With a decade of government experience, I know what it takes to find solutions, navigate complicated governmental agencies, and get things done.

Meet Mike


Family man, grandpa, farmer, Business Owner, Public Policy Advisor, and Community volunteer. Mike Kohler is a life-long resident of Midway, Utah. After a few years of college, he came home to run the family dairy farm due to the illness of his father. In 1997, when the business could not grow enough to take care of everyone involved, Mike sold his portion of the farm to family pursuing other interests. In 1998, he became involved with local politics as a member of the Wasatch County Commission then later a member of the Wasatch County Council where he served for 16 years. Continue


Recent Events


Interviews about the Jordanelle Reservoir. If you have questions contact me to learn more see issues.

Campagining on Heber Main Street Get Involved

Freedom, Responsibility and Hard Work

I was taught and have lived long enough to realize that freedom and self-determination are fundamental to a free society and that individuals, given the opportunity, will normally make good choices for themselves, their families and society. As your representative, my goal is to support laws that help give you that choice while maintaining government’s proper role. Individual Freedom is the key. Hard work opens the door. Taking responsibility keeps the door open. Here are some of the principles important to me and that I will apply to decisions.

1. While a civil society must have rules, Individual Freedom should be the main element.
2. Government is established by and for the people.
3. The Constitution defines the proper role of government and should be followed.
4. Government tends to want to care for all our needs and must be restrained.
5. An educated population is vital to understanding governments proper role
6. Government cannot replace personal responsibility.
7. Government’s ability to tax should be restrained leaving their reward of labor to the people.
8. The Family is the basic unit of a strong society and should be supported.
9. Society and Individuals do better when supported by strong families.
10. Nothing can replace hard work.

Contact Mike

Facebook is currently unavailable and we are working to fix it. In the mean time please get in touch with Mike through email, text, or call for questions and comments. We apologize for inconvenience.

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Thank you

If you have any additional questions or comments connect with Mike through comment, email, social media, or phone.

Taxes and Education Funding

I support the constitutional change on the ballet this fall to allow the Legislature to use State Income Tax revenue to something other than education. They need that in their tool box as they work to counter downward trends in traditional funding sources. I support funding traditional education. I also support funding alternatives for students and their families who choose another path along with accountability measures to assure the legislature and public that their support is not being wasted. learn more

Zoning and Zone Change Requests

It is my opinion that governments should be careful approving zone changes. Usually, such changes undermine neighborhoods and lives. learn more

Law Enforcement

Firearms and the 2nd Amendment

I support a citizen’s right to purchase, own, collect and use a firearm for their own purpose. The right to use a firearm for one's own protection should not be infringed. I like a line I’ve heard before by someone who said, “God made men and women. Sam Colt made them equal”… or something like that. learn more

Social and Mental Health Services

As County Commissioner, I was part of the multi county board over government sponsored mental health services in Wasatch and Utah Counties. These services take care of those who were under or un-insured and needed emotional or mental health treatment. It was very enlightening. I had no idea of the impact a mental health problem can have on a family. learn more

Property Taxes, Green Belt and Zoning

I support preferential tax rates for land used to produce food, animals and other agricultural products. learn more

Water and Water Diversion Projects

I think Central Utah has been good for our area and its contribution of water to the Provo and Weber River systems provides water and recreation opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have. It seems reasonable that new water projects are likely worth the effort. learn more

Water Rights Adjudication

If you don’t care about water rights, this may be a little boring. When it comes to water ownership, an Adjudication is not something we worry about everyday but, when the State conducts one, it’s a big deal. learn more

Water Rights Transfers

I support striking a balance between private property and community rights when it comes to historic water use and future water needs. As a legislator, I will continue to work with Utah’s water interests to find that balance. learn more

Water and Water Rights

Water and water rights are sacred in Utah. When the first pioneer settlers entered the Salt Lake Valley, they diverted nearby springs and creeks to irrigate crops. Utah’s mountain valleys did the same. Ponds and reservoirs soon became part of the system to extend the irrigation season through the summer. It is still done that way today only everything is bigger and culinary water delivery parallels irrigation in most communities. learn more

Firearms and the 2nd Amendment

I support a citizen’s right to purchase, purchase, own, collect and use a firearm for their own purpose. The right to use a firearm for one's own protection should not be infringed. I like a line I’ve heard before by someone who said, “God made men and women. Sam Colt made them equal”… or something like that. I was raised shooting guns and still do. I shoot for recreation a lot and still hunt with my family from time to time. In my past, a typical high school parking lot would have dozens of pickup trucks parked for the day with a rifle or shotgun fully visible in the window rack, ammunition in the glove box and the doors unlocked. Guns were part of life then for almost everyone. I still enjoy the shooting sports and have taught my kids and grand kids to do that same. I think everyone around guns should be well trained and comfortable with their safe use. A little training for kids from no-gun families would be a good investment as well in case they unexpectedly encounter a gun. Training is vital. I support the concealed/carry system and would like to see more reciprocity with other States. I find it strange that some in positions of high political offices or public view advocate for taking my guns away while surrounding themselves with armed guards for their “protection”. Or, that a rational person would think a criminal with bad intent would change their mind when they encounter a sign on the door that states “gun free zone”. It’s absurd. I believe a criminal would be more inclined to change their plans if they realized they might encounter someone who is armed, trained and ready to defend themselves. Almost every year, the legislature considers legislation related to guns. I support gun ownership and consider it a protected right under the constitution.

