Archive for April, 2010

My choice for Utah’s next Senator

April 28, 2010

It is no secret that I have felt that Senator Bennett should be called home and “released with a vote of thanks”.  I believe that he did what he felt was best, but the longer he was in DC, the less he voted in a way I would agree with.  I have been closely following the Senate race for some time now.  Having gone on the county convention circuit a year ago, the delegate disappointment – and outright anger – with Senator Bob Bennett  was palpable.  Delegate after delegate after delegate wanted to know what “could be done about Bennett”. I was ready for a change and it was clear to me then that Bennett was going to have a very difficult run this time around.

I have carefully watched the entrants into this race – Mark Shurtleff with his inadvertent Tweeting, subsequent announcement, then withdrawal, Cherilyn Eagar who got in the race last June, businessman Tim Bridgewater who got in the race last fall, attorney Mike Lee who surprised no one with his January announcement, then a slew of others who jumped in in March, the week of filing.

I have listened to what they have to say, read their literature, heard countless stump speeches, visited websites and have talked to the major contenders personally for considerable amounts of time.

I like that Mark is great at giving patriotic speeches. He is strong on second amendment rights and family values.  I like that Cherilyn has been a tireless conservative activist for many years and has not hesitated to speak her mind. Even some of the lesser-knowns are fun to listen to. When Mike Lee jumped in the race in January, I considered myself a strong supporter. He knows his stuff when it comes to Constitutional law and original intent. He speaks fervently about Article I, Section 8 – the famous (or infamous) commerce clause and the federal government’s vast over-reach into state government and the private sector and he is very popular with delegates.

As time went on, though, it became clear to me that I needed to start paying more attention to Tim Bridgewater. Solid conservative friends of mine were backing him. He really shone at several debates I attended – comfortable in his own skin, gracious, humorous – he stood out as one of the top two contenders.

Although very important, there is more than just how a candidate does in a debate or a cottage meeting or at a county convention.  Congressman Jason Chaffetz repeated during his 2008 race “How you run your campaign is a good indicator of how you’ll be in office.” I kept that in mind as I looked at candidates. Who do they surround themselves with? How do the staff act towards others (paid or not)? How do the volunteer supporters treat others, including other campaigns? How are staff and volunteers treated by the candidate? Is there a lot of turnover and if so, why? How are delegates treated? Are they treated differently if they have chosen to support another candidate? What about their presence at events? Are they professional? Are they nice? Do they walk the walk of what they claim are their core principles or do they only talk the talk? How do they interact with people of all backgrounds and levels of experience? How do they respond under pressure? I believe all of those questions are pertinent to asking how they will do in DC.

A third area that seems critically important to me is their stand on the issues. I have a couple of caveats right up front. Number one, I do not feel that I need to agree with a candidate (or anyone else) 100% of the time on all the issues. Number two, let’s just be honest – ALL the Senate candidates love the Constitution. All of them. There is not a single one who wants to toss it out, ignore it or have a re-do (although some want to amend it). At least this campaign cycle, all of them are for the talking points of states’ rights, limited government, fiscal discipline and accountability. So, I felt I needed to move past the campaign rhetoric and to some solid suggestions on what can be DONE back in DC, not just talked about.

A fourth area that is not as critical but still an important piece of the puzzle for me is their level of experience in the real world. Do they have political experience? What kind? Management experience? What kind? What kind of life experiences are they bringing to the table? I am generally skeptical of folks without real world experience, be they the “career politician”, the political neophyte or others without a broad base.

