Editor’s Note: This is one part of a 12-episode series of Candidate Conversations with the Voices of Reason Podcast in which hosts Amy Donaldson and Jasen Lee talk with Utah candidates running for federal office. The podcasts offer unique depth into the candidates’ priorities, backgrounds and reasons for running to represent the citizens of Utah. This is an effort to help voters learn more about those running for office and their positions on critical local and national issues.
SALT LAKE CITY — Native Utahn Lee Castillo has spent much of his adult life helping people in need. A trained social worker who works with people who have a mental illness, often in the criminal justice system, “to help them restore their competency,” he believes in providing resources for those who can’t always help themselves.
Speaking on the Voices of Reason podcast with Amy Donaldson and Jasen Lee, Castillo said that desire to help people and heal the divide that he felt existed in the country is part of what prompted him to run for Congress in Utah’s 1st district.
Castillo is running as a Democrat
“There was a lot of anger and divisive rhetoric that was coming from the administration in Washington (D.C.),” he said. “The messages coming out from Washington were against women, against Hispanics, derogatory against those with disabilities, Muslims and trans(gender people). I wanted to make sure that people who fit into those categories knew that someone was out there representing them and they know they’re loved.”
He said that standing up to the harsh ideals he felt were coming from the current administration was key to his decision become a first-time political candidate, despite being told by critics he didn’t have the resources needed to make a legitimate run at beating incumbent Rep. Rob Bishop, R-UT.
“What I lack in money, I have in the audacity to think that I can make change,” he said. “I have enough love for the entire community to do what’s right for them and to stand up for people.”
His top policy priority is to address the health care crisis that is facing the nation currently and he favors a plan that would include universal healthcare for every citizen.
“I just want to make sure everybody has access because it’s a human right. It’s not just because you’re rich you should have access,” Castillo said. “You should have decent health care with a doctor that is actually good at what they do. Everybody deserves that.”
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