LOGAN – The hubbub about voting in the upcoming Utah primaries on June 30 has overshadowed some local political contests.
One of those is the face-off in Utah House District 4, where incumbent Republican Dan Johnson is being challenged by Democratic newcomer Mary DaSilva in the general election in November.
DaSiva is a native of Cache Valley. Her parents, Thad and Jenny Box, have been vocal advocates for enlightened land use, environmental awareness and social justice here for decades. DaSilva says that she hopes to follow in their footsteps if elected to the Utah House of Representatives.
DaSilva is an alumna of Utah State University and a graduate of Weber State University. Her professional background is as registered nurse with extensive experience in the fields of disease surveillance and infection prevention.
“I worked in a large urban health department (in Travis County, Texas) investigating reports of disease, interviewing sick people, contact tracing and working with epidemiologists,” she explains. “Then I would help to write the recommendations for schools and businesses (to follow) and work to implement them in the community.”
DaSilva believes that her experience in public health management makes her uniquely qualified to represent the people of District 4 in the Utah House in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“This pandemic is not going away and will continue to affect our lives and economy for a long time …” she argues.
“I understand what the workers and managers at places like JBS are going through,” DaSilva added, referring to the Hyrum meat-packing plant that has become the epicenter for positive COVID-19 cases in Cache Valley in recent weeks. “I know the anxiety that teachers and principals are experiencing as they plan for the fall.
“I know the extremely thin profit margin the restaurants must calculate as they risk whether to open or not and their concerns about how on earth to serve the public with (coronavirus) restrictions in place.”
Another motivation for her candidacy, DaSilva says, is to ensure that the voices of Cache Valley voters are actually heard in the Legislature, where the results of statewide voter referendums are sometimes ignored or overturned.