I thought the State of the Union address sounded familiar. It wasn’t just the repetition – it was all of the Republican soundbites tossed in there as well.
Archive for January, 2012
Today as we honor Dr Martin Luther King, I came across this video clip of Carly Fleischmann. Carly has autism and is non-verbal but she broke free thanks to a computer. Check out this video as you think about what it means to be “Free at last”.
This morning, I tendered my resignation as a member of the Utah House of Representatives to join the Dan Liljenquist for US Senate campaign.
It has been an honor to serve the people of District 57. I thank them for allowing me to serve them for the past year. I have SO enjoyed the opportunity to represent them and hope I was able to add to the dialogue on Utah’s Capitol Hill. I am pleased to say there are many good people in Pleasant Grove who could step into the legislature and continue to advocate for limited government and fiscal restraint. The people of District 57 are good people and I am confident the delegates will choose my replacement wisely.
It was a difficult decision for me and not one that I made lightly. As I decided to join Dan Liljenquist’s campaign, I knew I could not in good conscience focus on a Senate race AND be fully present during the legislative session. It would not be fair to my constituents to be distracted by another campaign. I will continue serving whole-heartedly – it will just be in a different capacity. At the end of the day, we need good government at ALL levels – and that includes the federal level.
After decades of politicians centralizing power and money in Washington in the misguided belief that somehow a bloated federal government knows best, we have arrived at a critical juncture. Do we continue down the road of big government and massive spending? Or do we face reality, rebalance as a nation and move forward with a limited government that lives within its means? I have not given up on America, but to reclaim its greatness and its shining spot on the Hill, we must change the “business as usual” in Washington. To do that, we must change who we send to represent us. We need leaders who understand that our debts must be paid, that we must stop spending money we do not have, who will look the American people in the eye and tell them the truth and we need leaders who care more about the next generation than the next election. Dan Liljenquist is that type of leader.
As my children continue to grow up, I’ve had to answer hard questions about the massive debt our generation has saddled them with – $48,500 per person and rising. I am beyond concerned at what their future looks like if we continue down the same path of economic uncertainty, regulatory strangulation and the punishing of innovation and success. Utah enjoys being ranked the best managed state in the nation – but if we cannot fix things at the federal level, it simply will not matter. We need bold, new leadership and we need it now.
Orrin Hatch ran against incumbent Frank Moss in 1976. As he campaigned, he asked repeatedly “What do you call a Senator who has been there 18 years? You call him home.” Now, almost 40 years later, he has been in office longer than 60% of this state has been alive. He was elected during the Bicentennial year, in an era of wood-sided station wagons, gold shag carpeting, bell bottoms – and a belief that government held the solution to our problems.
Over the years, his votes have demonstrated a consistent belief that government – particularly the federal government – knows best. Hatch voted for spending bill after spending bill filled with pet projects and pork, adding millions and millions of dollars worth of his own requests. He voted time after time after time to increase the debt ceiling, giving us trillions of dollars in debt we have no realistic way to pay for. He laid out the Constitutional arguments for the individual mandate in healthcare – the very arguments later used by others to justify Obamacare. After Hillarycare was killed in the late 90’s, he personally partnered with Ted Kennedy to resurrect part of it, rename it SCHIP and pushed hard to get it passed – over the objections of many fellow Republicans. He decided to pull educational decisions from the states when he created the National Department of Education and then later advocated for No Child Left Behind. He championed Medicare Part D, the largest entitlement expansion in decades, one that added TRILLIONS in unfunded liabilities OVERNIGHT and called “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960’s” by the former Comptroller General of the United States. Just a couple of months ago, our senior Senator went on Fox News and said that we did not need to cut entitlements. The truth is, if we ignore entitlements – the big 3 of “Mandatory spending” – there is no way to pull ourselves out of the abyss we are in.
We need leaders willing to lay it all on the line and work to fundamentally reform the biggest problems we face today – runaway spending and unlimited debt. We need leaders who will look down the road – not just to the next election – and who will do what needs to be done. Dan Liljenquist has done that in the Utah legislature. He will do that in Washington. It has an honor to have been asked to join him in his campaign. There is no question that he is up against a formidable opponent with virtually unlimited amounts of money. This campaign will require lots of hard work from a lot of people.
I invite you to join me in getting Dan elected. Check out his website at http://www.DanForUtah.com, “like” him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @DanForUtah, donate time and/or money and join me in being a Dan fan. It’s Time!
Meet Dan Liljenquist!
Taxpayers in Philadelphia are stuck with hefty bills because of sky-high pension benefits for people who retire for a weekend, then come right back to work. City Councilwoman Marian Tasco retired Friday, collected almost a half a million dollars in pension benefits and returns to work today, when she will be sworn in to serve a seventh term. She will be joined by Ronald Donatucci, who will collect $366,797 when he returns to work after a week-long retirement and they both join colleagues who have previously done the same thing.
The city offers a “Deferred Retirement Option Plan” that allows workers to collect a salary AND build up pension money during the last four years of their employment. Touted as revenue-neutral when it originally passed, Philly’s DROP program has cost the city a quarter of a billion dollars in just 10 years. Mayor Nutter has vowed to “work tirelessly” to abolish the program but right now, just shy of 400 people have signed up for it, declaring they are within their last 4 years of work.
This fall, the Philadelphia city council voted to override the mayor’s veto of a bill that preserves the program – a bill sponsored by none other than Marian Tasco. The city council has also raised taxes two years in a row and now the best solution they appear to have come up with is simply stall for time while more and more people move through the system, collect 6-figure payouts and go right back to work.
Citizens are starting to catch on. Four retiring council members are DROP participants while one incumbent lost his re-election bid in part because of his participation in this giant albatross of a program. What were they thinking?!