Looking at all of those factors, I have chosen to endorse, support and campaign for Tim Bridgewater. In fact, I feel so strongly about Tim being the right man for the right job at the right time that I am focusing all my efforts on his campaign and only his campaign (sorry, Governor Herbert)! To me, Tim has SHOWN that he is principled. He walks the walk of fiscal conservatism.   He walks the walk of a 2nd Amendment rights supporter (and user, LOL). He understands trade issues – because he has dealt with them in several venues over the course of his career. He understands economic issues in a feet-on-the-ground way. He knows what it is to make a payroll. He knows how to work hard – he’s done it all his life. He does not act “entitled” – he knuckles down and works for everything he has gotten – even my vote. He understands how to manage and how to lead. He has REAL solutions for the problems we face and talks about how to really go about making change, not just continue to tell us we have a problem. Without fanfare, he just goes to work if he sees a need. He did not just complain about lack of educational choice to best meet his son’s needs – he put in the work to help start a charter school. He is a doer, not a talker – and does not look for public accolades for the service he provides. He has not been content to sit on the political sidelines, only showing up every few years to run for office – or to vote. He has been active and involved for many years, on many levels. He is also just a very nice, down-to-earth guy, who is not only patient and persistent, but he is kind and not at all arrogant. He “plays well with others” AND stands firm on principle – a combination of traits sorely needed in DC today. I invite you to join me in supporting Tim Bridgewater as THE best person for the job of US Senator.

Tim Bridgewater

April 27, 2010

Tim Bridgewater came from a humble beginning, growing up in a single-wide trailer in Salt Lake.  He learned early on about fiscal conservatism, discipline and not living beyond your means. He learned to love the Constitution at an early age and has always identified himself as a conservative Republican who is for liberty and accountability. He was the first person in his family to go to college and attended Snow College in Ephraim, Utah on a football scholarship.  After serving an LDS mission in Latin America, he went to BYU where he graduated with a degree in Business Finance.  He subsequently pursued graduate studies in international economics at the University of Utah.  I guess that means he bleeds purple. ;)

After graduation from BYU, Tim worked in banking for a year, then went to work with the Reagan administration.  He worked with import/export banking and gained valuable insight as he negotiated with a variety of government agencies, nationally and internationally.

Following his marriage to the former Laura Clark of American Fork, he spent some time working with Norm Bangeter, assisting Utah companies in exporting their products. He built a consulting business that helps emerging companies succeed in the exportation world.  He has broad-based experience in business development, finance, the automotive industry, the energy industry and education.

He returned to DC for work and while there, his wife, Laura, completed her PhD in Molecular Biology at George Washington University.  In fact, she defended her dissertation just 4 days before their youngest children – twins – were born.

From Washington DC, he went to Houston for four years.  While there, he had the opportunity to delve deeply into politics, working on a governor’s race and then a presidential campaign for George W Bush. He and his family returned to Utah after the early primaries, where he promptly jumped into local politics.  In 2001, he ran and won as chair of the Utah county Republican party, serving for about 14 months before resigning to run for Utah’s Second Congressional district.  He won at convention but lost in the primary to John Swallow who subsequently lost to current Congressman, Jim Matheson.  The scenario repeated itself in 2004.

Not to be deterred, Tim has stayed involved with politics.  He has been a national delegate 3 different time and worked with the governor’s administration as the Deputy for Education and Senior Policy Advisor in 2005-2006.  I questioned him specifically about No Child Left Behind and told him I had heard he supported it.  “On the contrary”, he said.  “I worked FOR Utah and AGAINST the forced implementation of that bill.”   At the time, Jim Lehrer reported that “Utah’s standard was a better way to help the most students, while federal standards look at cumulative progress for all students in a school”. A local paper reported that “Bridgewater will continue negotiations with the federal government so Utah educators can maintain control of their schools.“Education starts right here at the grass roots” he(Tim Bridgewater) said.” Education and educational choice has always been important to him. When one of his children was struggling in a traditional public school, he helped found the John Hancock charter school, located in Pleasant Grove. He also founded a school in southern Utah that works with troubled boys.

I also asked why he supported John McCain and not Mitt Romney, like so many other Utahns. He said that he found Romney to be a liberal Mormon from Massachusetts – a fiscal conservative, but social moderate that he did not believe could win. He said that he did not agree with McCain on cap and trade, on TARP and on energy, but he did like that McCain is against earmarks, is against government subsidizing of private industry and that he understands on a deeply personal level the role of “providing for the common defense”. Tim told me that he honestly believed the presidential race would be between Hillary Clinton and John McCain and that McCain was the best choice for defeating Hillary.

