Thursday, July 18, 2013

Am I Enough?

The headline was painful to read, "Student Body Candidate Rigs Election", but the story was even worse.  A candidate for student body office first stole identities, then used them to vote for himself for student body president--650 times.  When he got caught, he fueled the flames of his demise by trying desperately to blame his actions on others.  What drove him to these extreme measures?  Why would he resort to such drastic measures, sacrificing his integrity and now his freedom just to win an election?
For this answer, I turn my thoughts to the ever deep and moving "Cool Runnings"  OK, maybe it isn't deep and moving, and it is 20 years old, and a rather enjoyable comedy, but there was a deeper message to the story.  Derice, a talented runner is denied a chance to compete in the Summer Olympics when he is tripped by Junior.  To fulfill his dreams of Olympic glory, he turns to the Winter Olympics and the sport of bobsledding.  While at the Olympics, he discovers that his coach cheated many years earlier so that he would be guaranteed a gold medal.  It is at this moment that Derice is forced to decide within himself if he is "enough" without a gold medal. As his coach predicts, he doesn't find out for certain that he is "enough" until he crosses the finish line.

And so it is with each of us.  Right now, I am running for the office of Mayor of my city.  It is a prestigious title, one that is coveted by many people throughout our state right now.  I could just as easily be seeking a position of President of a company, a position of Manager of a store, of even Student Body President at a university.  The question, however,  remains "Am I enough?"  Am I enough without being Mayor, President, or Manager?   I would argue that if anyone, like the misguided student body president candidate, or the bobsled coach feels that they have to sacrifice their integrity, then they will never be enough.  For really, if we sacrifice ourselves to get where we want to be, then all we will be left with is an empty title and an empty title will never make us "enough".

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Silence isn't necessarily golden

I've been wanting to weigh in for a while about the NSA, John Swallow, and politics in general, but I haven't really found exactly the right thing I want to say about all of this--until yesterday.  I was having my oil changed at Grease Monkey's in Clinton, and their only magazines were Sports Illustrated and People, neither of which were appealing at the time.  I always keep a small copy of the Constitution  in my purse
for times like this when I need something to read to pass the time.  Instead of diving in to Article I like I usually do, I decided to read the inspirational quotes at the beginning of the booklet.  I stumbled upon this one by Thomas Jefferson, "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." 
 I think this quote sums up perfectly what we, the people can do about the governmental chaos that surrounds us.  John Swallow himself has stated numerous times that the issues regarding his conduct have been, "hyper-politicized by the media" and he is concerned that he is being tried by the media.  While I absolutely love the 6th amendment to the Constitution and the rights it affords those accused of crimes, I don't think it applies quite yet.  The Utah State Legislature is a body elected by the people to do the work of the people and they alone are tasked with the immensely difficult task of deciding whether or not to begin impeachment proceedings on our State Attorney General.  Potentially starting impeachment proceedings on any elected official is a big deal indeed, and it is not a task to be taken lightly.  In order for the people and legislature to be on the same page, for the people to be able to support their legislators, and for those legislators to accurately represent those people, the people need to be informed about the goings on.  A recent survey showed that 71% of Utahns polled support beginning impeachment proceedings for our Attorney General.  We are calling for a thorough investigation and our legislators are listening.
Jumping over to the recent revelations that our phone records are being monitored by the NSA, it is just as vital that we, the people, demand accountability from our government.  Regarding this search by our government without the probable cause demanded by the 4th Amendment, a friend commented, "What can be done about it?"  What can be done?  We can demand that our rights as outlined in the Constitution be respected and honored.  Our Washington lawmakers' phones and email in-boxes should be flooded with demands that these illegal practices stop.  If we simply complain at the water cooler or post on Facebook, our voices will never be heard and, if  we do not speak they cannot listen. 

