2022 State Convention Candidates
My name is Ben Sorensen.
I am married with 5 children (4 boys and 1 girl aged 9, 7, 5, 4 and 3 months, respectively)
I was born in Utah and raised here. I got my undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Utah and my Masters degree in business from Brigham Young University.
Since graduating I have been working in management consulting where I have been helping companies all around the country run more efficiently, my specialty is in supply chain and operations, particularly procurement (strategic sourcing) and operations process improvement. I have always prided myself in being able to look under every stone and find the missing value and inefficiencies to deliver the most customer value.
I have a child on the spectrum and, as he and my other children get older, I have been finding the need to ask for more accountability and transparency in our schooling system, particularly results from curriculum. It seems that the answers that I get are a walk around of what I am truly asking for and I think this is disappointing.
I have decided to run for the State School Board because I would like to see more accountability in the system by instilling more financial acumen in the decision making process and full review of school board spend. The state of Utah spends a large amount of their budget on education and I would like to see that we are getting a good ROI in our children by having them ready for the future, whether that be college or a career.
Most Recent Republican Party Affiliation Change 2012
Melanie Mortensen is a mother, wife, educator, community council member, and strong advocate for quality choices in public education. In addition to both her professional and personal experiences in the classroom, Melanie has served on curriculum selection committees and has appeared before school boards to ensure parent, teacher, and administrative recommendations are heard. Melanie has a composite bachelors degree in Humanities and English teaching, Secondary Education from Brigham Young University. She and her husband, David, currently live in Davis County. They have four children.
I was raised in West Weber, a small farming community west of Ogden. Our community is close-knit– the kind that always comes together in trying moments. Everyone from my neighbors, to the local farmers, to the Sunday School teachers were fully engaged, and showed me that the most vital pieces of America are always those closest to home — not back in Washington.
As the youngest in a family of eleven children, I learned early on the value of money, and more importantly, of spending it wisely. We did our very best with what we had, always tending a big garden that could feed our family throughout the season, while my mom made bread to pay for the cost of our large, happy family. I learned that the first rule of finances is to never spend more than you earn.
We were raised on a diet of the Founding Fathers, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr, and the great thinkers of our nation’s history. My parents ingrained in me the idea that the thing that matters most is who you are on the inside; that we should look for leaders who were morally grounded and exhibited our Christian values both in public and in private.
As an adult, all of these lessons have stuck with me during my times as a student at BYU, an LDS missionary in Germany, and even during my professional successes at Fortune 100 companies. In my work of business analytics and operations management, I successfully navigate the complex challenges of massive global organizations, ensuring my solutions benefit as many people as possible while maintaining maximum efficiency.
I’ve been fortunate to live around the country — in Ohio, Alaska, Kansas, and California. I’ve seen time and time again how conservative policies win out, while government overreach and Democrat policies stifle growth, stagnate vibrant cities, and leave families behind.
The same lessons that make me the conservative I am are also America’s best hope for a bright future. Join me in taking the principled conservatism of Utah’s voters to Washington.
Most Recent Republican Party Affiliation Change – 1989
Mike learned his love for the Constitution around the family dinner table. Mike’s father, Rex Lee, served as Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan and later as President of Brigham Young University. As a child, Mike attended his father’s arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, giving him a unique understanding of the government from an early age. As an attorney he developed a more complete understanding of why the Constitution is essential to the protection of life, liberty, and property.
After graduating from law school in 1997, he served as a law clerk to Judge Dee Benson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. He then clerked for Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., who was serving at that time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court in Newark, New Jersey. After his second clerkship, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of Sidley & Austin, where he specialized in appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Several years later, Mike was invited to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Salt Lake City, preparing briefs and arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He served as Governor Huntsman’s General Counsel and then went to Washington for a one-year clerkship with Justice Alito at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Following his clerkship, Mike joined the Salt Lake office of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm of Howrey LLP. Mike has earned a reputation as an outstanding lawyer based on his sound judgment, writing and courtroom advocacy skills, and thorough understanding of the Constitution.
Mike and Sharon have three children and live in Provo, Utah.
