Kami Alvarez // Republican // Utah State Board of Education District 9 (A)

1. Should government invest in funding the arts and humanities at fiscally responsible levels?

Answer: Yes

2. Do you support investing money into K-12 arts and humanities education at fiscally responsible levels?

Answer: Yes

3. Do you believe that arts and humanities education should be required in the k-12 curriculum?

Answer: Yes

4. Do you consider the arts and culture sector to be an economic driver in Utah?

Answer: Yes

5. Do you support Utah's Percent-for-Art Act, which designates 1% of public building costs for public art?

Answer: Unsure

6. Do you support preserving the Utah Historic Preservation Tax Credit?

Answer: Yes

7. Do you support policy that positively impacts tourism, such as the creation of historic and cultural districts?

Answer: Yes

8. Have you had a personal experience with arts, culture, or humanities that has had an impact on your life? Please explain. (responses to this question were not graded)

Yes, I have had many experiences, but I thought I would share this blog from my website.  My campaign itself has a direct connection to the arts.  The blog is titled, "My Connection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and How it Helped My Campaign" 


'm so excited to present to you all my very own logo, but this isn't just any logo.  This logo is extremely special to me as it was created by an immensely talented former student of mine, Michael Guzman Herrera, who despite the many obstacles placed in front of him, has found great success through his own perseverance and hard work.   I want to tell you a little about this amazing young man and the meaning behind this logo.

​     About 10 years ago I was working as an 8th grade teacher at Lilburn Middle School in the state of Georgia.  I loved teaching at this school because of how diverse and eclectic the school was.  As I think back to my few years at that school, many students float through my memory long enough to make me stop and wonder about what happened to them in the years since I knew them.  I imagine this is just part of being a teacher.  One of those particular students was Michael.  He was a quite student of mild temperament.  While he was labeled as ESL and on an IEP, one thing stuck out to me about Michael, and that was that he had this profound wisdom for a 14 year old boy.  Whenever we would have classroom discussions, I was always impressed by the profound comments he had.  I would tease him and tell him that he was a 90 year old man trapped in a 14 year old's body because he had that insight and wisdom that one usually can only find in one with a lifetime of experience.

     Fast forward 8 years later, I'm sitting at home on Facebook and get a friend request from none other than Michael.  Scrolling through his Facebook page, one thing automatically grabs  my attention, it's his cover photo.  Immediately, I recognize the picture, it's taken from a book cover that we read in 8th grade, "Buried Onions," by Gary Soto.  Soon, Michael instant messages me and a conversation ensues. 

      He tells me about he is now living in New York City.  Even more he explains how he almost dropped out of high school, but an art teacher recognized he had a great talent and got him into a program through Parsons.  Now, he was studying art and had many inspirational teachers that were teaching him so much.  He told me that he remembered me seeing his art one day at school and telling him, "Your art is going to take you places someday."  Honestly, I don't remember telling him this, but I'm glad I did.  I do, however, remember that young man with wisdom beyond his years.  Several pieces of his artwork  were then sent to me through Facebook messenger, each one unique.  He shared with me his excitement as he graduated and even had his art hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art! 

     I don't know much about running a campaign or branding or anything like that, so when I was advised to have a consistent brand that people would know me by, I didn't know what to do.  Finally, it came to me, Michael could help me better than anyone else.  So, I called Michael and asked him to create a logo, a brand for what I represented.  He was more than happy to oblige and refused to accept any payment.  Never having been to Utah, I told him a little about the state, "we have beautiful mountains, the Great Salt Lake, known as the Beehive State."

     The very next day, he sent me a rough sketch of what he'd come up with!  Immediately, I knew I'd made the right choice in asking Michael for his help.  Not only did he have a sketch, but in typical Michael fashion, he explained the symbolism and reasoning behind it, "I thought of the beehive because it represents strength and unity, and that's what you represent through your teaching.  The hand and the pencil is you handing out knowledge, and I want to have little bees around the hive being fed knowledge.  And, I thought of "feed the young minds, so that they can feed the future.  That's what education is.  You were a student once and had someone teach you, and that inspired you to be a teacher and feed others like me.  You teach someone to do the right, and they'll pass that on." 

     I then looked up more information about the symbolism of the beehive.  I found the following paragraph online from an article by the Salt Lake Magazine entitled, "Behind the Beehive:"


Mark Twain commented on the Utah beehive symbol in his book on the 1860s American West,

          Roughing It, “The Mormon crest was easy. And it was simple, unostentatious and it fitted like

          a glove. It was a representation of a Golden Beehive, with all the bees at work.â€� On October 11, 1881

          an article in the Deseret News explained the symbolism: “The hive and honey bees form our

          communal coat of arms. … It is a significant representation of the industry, harmony, order

          and frugality of the people, and of the sweet results of their toil, union and intelligent cooperation.

I don't think I can state what I want to represent any better.  It is true that whatever efforts and time you put into the children today comes back tenfold.  Thank you, Michael!


    quote taken from:  https://www.saltlakemagazine.com/behind-the-beehive/