Finally, I'd like to bring these thoughts back home.  I had an interesting conversation with a neighbor at Wal-Mart about a month ago.  We were discussing the update to the General Plan.  He said that he would like to see some areas that are zoned for 4-plexes so that he could build a few within the city.  I told him that there wasn't much public support for that, but that the plan isn't complete and would consider his thoughts at the public hearing, if he shares them with us.  He immediately replied that he doesn't have time to attend the public hearing.  I suggested writing a letter, which he also dismissed. Although he was happy to complain in the parking lot, he wasn't willing to do what it takes to have his voice heard.  I did relay his comments on to the general plan committee on his behalf and will repeat them to the Planning Commission at the public hearing, but his own voice would have been so much more effective.  I have attended nearly every Clinton City Council meeting in the last three years.  I have watched numerous times as the minds of the Council and the future of our city have been changed by the voices of two or three citizens.  I, myself, have stood and spoken numerous times and at least sometimes they have listened.

Regardless of the level of government, it is vital that we, the people, keep it in check.  If we simply keep silent when government oversteps its bounds, when leaders are corrupt, or when we simply disagree with the path being taken we risk, as Mr. Jefferson warned,  allowing tyranny to gain a foothold.  It is imperative to be involved, be informed, and be vocal so that this fate never befalls our government at any level.

Friday, June 7, 2013

ABCD: About Biking, Conventions, and Duty

I love to ride my bicycle.  Really, it doesn't get any better than a good, hard bike ride. I wear a helmet, so I don't get the wind through my hair, but I still love it in my face.  I love to push and see how fast I can go, conquering hills, and then flying down the other side.  Biking is one of my very most favorite activities in this world.  Last year I checked of a major "bucket list" item by completing a century bike ride.  Then, a few weeks after the ride, I hurt my wrist and had to stop riding.  I had surgery on my wrist in November and then I finally got the green light to ride again in February.  There isn't a better way to get back in good riding shape than training for and doing another century ride.  I had to enter a lottery to get a spot this year, but despite the high demand, I made it in and was on my way to another century, I was so excitied! 
My plans for cycling greatness came crashing down when, several weeks after winning the lottery and paying my registration fee, I learned that the Davis County Republican Party was holding its organizing convention on June 2, the same day as my ride.  This convention is usually held in April, not June, so I thought I was home-free planning something else for that day.  I was sorely tempted to bag the convention.  It was the DCRP's fault for announcing the convention date late, right?  Then there's the fact that I already paid my registration fee, and lots of people miss the organizing convention anyway.  I really wouldn't be missed at all.  No one would notice.
No one, that is, except for me.  I would notice.  At a caucus meeting last year, I stood before members of my precinct and told them I would represent them as a Delegate to the Davis County Republican Party.  I told them I would research the candidates thoroughly, listen to the input of the people in my precinct, and do my best to select good candidates.  Part of the job I said I would do is representing our little precinct at both conventions: the exciting nominating convention last year and the less-exciting organizing convention this year. 
June 2 dawned bright and sunny.  I awoke early and put on my biking spandex, my bright yellow visibility shirt, and my cycling shoes.  There wasn't a cloud in the bright blue sky as I mounted my bike Boaz (a Hebrew name meaning Swift) and headed out on my ride.  I could not have asked for a more beautiful day for a bike ride.  I rode the 5 miles up to Syracuse High School, chained Boaz to a pole, headed inside, and changed into clothes more suitable for the 6-hour convention.  I suppose it is human nature that I was tempted to bag the convention for the bike ride, although I am disappointed that I was.  Ultimately, though it boiled down to one question: "Am I a woman of my word or not?"  So much in life comes down to those quiet moments and those small decisions about which only we will know.  Would I have been missed at the convention?  Maybe I would have, maybe I wouldn't.  At the end of the day, though, I have to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that being who I want to be is more important than doing what I want to do.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vetting Questions for County Republican Officers

I found myself in a bit of a predicament this last Tuesday night.  I committed to teach a scout troop about the rights and duties of US citizenship to help them fulfill one of the requirements for the first class rank.  Two days after I made this commitment, the Davis County Republican Party announced a meet the candidate night for the very same time that the scout troop was meeting.  Free Tuesday evenings are few and far between for me, so I knew rescheduling with the scouts was impossible, but as a county delegate I needed the opportunity to research the candidates properly as I refuse to vote blindly.  So, I emailed a few questions to each of the candidates for Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary.  Lucky for me, all of the candidates were gracious enough to email back rather quickly with answers to my questions.  With the candidates’ permission, I am making them public since chances are not all of the delegates were able to attend the Meet the Candidate event.  To be fair, I am listing the responses in the order in which they were received.  Enjoy!

