Policymaker Profile: Getting to Know Raymond P. Ward

Utah Policy regularly profiles policymakers from across the state. In this edition we profile Utah Representative Ward, Republican, District 19, Bountiful.

Occupation: Family physician.

Education: Undergrad at BYU.  MD and PhD at University of Washington in Seattle.  Residency in Family Practice in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Growing up:  Bountiful, Utah.

Fond memory:  Mowing my Grandpa Barlow’s lawn while listening to BYU football games on my Walkman – for a payment of 25 cents an hour. 

Why politics: Because seeing something that would make our community and state better – and having the chance to try and make that change – is great!

Hobbies: Pickleball, reading, slow jogging, board games.

First job:  Picking radishes and beans for Charlie Bangerter in his Bountiful fields.  Second job: Picking zucchini for Marvin Jackson (rival local farmer to Charlie Bangerter).  Third job:  Washing dishes at the North Salt Lake Village Inn.

Current motivations:  Get us back to normal as safely and quickly as possible from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Improve housing costs by loosening restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units.

Lesson taught me by my mother:  Doing things that are not important together with people who are important to you is still doing something important.

Biggest challenge in public life: Keeping up with all the obligations to my legislative projects, constituents, patients at the clinic, and family. 

Proudest moments: When the Medicaid Expansion bill following the ballot initiative passed (I’ve got a framed copy of the signed bill on my wall), and seeing the expansion being implemented over these last couple of years.

My philosophy of government: I believe we will do best as a society if we make an environment that is friendly to family and business.  Government has some things it needs to do, but if it is not careful it can do more harm than good. For many problems, interfacing with private businesses and letting individuals solve their own problems will turn out better.

Why my political party:  Because I think the Republican party holds the values I just listed under the “Philosophy of Government” section.

Playlist: Whatever my kids are listening to.

Personal motto:  This isn’t a short motto, but is a longer version that we created and repeated in our family.

Ten teachings of our family:

  1. Be cheerful.
  2. Be a hard worker.
  3. Be kind and courteous to others.
  4. Be grateful for the many talents and material things you have and put them to good use.
  5. Try new things.
  6. Treat your body well.
  7. The world is full of many beautiful things. Learn about them and enjoy them.
  8. Save and spend your money carefully.
  9. Search out good friends.  You will need them, and they will need you.
  10. Know the other person’s point of view, even if you disagree with it.

Most embarrassing moment: That was painful enough at the time – not sure why I would write it down here.

Inspiration: James Garfield (any president who came up with his own proof of the Pythagorean Theorem has my respect).

Favorite book: Favorite book of all time is hard – but favorite book that I have read recently is “Bad Blood,” which tells the story of the Theranos company and the fraud that was perpetrated by their leadership in claiming to have a new medical breakthrough in lab testing when they really didn’t. It was a very good insight into the way the world works (and the events of the last couple of months with Nikola Motors certainly are understood a little differently after having read the book).

I admire most in the world: My campaign manager (and wife) Beverly.

Favorite web site: FiveThirtyEight.com

Indulgence, guilty pleasure: Ice cream with Beverly’s family recipe of homemade chocolate topping.

Mentor: Representative Ed Redd.

My district is cool because:  My district is the city of Bountiful.  Bountiful is prosperous, reliable, well-educated, friendly, frugal, thoughtful, caring, and hard working.  I’m not sure who would designate us as cool.

I like serving in the Legislature because: I get the chance to make things better, and I really enjoy working with folks from my district and other legislators.  Also, the capitol building and the plaza just to the north of it are such beautiful places – just walking around them makes you feel fortunate to be there.

Running for political office is: Really intense.

Historical figure I’d like to take to lunch: Teddy Roosevelt – he managed to change the priorities of his party and the nation.

Sports team: Utah Jazz.

Favorite pet: 16-year-old dog named Crackerjack (half Wirehaired Dachshund, half Wirehaired Terrier.)

I always laugh at: The memes that my son Stephen sends me.

My desk is:  Not as organized as I might wish.

Biggest issues ahead in 2021 session:  Finding a way to recover from COVID-19.

My priorities for 2021 session:  1. Improve affordable housing by increasing supply of accessory dwelling units. 2. Get our Title X funding back to our state to provide contraception to low income women. 3. Change guidelines for prescribing narcotics to reduce high risk prescriptions.