Taxes and Education Funding

The legislature and governor feel a strong obligation to fund education to the extent that it won’t over whelm the State’s budget and they have kept that promise offering very large increases over the past several prosperous years. We hear how Utah spends less per-pupil than any other state but that same amount is one of the highest in the nation as a percentage of the State’s budget. Other funds from PILT (Payment in lieu of taxes on public lands) and the School Trust lands trust fund help but it’s never enough to make everyone happy. As we move forward, the economic effect of our Covid-19 response will likely change how and how much we fund public programs including education. I think there will be a new “normal” for education over the next few years as the effect of the pandemic work through the system. In the meantime, I support the constitutional change on the ballet this fall to allow the Legislature to use State Income Tax revenue to something other than education. They need that in their tool box as they work to counter downward trends in traditional funding sources. I support funding traditional education. I also support funding alternatives for students and their families who choose another path along with accountability measures to assure the legislature and public that their support is not being wasted. I would push for even more family interaction in the important work of educating our next generation.

Zoning and Zone Change Requests

Zoning was adopted in the 70’s to add consistency, conformity and predictability to neighborhoods Early versions were simple but evolution has given recent zoning rules more and more control. Zoning rights go back ward while limitations on property go forward in time. When you buy a home, it’s nice to know, with some confidence, the types of land uses that are possible around you. A farmstead in a five acre zone with animals should have similar five acre parcels around it so that animals, dust and noises associated with small farms won’t surprise anyone or annoy neighbors. It’s the same with a traditional neighborhood of family homes or a commercial area if non-conforming uses are allowed. I believe zoned use standards should be supported and stay consistent over time. It’s my experience that most zone change applicants purchased a property with knowledge of permitted uses all the while expecting to add value thru a change in the zone with little regard for those close by. It is my opinion that governments should be careful approving zone changes. Usually, such changes undermine neighborhoods and lives.

Social and Mental Health Services

As County Commissioner, I was part of the multi county board over government sponsored mental health services in Wasatch and Utah Counties. These services take care of those who were under or un-insured and needed emotional or mental health treatment. It was very enlightening. I had no idea of the impact a mental health problem can have on a family. Although not nearly as serious as some, I have a grandson who is autistic. He’s a great kid but taking care of his challenges changes the whole family. More severe cases are very disruptive and can be dangerous. I came to understand that, unless you have a personal experience caring for and/or living with someone who has a mental health problem, you have no idea what it’s like. I didn’t. Community stigma adds to the burden. Courageously, most families do their best but many are not able to handle it without help, especially when that person or the caregivers get older. When a crisis happens, they often end up in jail. Most are repeat offenders and the cycle continues. Over the past two decades, mental health services available to help those in jail or just in crisis has increased. All Utah Counties have government sponsored mental health services who help law enforcement when they have a call on someone who needs mental health services but their coverage is limited due to resources. With suicide and violence related to mental health on the rise, I support more financial support for social services and mental health systems in our state. To many, it’s a hidden problem but one that needs our help.

Property Taxes, Green Belt and Zoning

I support preferential tax rates for land used to produce food, animals and other agricultural products.

A thought about open spaces and zoning related to “Green Belt Tax Rates”. Each year, the legislature grapples with rules related to property taxes and their role in funding government activities, particularly local government and education. As taxes on homes, businesses and other personal property increase, focus eventually gets to the tax breaks given to open land used for producing food and other crops generally known as “Green Belt. Giving this type of land use a tax break has been standard practice for decades to encourage production agriculture and open space uses in developing areas around the state. Normal green belt rules require a minimum of five acres and restrict the use to verified farming practices. In the last few sessions, the legislature has reduced that requirement to two acres in special cases, again with production requirements based on the type of crops grown.

Water and Water Diversion Projects

One more thing about water… and taxes that has been on my mind over the weekend. Over the past several years, the legislature has been talking about, and in some cases, paying to design, very large water projects to transport water from where it is now to where it is needed for future growth. The St. George pipe line is one of them. It will bring State owned Colorado River water from Lake Powell, across the State, to Iron and Washington Counties. Then, there’s the Bear River Pipe line to bring water from the Bear in Box Elder County to the Wasatch Front and another to take water from the Central Utah Water project (Strawberry) to the Nephi area. Water projects are not new. Past projects like the Central Utah water project, designed and built over decades, brings water from the Uintah Mountains to the Provo and Weber Rivers. We all benefit now because of what they did back then. The Jordanelle Reservoir wouldn’t be there without the Central Utah Project. The question is… should we continue to spend large amounts of tax money on these projects obligating future generations to their payments?

I think Central Utah has been good for our area and its contribution of water to the Provo and Weber River systems provides water and recreation opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have. It seems reasonable that new water projects are likely worth the effort.