For the office of Chair:

While both candidates emailed me back, neither actually answered my questions, but rather sent me links so I could learn more about them.

Swen Howard:  His website is very informative and I highly recommend visiting it.

Phil Wright:  Sent the following email:

Dear Deborah,

When the candidates are good, honest, and likable people, how do you chose the best to represent you?  

"Rhetoric is cheap, evidence  

comes more dearly."

 John Fund

My opponent is a good man, and a friend. It is not that I don't believe he could be our Chair one day, it's just that I believe that I am ready to be our Chair today.

Here are some of the things that I've accomplished as your Vice-Chair over the last 13 months:

·         Helped EVERY Republican Candidate get elected (re-elected) in Davis County

·         Helped grow and protect our County Party Funds which are now among the highest in the State.

·         Created the first Party Budget since 2008

·         Helped organize the County with Re-Redistricting

·         Helped facilitate the largest Caucus Turn Out in Utah's History

·         Built relationships and friendships that will help me as County Party Chair  promote our platform, keep our party organized, support the best candidates, and improve our Caucus and Delegate Education.

I've worked hard to earn your trust, and now I ask for your vote as Chair of the Davis County Republican Party.


Phill Wright

Vice Chair Davis County Republican Party

Candidate for Chair Davis County Republican Party

For the office of Vice Chair:
1)    Why do you want to serve as DCRP vice chair?

Carl Downing:  I chose to run because I know many of the parties involved in the Count my Vote initiative and having had discussions with them I firmly believe their strategy of altering our caucus / convention system will cause irreparable harm to the State of Utah.  There is a reason why Utah is the best managed state in the union and leads the nation in nearly every fiscal soundness category, I believe that is the product of our caucus system and I want to be in a position to actively defend that.  Our next chair will be a busy person and I have extensive political experience from grassroots all the way up to senior campaign management, my experience will greatly benefit the chair and I can perform any duties delegated to me from him.  My vast campaign management experience will greatly benefit both our incumbent candidates with advice and resources as well as help develop the next generation of Republican leaders in Davis County.

Lisa Bingham:  You ask why I'm running, and I have to be honest with you—initially, I didn't want to.  Who in their right mind wants to hold themselves up to be hit by slings and arrows that are constantly cast at people holding public office? The Vice Chair position is little known, holds barely a smidgen of prestige, and really comes down to a lot of work behind the scenes, phone calls, supporting the DCRP Chair and state party officers and working hard to make sure things run smoothly through caucus and conventions. All of this, so that we, as a county, are continuously held in high esteem.

Right now, I find myself in a rare position in my personal life, where I have a window of opportunity to sacrifice this time and effort, to a party and community that I hold very dear to my heart. Keeping in mind that the blood, sweat and tears of EVERY member of this party—no matter how many points we agree upon—are mine to recognize, not dismiss. 

2) How do you primarily see your role as DCRP vice chair?

Carl Downing: The role of Vice Chair is primarily a supportive role to the chair and I am prepared and committed to provide our next chair with competent, capable leadership in their place as delegated.  I have extensive corporate and private organization budget experience to be able to fulfill the responsibilities of the Vice Chair office.

Lisa Bingham:
3) How do you propose we increase unity in the Republican Party?

Carl Downing: We live in a time where social media makes it easy to become detached and alienate some of our base supporters,  I understand social media and am an avid user both personally and politically.  Social media can be a great tool to unify and communicate our message to people but it is a double edge sword and can also cause division and hurt feelings.  I moderate a political page for the Northern Wasatch Front and know that as we establish our footprint in this world that early standards being set allow for a safe environment for discussion and learning.  In my page I had to recently remove the past Vice Chair of the Utah GOP from the group because he was continually personally attacking a member of the Utah County Party Leadership, I have thick skin and even though he is now personally attacking me in other forums I don't justify his anger with a response.  When we engage negativity with negativity in a public setting where anyone can watch, it devalues the brand we represent. As Vice Chair I will continue to set a standard where we avoid Republicans attacking Republicans, it is not healthy or welcome behavior.  I only wear one label, Republican and as such I welcome anyone who wishes to associate with us and cherishes our platform regardless of differences we all have much more in common and should treat each other as allies.

