to raise a family in west Millcreek. Having kids meant that Taylor hasn’t played funk soul music in some time with his band, Turbophonic. Caroline, whose maiden name is Taylor, is from Ohio and their three-year-old daughter is named Naomi.
When asked where he is on the political spectrum, Taylor said “I would definitely label myself as a progressive, especially on economics issues.”
“I would consider myself in the same vein… as Bernie Sanders,” he added. “The middle class growing is one of the most important things for me.”
On being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and progressive, “I have been taught we are to take care of everyone, to help the poor among us, to help the poor and the needy. This drives a lot of who I think I am.”
“I want everyone to feel that they are important and not just a number on a spreadsheet,” he said. “Frankly, it’s been my church membership that has really driven this.”
Taylor then shared an experience from his Mormon mission in London, when he visited the hospital after getting rather sick. He asked a doctor where he needed to provide a passport so he could send a check for the services he received.
“I got a blank stare and was asked, ‘what are you talking about?'” Taylor said.
It’s a bore
Taylor is advocating to make “government… boring again” because he does not like that “people are using politics as a launch pad or a stepping stone into careers,” he said.
“I see way too many people going into office and fundraising when they should be going through page after page of mind-numbing bills,” he added. “Government will never run like a well-oiled machine, but it can work for its people. …that’s been great because not all of us are into politics as a sport and it doesn’t need to be that way.”
Photo: Thomas Taylor’s website