District resident and married (Amy) 30+ yrs
CFO, VP Supply Chaim Mgmt. for international business (Autoliv)
CPA, MBA (USU), CMA
Not Accepting Donations, Committing to No Stock Trading to Restore Trust
Platform includes Exemplifying Our Principles: Family, Faith, Life & Liberty
Board of Governors SLC
(Campbell Cares) Board of Directors Habitat for Humanity, former Board Special Olympics, Communities That Care, etc.
Chambers of Commerce Davis & Weber Counties, Legislative & Military Affairs Committees
Coached numerous Jr Jazz, AYSO, Baseball, etc. teams
All 3 children district HS & College USU graduates
Only CD-1 candidate with Safeguarding Children, Innovation, Prevent Inflation Plan
Sponsor Utah Business CEO of the Year, Weber Small Business of the Year, etc.
Outdoor Enthusiast: Ogden Nature Center, Trails Foundation, etc.
Champion Bodybuilder, MMA Fighter
Most Recent Republican Party Affiliation Change 1984
Marlo M. Oaks
Marlo Oaks was appointed Utah’s 26th State Treasurer in June 2021. As the state’s chief investment and chief banking officer Marlo is responsible for debt, cash, and investments, including the $26 billion Public Treasurer’s Investment Fund. He also administers Utah’s Unclaimed Property Division.
Marlo spent 17 years overseeing multi-billion dollar investment portfolios and registered the top performance among large P&C insurance companies through the Financial Crisis. He is the only state treasurer with institutional investment experience. Originally from Provo, Marlo completed a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from BYU, an MBA from UCLA Anderson, and holds the CFA and CAIA designations.
Most Recent Republican Party Affiliation Change – 1988
Sam Bracken, who chronicles his story in My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change, was homeless at age 15. Sam managed to graduate #11 out of 700 students from his Las Vegas high school and landed a full-ride football scholarship to The Georgia Institute of Technology. The title of his graphic mini- memoir self-help book comes from the fact that when he came to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, everything he owned fit in an orange duffel bag.
Sam was a Brian Piccolo award nominee for overcoming potentially career- ending injuries to re-earn a starting position on one of Georgia Tech’s most successful football teams, under Coach Bill Curry. He also earned a spot on the All ACC Academic team for two years running. Sam graduated in 1986 from The Georgia Institute of Technology with honors and a degree in Industrial Management. In 1993 Sam received an MBA with an emphasis in Marketing from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management.
He and his wife Kim live in Kaysville, UT, and have four children, Beau, Ben, Jacob and Hannah. Sam serves as The VP of Business Development for Garff Enterprises. Sam is also a best selling author, speaker, and executive coach. My books listed below.
Sam frequently speaks about how to implement radical change and become your best self.
GUTS Find Your Greatness, Beat the Odds, Live From Passion is Sam’s latest book. This book teaches people to find their greatness, beat the odds, succeed, and do it over and over again. GUTS was published by Mango, and available in 2017.
Unwind, 7 Principles for a Stress-Free Life is Sam’s second book. This unique, whole- person approach, gives the reader a simple and straightforward way to feel less stressed- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Unwind was published by Grand Harbor, part of Amazon in 2014.
My Orange Duffel Bag – A Journey to Radical Change has won 9 national and international awards. Crown Archetype, part of Random House, purchased the worldwide rights in 2012.
I am a wife, mother of four, and a very devout patriot and Christian. I am the founder of Stand Up Against Tyranny. I graduated from BYU with a major in Psychology and a minor in Animal Science.
As a retired police officer, I believe that police officers are a liaison between the people and the government and it is their duty to protect people’s rights. I support the police as long as they uphold their oath to the constitution.
I believe the Constitution was a divinely inspired document that has kept us free for almost 250 years. I believe God intended for people to be free.
I believe a person who holds office should have the courage to stand up for their constituents, the integrity to do what is right, and the strength to stand up against tyranny.
I believe when our government becomes tyrannical, it is our duty to not comply and that feeling fear and abandoning your principles is being a coward but feeling fear and continually doing what is right is bravery.
I believe integrity is is very important aspect one must have in their every day life and especially when holding an elected office or a position of power.
I believe liberty is not a gift you hold for yourself, it is an obligation to our posterity. Benjamin Franklin taught us that “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.”