Lisa Bingham: The issues I would like to address are; 1) working hard to ensure every race in Davis County ends with a Republican in office, and once they are elected, that they feel full support from their county party and officers, 2) that we work to inform and energize our younger Republicans, as they will be those casting votes in the coming years and 3)  to be a voice of reason and tolerance within our party, in order to grow the tent, rather than shrink it.

It has surprised me how much suspicion there is within our own party. I hope that by ensuring there is no filter from the top down, but instead, that everyone has an opportunity to learn and vet and make informed decisions, using our county party as an advocate, that this will help to alleviate the feeling of alienation that seems to be felt by some constituents. 

4) Do your personal beliefs differ from the DCRP platform in any way?

Carl Downing:  I believe in the Davis GOP platform and respect the collaboration that has brought that document to where it is today.

Lisa Bingham:  I have signed a disclosure statement regarding my personal feelings on the party platform. I can assure you that I agree wholeheartedly with everything that our party stands for. Otherwise, I could not, in good conscience, serve.

5) What is the best thing that the DCRP is doing right now?

Carl Downing:  The Davis GOP fiscal management is the best thing we are doing right now, I pledge to continue to keep us on the conservative course so we can always be ready for the future.

Lisa Bingham:  Our party does a wonderful job of making contact with their delegates. Also, having served in the past as a county delegate, I appreciated how well our convention was run.

6) What is the foremost thing you would like to change about the DCRP?

Carl Downing:  The next chair gets to decide the direction the party goes but I will be happy to share my ideas from past political successes that could benefit the success of our chair and the DCRP.  Some areas where the DCRP can really shine would be to become much more active in the Teenage Republicans Group and help the youth in each local high school have a thriving chapter and allowing those students access to how we operate as a party.  Today’s sophomores will vote in the next presidential election and we should inspire them.  The different auxiliary groups that affiliate with the Republican Party should be acknowledged and engaged actively as much as possible in a closer relationship with the DCRP.  We can hold forums where experts in the various fields can inspire the next generation of candidates and support the current ones.  By becoming more active amongst the delegates and those who wish to affiliate with us we can continue to grow and strengthen Davis County.  One area I hope our next chair would be interested in would be taking an active look at the non-partisan school board races where we aren't represented by conservative viewpoints, these positions have a large impact on our pocketbooks as the Davis School District continues to overspend its budget and raise our taxes to compensate for their fiscal imprudence.  I would definitely like to arrange panel discussions so we can properly vet these candidates and place good Republicans in charge to change the tax and spend mentality there.

Lisa Bingham:  I don't anticipate making large changes within the party, but rather would like to help make better use of technology, in order that our younger Republicans feel connected to their grass roots and know how they can become involved.

For the office of Secretary:

1) Why do you want to serve as DCRP secretary?
Kathleen Anderson: At the behest of others within the DCRP, I am stepping forward at this time. This is unchartered territory for me, and I feel very much outside my comfort zone. That said, however, I am energized and anxious to become an integral part of the executive committee.

Jeff Thornton:  I have been involved on an increasing level in the Davis County Republican Party since moving to Fruit Heights in 1992.  I have served as precinct Vice Chair, Chair, Legislative Vice Chair and Chair, Credential’s Chair, and I have been elected several times to serve as either a County or a State Delegate. I was elected two years ago by delegates from Farmington, Kaysville and Fruit Heights, to serve as a Leg District Chair for District 17. Nine months later, following the resignation of the previous Secretary, I was elected by a vote of the Central Committee – the body consisting of Precinct Chairs and Vice Chairs, to fill that vacancy. I have served as County Secretary for the last 15 months.  I wanted to serve a full term, so I filed to run about a month ago.  I enjoy the work and I enjoy the people that I work with.  I like being involved and encouraging others to voice their opinions.  I am kind of a techie, so, since there is a lot of working with lists and databases, I enjoy that, too.  Those I support tell me I do a good job and everyone appreciates being appreciated.

