Senator Ray Ward, Utah Republican, District 18

Ray Ward is a Republican representing District 18, which takes in most of Bountiful in Utah’s State Senate. He attended Brigham Young University and went on to get his M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Washington. He completed a residency in family medicine in Grand Junction, Colorado. Ask what he does now, and he’ll tell you he is a family man. He enjoys a good hamburger, and his favorite movie is “Oh brother, where art thou?”. Recently, Michael Brownstein, of candidates.vote, had a chance to talk with him and find out what makes this doctor/senator tick.

Candidates.Vote — What ended up inspiring you to get your start in politics?

Senator Ray Ward — I have always enjoyed working on community projects.  I had been working on the Medicaid expansion for a couple of years and so had been involved in different rallies and projects down at the State Capitol.  When the prior incumbent in the seat announced that they were not going to run again I decided to give it a try.  I had not ever really thought of running until the week when that person said they were not going to run again.  Life sometimes takes surprising turns. 

Candidates.Vote — How do you balance your political and personal life?

Senator Ray Ward — I have no idea. You just keep running as fast as you can and try to keep up.  I am fortunate in that my wife also enjoys politics and so it is something we can work on together. 

Candidates.Vote — What book are you currently working on reading, and what’s the best part of it? 

Senator Ray Ward — I am currently reading “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver – I just started so I don’t know too much about it yet.  The best book that I have read this last year is “Bad Blood”, by John Carryrou.   It is about the rise and fall of the company called Theranos, which at one point on paper was worth several billion dollars even though all of the patent’s that they claimed to have were essentially lies.  It is a very valuable window into how tech startups function and how things can go awry. 

Candidates.Vote — What would you consider your greatest failure, and on the flip side, your greatest success? 

Senator Ray Ward — I think my greatest success is that my three children seem to be doing fairly well in their lives so far.  I’m not sure what I would judge as my greatest failure. 

Candidates.Vote — What was the most valuable lesson your parents taught you? 

Senator Ray Ward — Watching my parents balance family commitments with community involvement; with church involvement and with going the extra mile in work commitments is an example that I have tried to follow. 

Candidates.Vote — What college did you attend, and what made you go there. 

Senator Ray Ward — I went to BYU.  I went there because they gave me a great scholarship and also because my parents and grandparents went there so it seemed like the thing to do. 

Candidates.Vote — What’s your all-time favorite movie? 

Senator Ray Ward: “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” – No great life lessons here.  Just the funniest movie I have ever watched. 

Candidates.Vote — What comfort food do you go for and why? 

Senator Ray Ward — I really like a large hamburger.  I don’t think that is something that becomes any more clear if you try and explain it. 

Candidates.Vote — What’s your favorite place to visit in Utah? 

Senator Ray Ward — Rudy’s Flat — It is in the mountains above North Salt Lake.  It is at the confluence of Mueller Park Canyon and North Canyon and City Creek Canyon. 

Candidates.Vote — What newspapers/magazines/periodicals do you read, and do you read them in paper or digitally? 

Senator Ray Ward — Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, 538, Utah Policy, and Davis County Clipper.  I read both online and paper versions. 

Candidates.Vote — What was your first ‘real job’? What did you learn from it? 

Senator Ray Ward — My 1st job was picking radishes for “a penny a bunch” on Charlie Bangerter’s farm here in Bountiful.   From that experience I learned that I did not want to pick radishes as my career and I feel I have been successful in not doing that. 

Candidates.Vote — Do you have any pets, and if so, what are their names.

Senator Ray Ward— I have a dog named Crackerjack. He is half wire hair dachshund and half wire hair terrier. 

Candidates.Vote — What music do you enjoy listening to? 

Senator Ray Ward — Whatever my daughter Lucy puts in her Spotify playlist – so a whole lot of Disney and Musical Theater songs. 

Candidates.Vote — What’s your preferred way to spend free time and why? 

Senator Ray Ward — Playing complicated board games with family.   

Candidates.Vote — Who is your greatest idol/person you look up to and why? 

Senator Ray Ward — I really look up to a couple of other current Utah politicians – but they are still in office now, so I won’t say who. 

Candidates.Vote — What is something you respect about your political opponents?

Senator Ray Ward — I respect anyone with enough energy and passion to try and make a run for political office.  It is a lot of work and a lot of drama, and our whole governmental system depends on people being willing to give it a shot. 

Candidates.Vote — And finally, if you could send a short message to anyone reading this, what would it be?

Senator Ray Ward — Be involved!  Decide what you think would make things better and then put some of your energy and enthusiasm towards trying to make that thing happen.  That can be at a personal level, a family level, a neighborhood level, a city level, a state-level or a national level – surely there is something important out there needing a push from you to move it in the right direction. 

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