Kelcie Hartley, Daily Herald
Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee is no stranger to campaign season. Lee has been a commissioner for nearly eight years and hopes to be reelected to a third term to address housing, water and mental health issues in the county.
Lee is also president of Wasatch Behavioral Health and advocates for the recognition of mental health needs and the provision of additional support to people.
“We all suffer bruises and cuts on a physical level, and we think it’s part of everyday life,” Lee said. “We also all suffer from mental stress, fatigue, and I wish we saw that in the same way in how people react to it. I would love to move this thought process forward so that we can help each other. There isn’t a person who doesn’t feel anxiety or depression or who doesn’t get lost.
Lee has worked to find ways to help people with mental health issues avoid ending up in the ER or in jail.
“We’ve pushed all of our mental health issues to our emergency rooms, and this is not the place to deal with them,” he said. “We have this big gap between the emergency room and the prison. There is very little room in between to deal with these situations. Over the past year, we have created a space between the two. We now have a mobile crisis team in Provo that is equivalent to a mental health ambulance. »
Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
The mobile crisis team can arrive at the scene of a situation and assess whether mental health issues are at play. Lee said this allows law enforcement to gain perspective.
“If a cop shows up, it could trigger an individual,” he said. “Officers are supposed to maintain order and peace. And a lot of times they get called because there’s a mess, so they have to be there, but maybe they can play a back roll so the MCT people can get in.
Lee’s top issues were chosen based on what he believes has the most impact on the people of Utah County.
“These may not be the county’s top three issues, but they are the top issues I can make a difference on,” he added.
Lee’s opponent in the primary race is Spanish Fork City Council member Brandon Gordon. Lee points out that taxes are an issue where the two divide – saying he advocates keeping tax costs low when Gordon cannot.
“I am serious about keeping taxes as low as possible while still having the services the government needs to do its job,” Lee said. “It is just apparent from looking at my opponent’s record that he has a propensity to raise taxes. He’s raised them four times since he’s been on the board.
Lee added that the experience of serving on city council is not the same as serving on a body like the Utah County Commission.
“I don’t blame him,” Lee said. “He’s from a mayor/council forum, so he probably thinks it’s the cream of the crop, but Utah County government works totally differently. Until you get into it and see it, you might not understand how it’s supposed to work.
The two never had interactions before Gordon ran for commissioner.
Lee has the support of U.S. Senator Mike Lee — as well as the mayors of Provo, Orem and Lindon, to name a few — in his campaign.
“I’ve been involved in campaigns pretty much my entire adult life,” he added. “I really like the strategy of the campaign. I think it’s fun to sit around a table, as a political science student myself, and discuss why people think the way they think. One thing I love about the campaign is that you’re there with the audience and they’re not afraid to tell you what they’re thinking.
Lee and Gordon qualified for the June 28 primary for seat B of the Utah County Commission after neither candidate received 60% of the vote at the Utah County Republican convention. On the final ballot, Lee finished with 46.4% of the vote to Gordon’s 53.6%.