Why I'm a Uniter
The other day, I called my state legislator as a constituent. I was particularly concerned about the special session on tax reform and wanted to hear what his thoughts were. Before he was elected, I knew him to be a devoted family man and political moderate with whom I shared many values and viewpoints, and so I felt comfortable calling him.
The conversation that followed was eye-opening. He was in favor of taxes on services - except for real estate and legal services. He supported a flat, across-the-board sales tax that would include taxes on food and other necessities. And he said that we didn’t really need the earmark on income tax to ensure sufficient funding for public education.
These weren’t the views of the man I knew a year and a half ago. When I pointed out that taxes on food hit the poor disproportionately hard, he justified such taxes by saying that the wealthy create more jobs and the poor aren’t bettering themselves so they can fill those jobs. Astounded, I asked him what he thought the barriers were that prevented the poor from bettering themselves. He answered that he wasn’t calling the working poor lazy, but he just couldn’t understand why people would work dead-end jobs when there are abundant good positions - both tech sector and blue collar - that are going unfilled. He seemed to think that it was the fault of all these working, unqualified poor that so many good jobs had to be outsourced beyond Utah’s borders. In spite of this inexplicable picture he was painting, he expressed optimism for the future of our state’s economy. When I asked him to point me to the sources that gave him such hope, he responded with emotional and philosophical rationales rather than factual sources.
Realizing that his worldview was disconnected from the experiences of the majority of Utahns, I decided that arguing with him would not be productive. Yes, I am his constituent and the one to whom he owes a civic duty to represent. But in the end, he’s only human. He knows that he will be challenged in the next primary election by someone who claims to have better ideological credentials than him, and so he has increasingly moved away from the center. He has spent weeks at the state capital during the legislative session, living in the echo chamber that is his partisan caucus. He has been courted by well-connected, moneyed lobbyists who are paid (and paid well) to persuade him to protect various industries. I am just one voice in one half-hour phone call representing one vote - a vote that he can confidently ignore.
Unfortunately, my experience as a constituent is not unique. Many moderates have seen the same transformation in their elected officials. Good people with high ideals enter the political arena, but the structural, ethical, and cultural forces of the major parties pull them away from their principles and from serving the people of their districts.
As I thanked him for his time and we courteously ended the call, I was more grateful than ever for the United Utah Party.
I am a Uniter because I am a capitalist - but I am more than just a capitalist. I have religious, cultural, and personal identities that also inspire me to believe in the transcendent value of every human life, in the need to lift even the poorest among us, and in the truth that there is more to life and governance than mere lucre.
I am a Uniter because I believe that the voice of the constituent ought to ring louder in the ear of our representatives than any other influence - and that we need to reform our system to ensure that is the case.
I am a Uniter because I want policy informed by facts, data, and science rather than by emotion and foundationless philosophy.
I am a Uniter because I reject the extremist viewpoint that a friend or family member is an enemy simply because he or she is “liberal” or “conservative.”
I am a Uniter because I want my children to have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a quality education that will prepare them for a productive and prosperous future.
I am a Uniter because, for the first time in my adult life, I have found a political platform that is ethically and intellectually comfortable.
Simply put, I am a Uniter because I embrace Utah values.
As we look forward to the 2020 election, I invite you to embrace those values as well. Live them. Vote them. Help lift them to victory so that they can lead the way. Together, let’s make Utah better.
Go to unitedutah.org to volunteer and donate. And share this message with others who you know are dissatisfied with politics as usual and want an alternative!
–Hillary Stirling, Vice-Chair
Recap of the United Utah Fundraiser with Evan McMullin
The United Utah Party's first annual Uniter Golden Spike Award Luncheon, was held today, November 6, 2019, at the Alta Club in downtown Salt Lake City. The Alta Club's award winning chefs provided a delicious buffet including a cheese, cracker, nut and fruit tray, various salads, salmon in a lemon butter sauce, spiced roast, vegetable sides, and an array of desserts. But as delectable as the meal was, the real treat was the company of civically minded fellows, both long invested in the party and new to it, and the program.
Richard Davis, Chair of the United Utah Party, conducted the luncheon program. He thanked those who had put the event together and the several sponsors of the event and of individual tables, then introduced and awarded the Golden Spike award to this year's recipient, Evan McMullin.
