Friday, September 24, 2010

Ethics Reform

The Utahns for Ethical Government sent me a questionairre by email.  Here is the email and my responses:

Utahns for Ethical Government

                                                                                                            September 7, 2010
Dear legislative candidates,

            We would appreciate your answers to the following five questions. Please respond within the next 2½ weeks--by Friday, September 24th [now Tuesday, September 28th]--by hitting the reply button on this email and checking your answer in the blank spaces provided. We believe that interested voters have a right to know your position on our legislative ethics initiative, and we will post these responses on our website and release them to the media. Please include your name at the bottom of your response to facilitate an accurate tabulation.

1) Do you support the ethics reform initiative of Utahns for Ethical Government that would establish a strict code of conduct for the Utah Legislature and a genuinely independent ethics commission to advise the Utah Legislature? (The full initiative can be accessed on each subpage of our website under “Full Petition.” )
            Yes _____
            No __X___

2) If you answered yes to question number 1, skip to question 4.  If you answered no, do you support the initiative if you take into account that if the initiative is passed by the voters, the Legislature itself can amend the initiative to clarify any unintended ambiguity that might cause unintended consequences?
            Yes ___
            No __X__

3) If you do not personally support the ethics initiative, are you nonetheless willing to support the constitutional right of Utah voters to vote on our initiative without new roadblocks from the Legislature?
            Yes __X___
            No _____

4) If you are elected, will you oppose changes to Utah’s initiative laws that would make it more difficult for an initiative to get on the ballot (for example, raising the number of signatures required, making electronic signatures invalid)?
            Yes _____
            No __X__

5) If you are elected, would you support lowering the number of Senate Districts or the number of signatures required to place an initiative on the ballot?
            Yes ____
            No __X__

Comments/Clarifications? _The Ethics Reform initiative as it is currently constituted is well intended but over reaching and will have significant unintended consequences.  We need simpler reforms that are rooted in common sense without trying to create a complex construct of behavior management for elected officials.  Some behaviors should simply be criminalized rather than deemed “unethical”.  However, other perceived misbehavior can simply be dealt with by the voters at the ballot box.    

Also, due to the nature of our republic and the responsibility each citizen has to participate in our process, I believe that maintaining the minimum standard for signatures required to get initiatives on the ballot is good policy.   I do believe that physical signatures should be required rather than being electronically submitted due to the ease in which misinformation and popular spirits pervade such a medium.  Keeping ballots, votes, and signatures in the real realm will protect our republic from the mobocracy and vacillating dispositions of the virtual realm. 

I kept my response in the email brief but here are a couple of ideas that I support for ethics reform:

1.  Elected officials should have a 1 year cooling off period before becoming lobbyists
2.  Campaing contributions should never be transferable to a candidate for personal use but should be given to a charity or other worthy cause when that candidate has ended his or her political ventures.
3.  Officials should not accept gifts of any kind from lobbyists (with the exception of a group meal at a large gathering).
4.  Officials should not harass, intimidate, or manipulate state employees whose jobs may affect the interests of a candidate.

These are simple and straightforward reforms.  The initiative proposed has many complicated and confusing constructs that would hurt more than help our state.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Night with the Unitarians

A special thanks to the Unitarian Church of Ogden for hosting the Coalition of Religious Communities' Meet the Candidates Night yesterday.

It was a pleasure discussing some of the important issues on the minds of constituents in the community.  Although we may not see exactly eye-to-eye on every issue, I believe we were in agreement on some of the most pressing issues of our day which include relieving low and fixed-income households through abolishing the food tax and also bringing meaningful common sense change to our immigration system.

Despite the fact I was the only Republican present at the event (and making a scene by being the only guy wearing a tie) it was great to find common ground and listen to the various perspectives of those in our community.

Thanks again for the opportunity!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Abagail Adams and Why I am Running for Office

The Abagail Adams Project is an organization which aims to be a clearinghouse of information on candidate positions on various issues.  I filled out their questionnaire and also gave an explanation for why I chose to run for House District 9.

Here is the questionnaire (click to enlarge):

Keep in mind that some of these questions were somewhat loaded so if you would like clarification on a specific issue please email me or call.

On why I am running:

I am running because I believe that life, liberty and the persuit of happiness are best achieved when the people are able to pursue their own best interests while unimpeded by the "good intentions" of government.  I believe that effectiveness matters and I present myself as the effective, responsive, and enthusiastic alternative in this year's District 9 Race.  If elected, I will work to abolish the state sales tax on food as it is an affront to common sense and the well being of our fixed-income and low-income citizens.  I will also work to address illegal immigration in a fair but rigorous way to promote secure border, enforcement of existing laws, and demand accountability from our immigration system.  In conclusion, I feel I deserve the support of the people because, as a business owner, I know the issues that affect our community and I am prepared to do the hard work necessary to give Ogden its voice back at Capitol Hill.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

9/11 Meeting at the Park

I had the opportunity to attend a Republican get together on the 9/11 anniversary this last Saturday. Among those present was representative Rob Bishop.

He had the opportunity to speak to us and his message was quite uplifting.

He talked about America's history of being underestimated by the world:

1. Colonial era British thought that nothing of lasting value could be built in America due to its high temperatures and humidity.
2. The world thought that America would never recover from the Civil War and that we would be subdivided.
3. Hitler thought that a racially diverse America could never muster the strength to defend itself against a refined European military machine.
3. Intellectual thought of the 70's capitulated to the idea of Soviet economic dominance and a free-world compromise with communism.

He then went on to explain that America has a long history of disappointing its critics and that despite our current challenges, we shall prevail again as a nation.

I think the big question to be answered is: How?

Hard work, fortitude, innovation, and orderly living are likely the answers.  May we all do our part to keep our nation great!