I stand for: Medical freedom, conservative values, freedom of speech without censorship, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, school choice, the right to bear arms, upholding the constitution, election Integrity, energy independence, the nuclear family, and separation between the state and the federal government.
I promise I will uphold the constitution, represent the values and virtues of my party, and stand up for your constitutional rights.
LeAnn Wood is a wife, mother, grandmother, and strong supporter of Public Education. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors of Science in Zoology. Her emphasis was in teratology. She spent the early years of her marriage studying what chemicals caused fetal birth defects. As her 5 children grew, she chose to change her focus from protecting the unborn to protecting all children and families. LeAnn and her husband, Darren, have lived in Kaysville, Utah for nearly 15 years. They moved from Anacortes, Washington in 2007 and chose to settle in Davis County. With over 10 years experience following education policy, LeAnn is a firm believer that there are five best practices for public education: family engagement, quality teachers, strong leadership, positive school climate, and rigorous standards. LeAnn is a life-long learner and has served in countless volunteer positions. She has been actively involved in her children’s schools since the mid-90’s, and has served with the Boy Scouts of America, Utah PTA, and participated on several Utah State education committees.
Most Recent Republican Party Affiliation Change 1989
Tim Aalders is a small business owner living in Highland Utah. While he owns his own successful building and development company here in Utah, in the past he has held titles such as CEO, COO, marketing manager and sales manager. His career has included fields in real estate, construction supplies, retail box stores, and the restaurant industry. And as a business consultant for small businesses he understands what makes America’s economy work.
Tim was a well-known voice on conservative talk radio for over 7 years only leaving when his daughter of 25 passed from a rare heart disease. He became the voice of Main Street USA with his own radio show Buy Back America Radio. After watching as the assets and resources of this great country were being sold to foreign corporations and powers he also founded Buy Back America to unite the American consumer and small business owners. Tim had fought on the radio for conservative Utah values for years and sees this election as an opportunity to go to the front lines of the war in Washington, DC.
Tim believed that someone had to shed the light on the corruption of Wall Street and the involvement of our own elected officials in the collapse of the housing market and the dollar. His ability to follow the money helped expose the many back room dealings politicians with their largest campaign donors and special interests colluded together to put more money in their pockets leaving less in yours.
Tim understands what is at the heart of the problems with this country and is a key speaker on issues like free trade and globalization, immigration, the Federal Reserve, entitlement programs, special interest and our broken political system. Tim is an advent supporter of the constitution and the original intent of our founding fathers. He is an everyday American that truly believes that everyday Americans can and will make a difference in 2022!
Most Recent Republican Party Affiliation Change – 1984
Brady J Tracy
I was Born in the South, Raised in the Mid West, and Married a Wonderful Pioneer Stock Utah Man. I have Never met a stranger and hope I Never will. I Love People! I am so intrigued by hearing their stories. Every person has a story that will Break your heart and Inspire you. I have devoted my life to service. I’m actively involved in our schools, community, and church. The most Gratifying Service for me is helping single moms rise out of multigenerational poverty in our State.
This can only happen through education. This education usually starts with leaning a new trade that leads them to higher learning and better paying jobs. It is so crucial to better supporting their Children. I help start the Charity, Changing Lives Globally and we serve the most Vulnerable women in our State. I’m also on the Board of the Stella H. Oaks Foundation. We Provide single moms with scholarships.
My Greatest Role is being a wile and a mother to 3 Beautiful children Grace 24, Beau 16 and Channing.11.
My Husband and I have had many successful businesses throughout our marriage and a few not so successful. Such is the case for most Small Business owners and Entrepreneurs.
Our Family has built a life around our Faith, it is our Foundation.
We love to Travel, Gather Friends in our home for a great meal, debate Politics, hike and ski in our beautiful Cottonwood Canyon, Plus play a mean round of Uno!
Most Recent Republican Party Affiliation Change 1989
Janet A Cannon
As a mother of ﬁve children, grandmother of eight, Janet Cannon’s life-long mission is to be an advocate for children. Through PTA and State Board service, she has continually advocated for improvements within public education. She was recruited to run for the State Board of Education by community members interested in education. While serving as Vice-Chair for the Board, she developed and wrote its bylaws. She also developed a process for the State Board to receive regular public input.