Richard explained that the United Utah Party’s Golden Spike Award honors Utahns who have worked hard to build bridges on the state and/or federal level. Recipients are notable for their exceptional work in three different categories: uniter, unifier, and promoter. As uniters, Golden Spike Award honorees are well-known for getting people involved in the political process and bringing people together. As unifiers, they demonstrate leadership in identifying and addressing the concerns with our government and how it functions. As promoters, they have modeled and inspired in others patriotism, civic duty, and good character.
Evan McMullin, former 2016 independent presidential candidate, is an Utah native, former CIA officer, investment banker and House Foreign Affairs Senior policy analyst. Evan and his 2016 vice presidential running mate, Mindy Finn, co-founded the Stand Up Republic Foundation.
The UUP honored Mr. McMullin for his work "to grow a community of Americans to defend democratic ideals, norms and institutions," as the Stand Up Republic website states.
McMullin addressed the group on the dangers of political polarization. "It is unfathomable that this great experiment would succeed without compromise," McMullin said. "Compromise is a dangerous word these days. If you bring up compromise you are called a republican in name only or a democrat in name only. The Founding Fathers knew that to get the constitution passed they would have to compromise, or there would be no country." McMullin elaborated that to compromise on policies, does not necessarily to give up one's standards or beliefs. After exploring the problem of political division, Mr. McMullin gave two ways to combat political polarization.
1. Increase political competition. It is important to give people more options and to allow them to find a political home to affiliate with, organize for causes through, etc.
2. Change political incentives by advancing important reforms such as,
a) independent redistricting to avoid gerrymandering.
b) ranked choice voting which causes voters to look for common ground among candidates.
c) term limits to prevent leaders from growing entrenched in their positions and forget who they serve.
Mr. McMullin finished his thoughts with a message of optimism. Despite fears that there are challenging months and possibly years ahead, McMullin told the group that he is optimistic because people are still fundamentally good, our principles are good, and people like those in the United Utah Party are out there working for good.
Following his remarks, the luncheon was dismissed. Money raised by the fundraiser this year will further our effort to change the political landscape of Utah.
Thank you so much to all who came and those who worked hard to make this event a success!
Term Limits: A Relay Race
We as a party have been running full speed towards our goal of getting term limits on the ballot in 2020, but the finish line is still far beyond us. This is the stage in the race where real persistence and grit is required. Getting signatures isn't a sprint to an easy finish line. We have about 116,000 signatures to get and about 100 days to get them. That is going to require a huge effort from the whole party. We are in it for the long haul.
However, it doesn't have to be a huge effort for each of us individually. This marathon race to get signatures for term limits is more like a relay race: we each must do our part to make this happen! There are two easy steps that absolutely everyone reading this letter can and should do.
First, we need everyone reading this newsletter to sign the petition. If you're not sure how, sign up here or attend the next county convention and we can get you in contact with someone about signing! (Unfortunately, signing online only indicates that you would like to sign the petition and does not count as a signature on the petition. If we could get signatures online, this race would be over in a flash!)
Second, after you've signed, hand on the baton and let the relay race continue. We need everyone who reads this newsletter to share, share, share! That's it!
According to a UtahPolicy poll, 75% of Utahns support term limits for legislators. If everyone who reads and signs the petition chooses to then share the petition, encouraging other Utahns to sign and share the petition, the odds of us getting to the finish line with all 116,000 signatures by February drastically increases!
So tell your neighbors and friends, talk to your colleagues at work, let your sewing groups and bowling groups and book clubs know! Post it on your social media accounts, email old friends, and help your parents get in touch with a signature gatherer. Just get the word out to your fellow Utahns! If you share it, they will sign.
In particular, please share the Initiative's facebook page (Unite 4 Term Limits) and share the following link so that your friends and neighbors who are interested in signing can get in touch with a signature collector and add their names to the cause:
Of course, there are other BIG ways you can help us get to that finish line with all the necessary signatures in February.
We still need people to help collect signatures. Sign up here to volunteer to get those signatures. We'll get you hooked up with a leader in your area who can get signature packets to you. We have been amazed at how many great volunteers have come out of the woodwork and shown their willingness to take around packets.
