Local resident Lars L. Birkeland has announced he intends to file for the Republican nomination for the State Senate. He hopes to get Republican delegate’s nod to fill the District 18 seat that Sen. Stuart Reid does not intend to seek re-election for.
In a district that also includes parts of Weber and Davis counties, Birkeland said it is important rural areas like Morgan County are represented on the state level. Birkeland said he is not aware of any Morgan resident that has ever served in the state legislature in the past.
“I think I can represent the district well,” said the Mountain Green resident. “It would be great for the people of Morgan to have a representative from Morgan.”
Birkeland said the biggest challenge the state legislature faces is funding education, the largest line item on the state budget.
“We are going in the wrong way with government,” he said. “We have been over-legislated. The government wants to ban, license or tax anything they see. Government is getting bigger and decisions are being made higher up. Local leaders feel handcuffed to spend their budgets in certain pre-determined ways. The state needs to give leeway so local government can spend budgets and make decisions as they see fit.”
With five children currently enrolled in Morgan County schools, Birkeland sees firsthand how state education decisions affect schools and families. He and his wife are licensed foster parents and have fostered eight children over the years.
“I think I can offer a good perspective,” said Birkeland, who moved to Morgan County in 2008. He is a Salt Lake City native who has spent time in both California and Montana.
“It is an important time to get involved,” he said. “I want to show my children I am willing to make a difference.”
Birkeland also said his supportive wife motivated him to seek the state senate position.
“My belief is anyone can be elected,” Birkeland said. “No certain background or qualifications are needed.”
However, his resume is padded with over a decade of experience in the banking industry. Birkeland is a vice president of Zions Bank, currently working as the South Ogden branch manager. He attended Brigham Young University and Saddleback College in California.
Birkeland also is a member of the Ogden Breakfast Exchange, a participant in the Ogden/Weber Chamber, an umpire for Utah High School baseball, and a volunteer coach for high school and youth sports in Morgan.
Birkeland has been serving as the Morgan County Republican Party chairman for the last three years. As a state delegate, he has seen “how the system operates” and has met many local and state officials.
He will be in his element Thursday, March 20 when neighborhood caucuses are held throughout the state. State delegates will be selected that evening. Those delegates will attend the state convention April 26, where they will vote on Republican nominees. If any one candidate garners 60 percent or more of the vote, that person will automatically be placed on the ballot. However, if no candidate gets 60 percent of the vote, the top two will face off during a primary election.
Birkeland will welcome questions and feedback during the county Republican Party’s breakfast this Saturday, March 8 at 8 a.m. at Larry’s Spring Chicken Inn.
He said he has a lot of work ahead of him speaking with delegates as well as city and county leaders in the senate district. However, he said it will be a lot of fun as well.
If elected, Birkeland said he would be a champion of individual freedom. He also fully embraces the conservative Republican platform including fiscal conservatism and family values.