Like the other contenders in the Utah Senate race, Tim is hopeful that we will see sweeping changes in 2010 and in 2012. He asserts that we need leaders willing to fight tough battles and put the brakes on uncontrolled government spending. When asked why people should vote for him, he replied that he has the strongest background of any of the candidates to make an immediate difference, having a deep understanding of capitalism, the free market and on-the-ground experience in business. He thinks we have plenty of lawyers and lobbyists now serving and feels that we need a businessman’s approach now more than ever. He then quipped that he also brings a better sense of humor, something that has been evident in the many Senatorial debates.

Some of his supporters have this to say about him:

“I like Tim because he is a business man and understands how to meet a payroll and make a bottom line. I think that we have way too many attorneys in Washington! I also like his ideas on the economy and immigration. his ideas pretty well match how I feel. Go Bridgewater!”

“I first met Tim while working as a citizen advocate to protect education funding from RDA abuse. Tim was serving as the Education Deputy to the Governor at the time, a position for which he volunteered and took no salary. Tim actively worked to help us with our issue. He came and walked my district with me when I ran for public office because that’s the kind of person Tim is. He believes in service to his community. Tim is a defender of free-market principles and our constitutional freedoms and, most importantly, Tim is grounded in his understanding of the limited role of government. He is smart, successful and has both the public and business experience that makes him the qualified choice to represent us in Washington. He is a man of great integrity and honor. I am proudly supporting Tim Bridgewater for U.S. Senate.” Robyn Bagley

The latest poll by the Salt Lake Tribune shown Tim continuing to gain momentum. Many political pundits – including this one – are predicting a Lee/Bridgewater primary.

Mike Lee

April 27, 2010

Considered the front-runner in the race to become Utah’s next Senator, Mike Lee is a 38 year-old Constitutional attorney from Alpine.  Starting more than a year ago, he has been around the state multiple times, first teaching classes on the Constitution, then starting in January, campaigning for the US Senate.

Growing up the son of Rex E and Janet Lee, Mike enjoyed the opportunity for frequent discussions on the Constitution around the dinner table and has developed a deep love for it.

In his professional life he has been an assistant US Attorney, worked closely with Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr as his General Counsel, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and is now an attorney in private practice whose clients have included Energy Solutions, GE, and the state of Utah. During the past legislative session, he helped the Patrick Henry caucus in formulating, then testifying on behalf of several of the “states’ rights” bills.

Mr. Lee believes in the original intent of the Constitution and is committed to pulling government back to the size and scope intended by the Founding Fathers.  He believes we should end deficit spending, strengthen national security, reform the tax system, reduce government regulations and end the era of the lifetime politician.  He has called for Constitutional amendments to impose 12-year term limits on both houses of Congress and to require a balanced budget.

Addressing entitlement programs is an issue that can no longer be overlooked.  According to Lee,

Three entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—are on a course that is as disturbing as it is unsustainable. Through these programs, Congress has promised to provide roughly $50 trillion in “unfunded” benefits to Americans who are alive today—that is, benefits for which Congress lacks the financial means to pay. This is irresponsible. While current Social Security beneficiaries must be held harmless, there needs to be a systemic overhaul to these programs, lest they bankrupt the country. To do so, people will need to realize that the benefits those older generations have had, may not be available in the future. But to not overhaul these programs cannot be postponed or overlooked any longer like the problem is going to go away.

He has run an all-volunteer campaign that has pulled in enthusiastic supporters from all over the state. Every event seems to be well-attended by Mike Lee fans wearing “I Like Mike” shirts and buttons and his sign crew does a good job of making sure there is no lack of visual reminders that he is running. He has a very devoted group of followers and has been steady as the first place vote-getter for a number of polls now, hanging around 30%-35%, which is usually 8 to 10 percentage points ahead of his next-closest competitor.