She is currently serving as the elected chair of NASBE, National Association of State Boards of Education. She has twice served as the Area Director over the Western States in NASBE. S has previously received their national award for Outstanding Service.
She served four years on the Utah State Board of Regents, was the governor’s appointee to the Utah College of Applied Technology Board, and was the liaison between the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah State Charter School Board.
Going forward, Cannon would like to address the learning loss students have suffered due to the pandemic, particularly students with disabilities and at-risk students. One way to do this is through accelerated learning where engaged, mainstreamed, students can speed up the process of knowledge mastery.
She wants to fulfill the goals of Utah’s Strategic Plan for Education by personalizing education for every child and by providing a safe and healthy school environment in every school. Utah needs to address capital improvements for schools by updating HVAC to assure the health of teachers and students.
Nation-wide there is a shortage of teachers. Cannon hopes to improve teacher preparation programs in the state and reduce costs for new teachers to enter the profession. She supports increasing teacher compensation and improving the professional prestige of educators.
Tina is a professional accountant, small business owner and entrepreneur who has specialized in federal, state, and local business taxation. Tina ardently agrees with Daniel Webster’s statement “the power to tax is the power to destroy or control.” When elected, she will work tirelessly to balance federal budgets, simplify the tax code, and reduce federal tax burdens on Utah families and businesses.
Proud to have earned the support and endorsement of Congressman Rob Bishop, Tina began her political involvement knocking on doors during Bishop’s campaign in 2002. She plans to continue Bishop’s legacy as an advocate for limited government and local control while being an ardent supporter of Hill Air Force Base, and national defense issues.
Passionate about public service, Tina has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. She has served as an IEP Coach and Parent Advocate for the Utah Parent Center; Served two terms as a Morgan County Councilmember; and a Utah Republican Party County Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary; and a full-time missionary for her church.
Born and Raised in Box Elder County, Tina met her husband David, an aerospace engineer, while majoring in accounting at Utah State University. For the past 28 years, Tina and David have raised their four amazing children while living in Weber, Davis, and Morgan Counties. Tina’s favorite role is that of wife and mother. This life-long service to her family and community contributed to her being named Utah Mother of the Year in 2018.
Erin was raised in Salt Lake City. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Business and a minor in Spanish, and received her JD/MBA from Georgetown University. Prior to running for office, Erin worked as a corporate attorney at Dorsey & Whitney where she focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions. Prior to her work at Dorsey & Whitney, she worked as an attorney at Goodwin Procter in Boston, and as a Law Clerk on the Senate Finance Committee under Senator Orrin Hatch. Erin has served on boards and committees for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Real Women Run at the YWCA, and many others. She has also worked extensively with the My Hometown Initiative, a community development pilot program sponsored by West Valley City and a variety of business and religious organizations.
Julie Fullmer is running to represent Utah’s 1st Congressional District. She has served Utah for over a decade, preserving freedom, fighting government overreach, serving local communities, and working with individuals & families to enhance their quality of life. She has served in various capacities throughout the state; Mayor, City Council, Commissioner, State Regional & County board and committee member, and as a legislative policy board member and advisor. Julie also chairs a $360+ million investment board that revitalizes & secures finite resources, establishes economic vitality, and develops self-sufficient cities.
Julie received a B.S degree in Political Science with an emphasis in public law and political philosophy, and a minor degree from the Center for Constitutional Studies.
Julie is an entrepreneur, founding several successful companies consistently increasing ROI and reducing expenditures, and carried that efficiency and effectiveness into her public service. She’s negotiated major infrastructure projects and implemented technologies and systems to support both regional and local needs.
Julie has been nationally recognized as a champion of regulatory innovation for her work in strategic fiscal management, streamlining processes, supporting small businesses, and successful technological advancements. As a known business negotiator and mediator, Julie has been creating strategic partnerships, strengthening communication, and discovering innovative solutions in support of diverse communities and industries for over a decade.
Julie has a track record of meaningful representation, dedicating her life to protecting the values and principles that keep us calling Utah home.
Most Recent Republican Party Affiliation Change 2005