Press Release: Announcing the United Utah Party

United Utah Press Release

SALT LAKE CITY, UT: Citing the critical need for unity, civility, and reasoned discussion in the public arena, a group of civic minded and politically experienced Utah citizens announced the formation of the United Utah Party on Monday, May 22, 2017 in the Centennial Room at the Utah State Capitol.

“The existing parties created the existing problems by becoming co-opted by extreme views on both sides,” said Richard Davis, who serves as the chair of the United Utah Party. “It is time for a political party that will represent the people of Utah and not merely the views of a few.” Dr. Davis is a political science professor at Brigham Young University. He previously served as a county chair of the Utah Democratic Party.

“The political landscape has shifted dramatically since this last election,” said Jim Bennett, Executive Director of the United Utah Party and son of former Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett. “Both Republicans and Democrats in Utah are increasingly unhappy with their choices, and they are looking for a reasonable alternative. The United Utah Party is that alternative.” Mr. Bennett has managed a number of Utah political campaigns and served five times as a delegate to the Utah State Republican Convention.

Davis noted strong interest in this new effort, particularly among those who no longer feel at home in the two major parties. “People are eager to bridge the divide,” he said. “United Utah will give them candidates they can vote for instead of having to choose between two undesirable options.” The United Utah Party is collecting the 2,000 signatures necessary to be recognized by the state as a registered political party in Utah. They intend to submit those signatures to the Lieutenant Governor’s office by May 26, 2017, which is the day the governor has designated as the deadline for candidates to declare their intent to participate in the special election to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is stepping down at the end of next month.

“The United Utah Party plans to have a candidate on the ballot for the special election, and we will announce that candidate in accordance with the deadlines outlined in the governor’s special election calendar,” Bennett said.

The United Utah Party is online and accepting support at unitedutah.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unitedutahparty and on Twitter as @unitedutahparty.


Press Conference Announcement: May 22 @10:00am

News Conference Announcement – United Utah Party

When: Monday, May 22, 10 am
Where: Centennial Room, State Capitol Building
What: Announcement of new centrist, reform-oriented political party in Utah

A citizens’ group will announce the formation of a new political party in Utah on Monday, May 22, 2017 in the Centennial Room at the State Capitol. The party will be directed at moderate Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who are dissatisfied with the current two-party system.

According to Richard Davis, chair of the group, speakers at the announcement will include current Republicans and Democrats who endorse the formation of the new party. A press packet will be provided for those reporters in attendance to explain the purpose of the new party as well as issue emphases.

For more information, contact Jim Bennett, United Utah Executive Director, at jim@unitedutah.org.


Please Hold

Jim BennettEveryone wants to hold Washington accountable, but they don’t realize that the vast majority of elected officials are going to deliberately ignore them. This isn’t a conspiracy or collusion; unfortunately, it’s just the way Washington works.

23 years ago, I was a newly-married guy living in the District of Columbia who had just started work as in intern in the office of Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming.

One of the more glamorous jobs of a Senate intern is answering the phones in the front office. I was given very specific instructions as to how to handle phone calls. Before they launched into whatever tirade they had prepared, I was to ask them their name and where they were calling from. I had a form next to the phone where I wrote down the details of their complaint or question, and if a response was necessary, I’d ask them for their contact information so the office could mail them a reply.

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The Politics of Will Rogers

I’m halfway through the run of Pioneer Theatre Company’s production of “The Will Rogers Follies.” I play Wiley Post, the aviator who was piloting the plane that went down  in Alaska in 1935, claiming the lives of both Rogers and Post as a result. I spend the entire show sitting in the audience, yelling “Let’s go flying, Will” every once in awhile. It’s kind of a running joke until the end of the show, when it finally dawns on everyone as to what happens when Will finally takes me up on my offer.

 

Pioneer Theatre Company's "The Will Rogers Follies"

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A call for political diversity, not conformity, within the LDS Church

Richard DavisNote: This article originally appeared in the Deseret News on May 12, 2017.

Editor's note: This article from scholar Richard Davis is a response to the recent reactions to Taylor G. Petrey's piece "The failures of Mormon conservativism." These opinion articles are part of an ongoing Deseret News opinion series exploring ideas and issues at the intersection of faith and thought.

Which is it? Have the predominant conservative forces in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led church membership on a path to political failure, as Taylor Petrey suggests? Or is the church inherently conservative and therefore the calls for more progressivism essentially contrary to the basic nature of LDS doctrine?

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The end of politics as we know it?

Richard DavisThe French election this past Sunday is being hailed as a victory for the establishment. The winner, Emmanuel Macron, was endorsed by the other candidates and parties, except for his opponent, Marine LePen. Admittedly, LePen’s victory would have been a huge upset, but Macron’s was significant because he was not a candidate of either of the two major parties that have governed France since 1958. His win is the latest sign that politics as we know it is changing significantly.

A major shift going on in global politics is the shaking up of traditional political parties and their influence in their respective nations. One example is the election of Donald Trump. Trump was anathema to the Republican establishment. And Trump, in turn, threatened to run as an independent if the Republican Party mistreated him during the nomination process, a serious threat for Republicans. Since Trump captured the Republican Party, almost unwillingly, his election was less a Republican victory than a populist one.

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And they are both right: Bob Bennett's farewell speech

I’m writing this on May 4, 2017, one year to the day after my father, Senator Bob Bennett, passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Dad had left office a little more than six years earlier, and he gave a farewell speech on the floor of the Senate that summed up his perspective on political parties. Its insights dovetail quite nicely with the goals and platform of the United Utah Party.

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The New Tea Party Activists ... the Democrats

Richard DavisNote: This article was originally published in the Deseret News on April 26, 2017.

Early in 2009, the tea party was formed by Republicans who were upset at the election of Barack Obama and the new Democratic majority in Congress. Tea party advocates held anti-Obama rallies and marches. They also crowded town hall meetings to question and shout at Democratic members of Congress. Also, they attacked establishment Republicans as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) when they were not radical enough for the tea party. They began a campaign to unseat more moderate (but still conservative) Republicans who did not agree with the tea party.

The reaction from Democrats was disdain over such tactics. The tea party was extreme, outrageous and uncivil. Indeed, Democrats were ecstatic over the divisions in the Republican Party, including contested primaries and the unseating of more traditional Republican politicians.

Fast-forward to 2017. The scenario is repeating itself. The only difference is which side is doing what. The tea party advocates are in power now, including in the White House. Republicans control the Congress, including many who were tea party darlings.

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Where are the Utahns I know?

by Jan GarbetApril 1, Gregg Schultz wrote an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune on Democrats voting in GOP primaries. It echoed the theme in the KSL April 2 special on “Civility: Changing the Conversation” in which our own former governor Jon M. Huntsman promoted a No Label movement to encourage Congressmen to get past the grid lock of partisan politics. But it’s not just politicians that are stuck. It might also be us.

Schultz’ proposal to frustrated citizens to reclaim a voice targets the earlier stage in the party process where a handful of delegates determine who we get to vote for.

Ouch. I feel stuck.

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Why I'm No Longer a Republican

My name is Jim Bennett.

I'm the son of the late Senator Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), and for most of my adult life, I was a devoted member of the Grand Old Party. But in 2010, I discovered I wasn't really a Republican; I was a RINO.

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