2) What do you plan to accomplish as secretary that hasn't been done before?

Kathleen Anderson: Communicate, communicate, communicate! I'd like to better communicate information throughout the county party. I also hope to ensure that all information disseminated is current and accurate. I hope to continuously explore the ever changing social media outlets and incorporate those into our use as well.

Jeff Thornton:  In the last 13 months, I have brought forth multiple, successful amendments to our County Bylaws to better define the role of the Secretary and streamline the operations of the party.  I have organized the records that I work with so that they are useful.  I have worked closely with the State of Utah Republican Party to maintain and improve the Caucus Tracker system that we use to manage the delegate lists.  I have prided myself on doing all that I can to ensure that each of the precincts is fully and fairly represented at the county and state conventions by babysitting the delegate database and keeping the Legislative Chairs informed where they need to address vacancies among the delegates. I have attended all but two of the monthly Executive Committee meetings, all of the Central committee meetings and all of the conventions during my service. I have faithfully recorded and prepared minutes of those meetings and expeditiously sent them out for the review of the attendees prior to subsequent meetings. I have risen at 5:30AM on several Saturday mornings to be available at the conventions to verify delegates.  .I will continue to do all this and look for other ways to help out.  I already do a lot of work, so I am not expecting that I will take on huge new challenges, but if something arises that I can help with, I do as much as I can to help make it happen.

3) How do you primarily see your role as DCRP secretary?

Kathleen Anderson:  I see the role as delineated in the DCRP constitution and bylaws. I will support the Chair. I will timely document and record all necessary party business. I will keep accurate minutes and records. I will have this information easily accessible to the delegates.

Jeff Thornton: There are three parts to this position. One is to serve as an executive Officer and council with the Chair, Vice Chair and Treasure to make sure that we are conducting the business of the party efficiently, effectively and ethically. The second is to serve as a member of the Executive Committee with the Legislative and Senate Chairs and Vice Chairs. The Secretary is to see that the documents of the party are maintained and the minutes are accurate and timely.  The Secretary also acts as the nanny to the Leg Chairs to make sure the delegate lists are complete and accurate.  Lastly, and very importantly, the Secretary, as do other members of the Executive Committee, serves as an at-large delegate to the County and State Conventions.

 4) Do your personal beliefs differ from the DCRP platform in any way?

Kathleen Anderson: No. I support the DCRP platform fully.

 Jeff Thornton:  No.  I have read the platform multiple times and I have no issues with what it says.  I make no inferences that it says anything other than the words in the document and I have no hidden agenda, nor do I feel that there is any such hidden agenda or veiled meanings in the platform. I have signed the statement of agreement required by the DCRP Bylaws without reservation.

 5) What is the best thing that the DCRP is doing right now?

 Kathleen Anderson: Winning elections! The DCRP won 100% of their races! 

Jeff Thornton:  First, we have actively worked to provide education to the delegates and interested others about issues and the candidates running under the Republican or Non-partisan banners for public office in Davis County.  Second, we have successfully enabled the election of all of our candidates in Davis County.  Right now, our focus is on holding a fair and representative convention.

 6) What is the foremost thing you would like to see change about the DCRP?

 Kathleen Anderson:  I love our party and platform. I feel that if we remain focused on battling the true enemy(ies): apathy, complacency and entitlement mentality, through education and communication, we will become an even greater organization. I'd like to be part of a board that is responsible, respectful and listens more to its members.  I feel open and honest dialog is essential to success.
Jeff Thornton:  Above all, we need to change the format of the caucuses so that we continue to have large turn-outs.  If we don't deal with the issues of venue size and voting delays, people will stop coming.  We have already discussed a few things that we can do to address those. 
So there you have it!  I hope this helps everyone make a good, informed decision this Saturday.  See you at the convention!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Narcissism of Politics

As I work to get my message about what I stand for and who I am out to the people who may be interested in voting for me, it was become painfully obvious to me that there is a large amount of narcissism in politics.  I know why I am qualified to be Clinton City’s next mayor, as do my friends and family.  But, by and large, most of the people out there really don’t know what sets me apart from the other candidates, if there will be any, so it is really up to me to tell them.  I’ve worked hard to put together a website, Facebook page, and this blog so that I can let people know how great and wonderful I am, and all of the great and wonderful things I have done that make me so great and wonderful.  Herein lies the narcissism.  Gone are the days of quietly going about doing good things.  Anonymous service is a thing of the past and that saddens me.  Instead of simply happily doing my thing, I necessarily have to tout to the world exactly what that thing is, and why it is so great because if I don’t tell them, they won’t know.