Some of his supporters have this to say:
“Mike Lee is the best choice among the candidates. His campaign is focused on the need to start following the Constitution again and that’s the focus we need. Most of the problems in society today are made much worse because our representatives refuse to honor their oath of office.”

“Mike Lee considers the U.S. Constitution to be the most important secular document ever written. It came about by inspired men, and had we, as a nation, adhered to its original text, we would not be in the condition we now find ourselves, and if we follow that same document, in its original intent and function, we can solve the current problems now facing our nation. Mike Lee understands the Constitution, he loves it, he believes it.”

“I listened to Mike speak about the Constitution I was very impressed. He not only knows the Constitution better than anyone I have ever met, but he LOVES it. Everything he talked about made sense. His opinions not only matched my own, but far exceeded them because of the vastness of his comprehension.”

“I support Mike Lee. My friend said he has only one item on his agenda: the Constitution. I know that over the last six or seven decades the federal government has taken more than the Constitution allows. Mike Lee is the person to make that change.”

Cherilyn Eagar, candidate for US Senate

April 26, 2010

Remember that story about a politician who surrounded himself with yes-men who would flatter him and tell him anything he wanted to hear?  (I know, I know – which one?!)  It was the one where a little boy in the street finally stood up and said the Emperor has no clothes!  In an interview I did with Cherilyn Eagar months ago, she told me “I believe that anyone who runs for political office needs to be willing to stand up and call it for what it is”.  She felt strongly that Utah needs representation TO Washington, not coming the other way and she has been out campaigning for the last year on issues she believes are critical to the course correction this nation needs.

Cherilyn is no novice to the political scene, or to speaking her mind.  In 1978, she was a delegate to the International Women’s Year Conference in Illinois. The topic was the ERA.  She stood in an auditorium with 800 women and said “I would like to quote from the Bible” to which half the room erupted in jeers and hissing. Once that died down, she finished her statement: “I would like to quote from the Bible of the radical feminist movement – the Yale Law Journal” – to total silence.  She said she has learned that she had to be willing to stand on principle, even if she stood alone.

She has felt for a year or more that it is a good time to be running.  She knew it would be a hard year for incumbents, that people in Utah are ready for a change.  She is a small business owner and in a market that has tanked, she and her husband have been able to maintain through innovation and change.  She believes that if  Washington were run like a business, we would see some significant changes.  She pointed out that even though only 1% of our population are attornies, 60% of the US Senators are attorneys,  while only 23% are business people.  She feels it is those businesspeople most affected by policies coming out of DC.

Eagar fears the federal government thinks they’re God. They compete with the private sector but they ought to be accountable for the same laws that the private sector is – in other words, they need to play by the same rules!

When asked how she as a rookie could make change, she answered that it took us a long time to get there and it will take a while to repair the damage.  She spoke of finding who your friends are and standing together on correct principles.  She said the federal government needs to find a way to work with the states in a way that supports and protects states rights.

On the economy, Eagar feels we abandoned Reagan’s principles of less government.  Even during our “decade in the sun”, the Republicans continued to grow government.  They allowed Fannie and Freddie and sub prime to divvy out – with extraordinary greed – risky loans to people who could not afford it.  That was the immediate catalyst for today’s economic mess.  Our Founding Fathers believed it was extraordinarily immoral to put others into debt they could not get out of.  “We need to reverse this”, she said, “and get enough good people elected to turn it around.”  She believes that deficit spending never works – we need to cut spending and cut taxes.

When asked how she would stay connected to her constituents, she answered that she would act as if there were no 17th amendment.  She would set a schedule with state legislature to sit down and work with them on a regular basis. ” I am on Utah’s team”, she said, “not Washington’s team.”

Her supporters have this to say about her:

“After listening to Cherilyn Eagar, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate (challenging Bob Bennett), she did not sound like the usual politician. She is LDS, a business owner, wife (was a single mom), mother, grandmother, reared in California, and has worked politically in other states. Her values are very much pro-family and she has lobbied nationally for those family values to be kept intact. She was informed and has more experience with the Federal Government.”