Water Rights Adjudication

If you don’t care about water rights, this may be a little boring. When it comes to water ownership, an Adjudication is not something we worry about everyday but, when the State conducts one, it’s a big deal.

Who is affected? Every so often, the State Engineer’s office is required to clean up the official record of water right holders and quantities of water owned, including ground water, along a water source like the Provo River. A review of the Provo River Drainage is underway. It started at the Great Salt Lake several years ago, worked its way along the Jordan River to Utah Lake and then up the Provo. It is now our turn. A review of the State’s records show that the Provo drainage has up to 30% more paper water on the books than wet water in the river on an average year. That’s a problem. This legal proceeding, under the direction of a judge, is designed to officially update water ownership records based on actual use removing rights that have not been used.

Since the legislature makes the rules when it comes to water in the State, it’s important that your representative in the legislature understands water, water rights, water ownership and will defend the fairness of the process equally for large and small right holders. I have that experience.

Water Rights Transfers

Buy and Dry is the name used to describe what happens in small communities upstream from large cities when well-funded developers purchase water rights and transfer them into those cities leaving parcels without water and useless for agriculture or development. It was a common practice in California in the 50’s and 60’s leaving many mountain areas above Las Angeles dry and empty. It was attempted more recently in Utah’s Snake Valley, a small farming community located on Utah’s west border with Nevada in Juab and Millard counties. Up to 60,000 acre feet of water was proposed to be piped into Las Vegas leaving the area dry. In this case, interstate negotiators agreed to a split allowing some of the water originating on the Nevada side to be piped away while keeping Utah’s water for the future of the area. The legislature has tackled this problem in small bites over the past several sessions. This is one time where conservative legislators have to strike a balance between the private property rights of a water rights holder and the future water needs of a community. Once the water is gone, it is likely gone forever. Legislation has tried to meet that balance by giving the owner the ability to be compensated but giving local communities the ability to intervene in such transfers, again with just compensation.

I support striking a balance between private property and community rights when it comes to historic water use and future water needs. As a legislator, I will continue to work with Utah’s water interests to find that balance.

Water and Water Rights

Water and water rights are sacred in Utah. When the first pioneer settlers entered the Salt Lake Valley, they diverted nearby springs and creeks to irrigate crops. Utah’s mountain valleys did the same. Ponds and reservoirs soon became part of the system to extend the irrigation season through the summer. It is still done that way today only everything is bigger and culinary water delivery parallels irrigation in most communities. Early users made agreements which became law as to how water would be managed including policies for solving conflicts. Mutual irrigation Companies and distribution systems were soon created to jointly manage water right distribution for the benefit of their shareholders in common areas. Water represents at least half the value of a Utah property whether it’s growing alfalfa or houses.

Utah water laws follow two major tenants.
1. “Use it or lose it”, otherwise called “beneficial use”, and
2. “First in time, first in right” which means the date a water right is put to use and recorded with the state becomes the priority date for that right and when flows are low, earlier priority dates are served first.

Three other points are important to know about Utah water rights in today’s world.
1. Utah’s water is generally oversubscribed. In other words, there are more paper rights than wet water in most drainage systems. That’s certainly true in the Provo drainage.
2. All water in the State is owned by the public. Individuals own the right to use water for a particular purpose.
3. Close to 80% of all water use rights in Utah are owned by agriculture production entities.

Meet Mike

Family man, grandpa, farmer, Business Owner, Public Policy Advisor, and Community volunteer. Mike Kohler is a life-long resident of Midway, Utah. After a few years of college, he came home to run the family dairy farm due to the illness of his father. In 1997, when the business could not grow enough to take care of everyone involved, Mike sold his portion of the farm to family pursuing other interests. In 1998, he became involved with local politics as a member of the Wasatch County Commission then later a member of the Wasatch County Council where he served for 16 years. During this time, Kohler worked closely with residents to solve difficult challenges facing the county such as sustainable growth, general planning, transportation planning, transition zones, and public utilities in coordination with local municipalities and Special Service Districts. He also expanded his involvement in the agricultural industry. Currently, he represents the state’s dairy industry and other agricultural interests in the development and implementation of public policy regarding agricultural sustainability, agribusiness, irrigation distribution, and water quality. Mike’s experience gives him a valuable understanding of the challenges facing the state and local government entities.

Mike studied Agricultural Economics and Accounting at Utah State University; he later studied economics at the University of Utah. Mike impressed upon his children the value of education and encouraged them all to receive a college education.

Mike Kohler is married to Laurie Kohler, and together they enjoy creating memories with their six children and 21 grandchildren. In his spare time, Mike enjoys driving his tractors (especially the “orange” tractor), growing hay, raising cattle, spending time with grandchildren, and completing an ever-growing list of projects around his house.

VOLUNTEER

YARD SIGN REQUEST

Wasatch County and Summit County


If there was ever a time when our area needed a strong state government voice, it is today. Mike Kohler is the person who knows us and our needs, and we would do ourselves proud to make sure he gets the opportunity to represent us. Our growth, our future, our transportation, our educational needs, our local UVU campus, our kids… to mention a few of our areas of concerns, deserves someone with history and experience to make sure our voices are heard.

James Ritchie


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