But the truth is, we're going to need a whole lot more. Soon, we'll be launching more materials that will allow you to start gathering signatures today, if you are willing. All you'll need is a printer, a phone or email address, a stapler, and a way of getting to the county clerks office.
Another huge way that you can help is by making a donation. Click here to support us financially today. Every dollar counts! And every dollar will be used to help get more signatures on the petition.
Every signature, share, volunteer, and donation gets us that much closer to those 116,000 signatures. Every signature gathered gets us one step closer to our finish line of getting term limits on the table in 2020.
Thanks so much for your support on this great initiative!
Recap of the Salt Lake County Convention
Last Saturday, November 2, 2019, a fair number of civically minded Salt Lake County citizens converged at the Midvale Middle School for the United Utah Salt Lake County Organizing Convention.
The group was welcomed by the interim County Party Chair, Joshua Gregg, who told the group that their willingness to go to an event they weren't required to attend, on a Saturday morning no less, would be the reason the UUP would succeed in Utah.
Following the pledge of allegiance and an invocation, the group was addressed by former UUP candidates Steve Walston, Brian Fabbi, and Robb Cundick. The theme among each of their remarks was their relative normalcy—as average citizens, none of them had run or served in government prior—and the importance of running for positions, whether the election was won or not.
Following their remarks, two current United Utah candidates, Jonia Broderick (running for Congress) and Amy Martz (running for West Jordan City Council), addressed the convention. Each emphasized that she was just a regular person whose strongly held convictions led her to run.
Nils Bergeson then addressed the convention about the party's Unite 4 Term Limits Initiative and encouraged attendees to volunteer to take a signature packet to get signatures. He explained that each packet must be returned to the state within 100 days, at which point the state records and verifies valid voter signatures.
Following his address, the United Utah Party Chair, Richard Davis, addressed the convention and gave a presentation, then opened the county leadership elections.
Brian Fabbi, Jonathan Harmon, and Lisa Gregg were then elected as County Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary, respectively. After their elections, the convention broke up into districts to vote on district leadership and the convention was closed.
Press Release: UUP on Impeachment Inquiry
UNITED UTAH PARTY CALLS ON UTAH U.S. HOUSE DELEGATION TO VOTE FOR IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
The United Utah Party has issued the following statement:
The U.S. House of Representatives is preparing to vote later this week on a resolution that would outline the process for going forward with an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Trump. An impeachment inquiry is a grave step and it should be a rare situation for the nation. Unfortunately, the controversy over this inquiry has divided across party lines. Only a handful of Republicans, including Senator Mitt Romney, have noted that the president’s behavior is deeply troubling and require further investigation.
We agree with Senator Romney, and we hope that the rest of the Utah Congressional Delegation will as well.
The upcoming House vote is not a vote to impeach the president, but rather a recognition that the allegations against President Trump merit a formal investigation. The allegations include attempting to involve a foreign government in U.S. elections, using foreign aid (which is paid for by taxpayers) to persuade a foreign government to investigate a political opponent, and conspiracy to obstruct justice by interfering in a criminal investigation. If these allegations are true, they represent a dangerous misuse of presidential power. We believe our elections should be protected from foreign influence. It is illegal to purposely encourage foreign governments to violate the integrity of our electoral process. We believe no criminal investigation should be interfered with because even the president is not above the law.
Since these are serious allegations and have profound consequences for the presidency and the nation, Congress should investigate them. All members of Congress should want to get to the bottom of these allegations to determine whether they are accurate. A vote to stop this inquiry at the outset would demonstrate a loyalty to party over principle.
This is why the United Utah Party calls upon all members of the Utah Congressional Delegation—Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart, John Curtis, and Ben McAdams—to vote to allow this process to continue. Anything less would be a betrayal of the constitutional ideals our elected officials have sworn to protect and defend.
Endorse the Party?
Want to help the cause, but don't know how to start? Dip your toes into supporting the UUP by sending your name and hometown to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you do, you'll be helping us flesh out the party for those considering their options! We will include your name and hometown on a list of endorsements in a fundraising letter and on our website. We want to let people know who some of our members are.
Thanks so much for your help!
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The United Utah Party is dedicated to providing and supporting moderate alternatives to the political extremes.