“In my opinion, there are three characteristics which an elected official should possess:
First – A strong belief in God, and a life of moral and righteous living.
Second – A knowledge of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.
Third – Those who hold office must be and remain teachable.
Her high standard of living, her knowledge of the Constitution from the viewpoint of the original Founders, and her unique approach to learning and remaining teachable all add to my confidence that she would make a very good Senator” Glenn Kimber

Although not the front-runner in the polling, she does have some solid support among delegates.  May 8th’s convention will show if it is enough.

Bridgewater Receives Minuteman Endorsement

April 25, 2010

Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, came to Utah this weekend announce his endorsement of Senate candidate Tim Bridgewater.

Gilchrist also introduced Bridgewater at the Utah and Salt Lake county conventions. He said that “His stand on dealing with the illegal immigration issue is right in line with the Minuteman Project. He believes in a nation of immigration. He believes in the rule of law.”

I had the chance to meet Gilchrist and ask him why he had chosen Tim Bridgewater to endorse over all other candidates. He said that Bridgewater has a workable plan for fixing this “chaotic mess“. He also said he believed that unlike many current Senators – including Bob Bennett – “Tim Bridgewater truly has a committed stand on the issues of immigration reform and border security” and that Bridgewater’s plan was both practical and enforceable.

With Obama’s push for amnesty and Arizona’s tough new law on illegal immigration, it is an issue that will be at the forefront of this year’s election cycle. Bridgewater has been pro-active in discussing realistic solutions to fix the broken legal immigration system and address illegal immigration.

Utah County GOP Convention

April 24, 2010

Someday, maybe, I will get the hang of live blogging AND live tweeting simultaneously, but today is not that day. (I did live-tweet the entire convention – HollyontheHill, of course)

The morning started early – county candidates started the sign wars at 5 am while federal candidates (with bigger budgets and more signs) had to wait until 5:30. By 6:30 and the opening of the credentials desk, the parking lot was full – and there were signs to the freeway a mile away…..

The convention started with a central committee meeting and an attempt to replace the parliamentarian. Chair Taylor Oldroyd was shouted down and booed and in the end the original parliamentarian – Byron Harward, former member of the Utah House – remained the parliamentarian for the rest of the convention.

From there, the county divided out into legislative districts to either hear from their elected representative in uncontested races or to hear from candidates in contested races. Only one race is going to a primary – the race for district 59, between Val Peterson and former legislator Mike Thompson. In other races, Craig Frank won the nomination for 57 with 75% of the vote, Brad Daw won with 65% of the vote, Mike Morley won with 93% of the vote, Francis Gibson won handily and Dean Sanpei bested Dawn Frandsen 62% to 38% for Steve Clark’s Provo seat.

Following House district meetings, the groups merged into Senate districts. Senator John Valentine was booed as he told the crowd he is a Bob Bennett supporter.

The main convention followed. Congressman Jason Chaffetz was presented with the party’s “Ronald Reagan” award – well deserved. He is wildly popular among the Utah county crowd. He gave a good speech and concluded with these well-known remarks from Ronald Reagan: ““Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

Once the speeches from the county candidates – and then the Senate candidates were done, delegates cast their first vote. Only one race is going to a primary – that for County Commission Seat A. Joel Wright and Gary Anderson (incumbent) will face off in June. County Commissioner Steve White – considered the favorite going in – was defeated by newcomer Doug Witney who won on the first ballot with 65% of the vote.

In the straw poll, 1174 county delegates voted. Mike Lee came in first with 41% of the vote, Cherilyn Eagar was second with 22%, Tim Bridgewater was third with 18% and Bob Bennett came in 4th with 15% of the vote.

Things wrapped up and most delegates headed for the doors by 1:45 – fairly early by convention standards!