As I go through this process of tooting my own horn and patting myself on the back for how great and wonderful I am, I can’t help but think that it isn’t healthy for anyone to go through this process very often.  Eventually, this forced narcissism has a high chance of developing into true narcissism, it is human nature.  True narcissists not only believe they are the best and brightest, but also crave power and notoriety.  So, instead of someone who genuinely wants to serve his or her community or country, we have someone who believes they have in inherent right to hold positions of power and notoriety.  I think this is my greatest fear as I delve headlong into this political world, that I will lose myself and become the quintessential politician. 

One common question that has arisen since the launch of my campaign is, “Do you plan to ever run for higher office?”  The more I realize the risk of becoming truly narcissistic, the more I think that it is a bad idea for anyone to continually run for and serve in a political office.  There are good people out there who have spent many years in the political realm and still do a good job.  I am happy that they have been able to do this, but for me, I think the best choice is to follow the example of my greatest hero, George Washington.  Washington served his country well as a general, and then went into retirement.  When it became painfully obvious that the Articles of Confederation weren’t working, he came out of retirement to serve his country once again and help write the greatest document ever written, the Constitution of the United States.  Then, after serving two terms as President of this great nation, this great man went back to retirement.
Even when Washington was in charge of the entire army, he still stayed close to those he was serving.  At Valley Forge, his men were starving, so he was starving as well.  His men didn't have enough blankets, so neither did Washington.  He was in and among them working and toiling under the same miserable circumstances that they were in.  He listened to their needs and worked with them to solve the problems.  He didn't just sit (literally) on his high horse and command his troops, he led by serving with them.  What a tremendous example he was!  A true leader doesn't sit back and direct the work, a true leader leads by example.

Right now, I would like to serve my city as Mayor, it is a job that that I know I will do well. I think for continuity, it is best to serve two terms, but beyond that I have no intention to go forward and create a political “career”.  I think, to avoid the chance of becoming truly narcissistic, it is best to do the job of Mayor, and then follow Washington’s example and go back to my farm.  If, after a few years, if I see a need to serve again as Washington saw a need to serve again, I will step up and fill that need, but I don’t see continual public service as being good for either the servant or for the public. 
In the meantime, I will do my best to lead as Washington led.  I believe the mayor should be first in line to pull the weeds at a service project, and should always be available to talk with the people about the issues they are facing and work together for a solution, just as Washington did.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Politics in the Park

Is there any better way to announce a campaign than to gather all of your friends and supporters at a beautiful city park on a beautiful spring evening?  The temperatures soared this week well into the 90s and it was sunshine and warm weather all week long.  I planned ice cream for the whole family so the kids wouldn't get too bored while I talked city politics with their parents.  It would have been perfect, except for one thing:  I forgot that this is spring in Utah and Mother Nature is in charge.  I was blustery all day and the clouds hung heavy in the sky, threatening rain.  Somehow my husband, Dave managed to put streamers up around the pavilion, but I don't think there is enough tape in the world to get the tablecloths to withstand the wind.  And it was absolutely freezing!  Had I not lived in Utah most of my life, I would never believe we could have such a cold day after such a warm week.  Surely no one would come in this weather.  But I was wrong, and come they did!  I never made a final count, but the pavilion was pretty full of friends and supporters, coming to hear me speak about city politics and to show their support.  It was amazing!  We had a few out-of-towners like my mom, my friend Fiona, and County Commissioner John Petroff.  Dave's brother even came down from Idaho!  But, it was mostly people from Clinton who love their city every bit as much as I do who came to show me support as I

 work to make Clinton a better place both now and in the future.  And somehow, I think the nasty weather made the evening that much more meaningful.  We will likely have storms ahead, but we are citizens of Clinton and we will pull together rain, shine, or freezing wind!