Some Dare Call It Treason

April 21, 2010

This campaign season has brought a depth of the “loyalty” to one’s favored candidate that is bordering on religious fervor. It was disturbing and scary in 2008 when Obama was the object of such adulation and it is still disturbing and scary when it’s Republican candidates who are receiving the adoring accolades. Every office in this state has good people running. Admittedly a few stand a better chance of winning than others, but for the most part, there are good, honest people trying to do a good job both in running and then in serving in offices all over this state. If they are elected and don’t do a good job, then “we the people” have the opportunity to call them home in 2 or 4 or 6 years.

Disagreeing on ISSUES is not negative campaigning. Calling other people names, claiming that others are negative campaigning, casting aspersions on opponents and even worse, opponents families, is. Followers and campaign volunteers and staff are a reflection of the campaign and what I am seeing concerns me. We can disagree on issues, but we seem to have devolved into non-stop disrespect and name-calling. Isn’t that an underhanded tactic we conservatives accuse the left of engaging in? If you don’t have a coherent argument, call someone names? Why is it bad if “they” do it, but just campaigning if “we” do it?

How did we get to the point in our political dialogue where you can’t say ANYTHING about another candidate without having supporters – and often staff – call, text, email, tweet, or Facebook you to tell you how you are wrong/misguided/not inspired enough/not conservative enough/not patriotic enough/not intelligent enough or any other combination of put-downs? Are those messages about not voting for “your” candidate really the ones you want to be sending? For some people, it seems to border on treason if you are not with them…..

A state delegate said recently about conversations from people supporting others folks than her first choice:

The shame and the guilt are the worst parts, like I’m not a cool kid at the lunch table anymore. It makes me feel like I’m in junior high all over again. I would take it a step further and say that it’s a “self-righteous, morally superior, holier than thou, you poor worm who cannot see the error of your ways”

Another one shared:

[This opposing candidate] treats me like someone in a martial arts contest. He will reluctantly shake my hand. His eye contact is like someone in a boxing ring.

Others have already lost friendships for supporting the “wrong” Republican candidate, are shunned at social events, are on the receiving end of social intimidation both on and off-line and more.

Elections are important, and yes, elections have consequences, but last time I checked, Satan is NOT one of the candidates on the ballot. Please stop acting like we have ONE choice in ANY of the many races this cycle and if we don’t vote for him or her we are all going to hell. I think it is awesome that EVERY candidate has supporters – and they all do. I don’t care whether you are running for county commissioner, the state legislature, federal office or anything in between, PLAY NICE.

Finally, here is a great quote from Dr. Leonard George – memorize it, please. “A danger sign of the lapse from true skepticism in to dogmatism is an inability to respect those who disagree.”

The Salt Man Cometh

April 20, 2010

The FDA is now working on legally limiting the amount of salt in our foods.  Yep.  Big brother is now deciding how much salt can be used in the food we purchase.  Their goal?  To “adjust the American palate to a less salty diet“.  They do not believe they need any additional authority from Congress.

According to an article from MSNBC:

Until now, the government has pushed the food industry to voluntarily reduce salt and tried to educate consumers about the dangers of excessive sodium. But in a study to be released Wednesday, an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine concludes that those measures have failed. The panel will recommend that the government take action, according to sources familiar with the findings.

Although the specifics of the government’s plans have not been made public, the food industry has been bracing for a federal initiative.

“We can’t just rely on the individual to do something,” said Cheryl Anderson, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The MSNBC article continues:

Humans have an innate taste for salt, which is needed for some basic biological functions. But beyond flavor, salt is also used as a preservative to inhibit microbial growth; it gives texture and structure to certain foods; and it helps leaven and brown baked goods.

Gary K. Beauchamp, a psychobiologist and director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, said salt also provides another, less understood quality. “It gives something that food people refer to as ‘mouthfeel,’ ” said Beauchamp, who also served on the Institutes of Medicine committee. “For some soups, for instance, it’s not just the salty taste — sodium makes the soup feel thicker.”

This action by the FDA should make New York state assemblyman Feliz Ortiz happy. The Democrat from Brooklyn has introduced a bill that would ban the use of salt in all New York restaurants and will smack violators with a $1,000 fine. Star of “Top Chef” Tom Colicchio quipped “”Anybody who wants to taste food with no salt, go to a hospital and taste that.”

On a related note, school lunches have been called a national security threat….

Dems Not Needed in Utah County

April 19, 2010

At least not for shooting the Utah County GOP in the foot. They do a fine job of it themselves.

In recent headlines from the Provo Daily Herald, we read:
*GOP challengers for gov “filtered out” for county convention. In a unilateral decision, county party leadership decided not to allow any candidates for governor to speak – except the governor. Why? It’s not like he’s in any danger of losing to one of his competitors. Richard Martin has “interesting” ideas, Dan Oaks sounds good when he’s not plagarizing websites and Super Dell would be a hoot. But alas, just Gary will be speaking (not that he’s not entertaining……)

Then we have this doozy:
*Careless with Cash referencing the cash collected on caucus night, then the donation envelopes being trashed. What were they thinking?! I’ll admit to no formal accounting-type training, but even *I* know not to destroy financial records. Or to dump everything into one big pile before reconciling the amounts IN the envelopes with the amounts stated ON the envelopes.

Finally, not specific to Utah County, we have a lawsuit filed by members of the GOP – against the GOP. The lawsuit asked for a temporary restraining order immediately prior to the caucuses, which was denied. It also seeks an official court ruling on the issue of automatic and/or appointed delegate issue. (Please, oh please let the automatic delegate issue die! I swear we have addressed every single year I have been involved in politics.)  Not only that, a number of the signatories on the lawsuit are delegates, precinct chairs, members of the state central committee, etc, who want to keep their spots while it works its way through the courts.  Isn’t that a bit like suing your boss and wanting to keep your job with full salary and benefits??

There’s more, but that’s enough banging my head against the wall for one day………

Chaffetz Says No to Automatic Delegate Status

April 19, 2010

Congressman Jason Chaffetz was offered both a county and state delegate spot by the Utah County GOP, a county heavy on giving ex-officios automatic delegate status. However, Chaffetz refused. In a phone call to Matt Misbach, he said “Just because I’m a Congressman doesn’t mean I should be an automatic delegate.”

He gave his official refusal to the Utah County Party Secretary, Lisa Shepherd. In place of the automatic delegate positions, he is receiving an honorary non-voting credential to the convention.

In a letter dated 4 May 2006, Mr. Chaffetz was among 4 people who sent a letter to “Fellow Republicans” stating their opposition to the “Automatic and Appointed” selection process. In part, the letter said

In principle, we are opposed to allowing party insiders, the establishment, and others in positions of power being granted additional voting power and therefore diluting the votes and will of the people. We recognize that the insiders’ agenda can at times compromise or be in conflict with the best interests of the party. Our party will be stronger and the process will be more legitimate, fair and transparent by having all Delegates elected at their individual caucus meetings.

It continues:

President Abraham Lincoln once said, “No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.” And President George H.W. Bush stated, “A government that remembers that the people are its master is a good and needed thing.”

The letter is also signed by Senator Howard Stephenson, then-Senator Tom Hatch, and one current Senate candidate, Tim Bridgewater. In a time when far too many politicians use soundbites to win elections or who “find religion” during their candidacy, Congressman Chaffetz continues to be a man who does more than “talk the talk”. Kudos to the Congressman.

In an interesting and somewhat disturbing aside, the deadline for Utah county ex-officios to accept the delegate position offered is May 10 – two days AFTER the convention is over. According to the Utah County GOP by-laws, if ex officios do not accept their delegate position in time to be formally accepted at the County Convention this weekend, their names will not be on the list given to the State Convention.  They will therefore not be able to receive credentials. This would potentially leave Utah County without full delegate representation at the State Convention. (And if they do happen to receive credentials without following this process, they are prime targets for credentials challenges – as they should be.)


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