Updated 1:38 PM 4/3/2011 - See voting results at bottom.
"State Central Party Veto" We will elect this morning, from a field of 68 candidates, 20 members of the Utah Republican State Central Committee. Why is this important? Because somehow, probably less than half of the Central Committee members were on hand to vote 50-25 in favor of an inane amendment to the State Party Constitution. Hopefully today Utah County can elect 20 Committee members who oppose such draconian centralization of power and who will attend Central Committee meetings.
The text of the proposed change to Amendment X ("State Central Party Veto") of the Utah State Republican Party Constitution is this:
The Constitution may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the members at a State Central Committee meeting if subsequently ratified by a majority vote of the Delegates present at the State Convention. The Constitution may also be amended by 2/3 vote of Delegates present at the State Convention, if subsequently ratified by a majority vote of the State Central Committee.As a Republican State Delegate, I will be voting on this at the June convention. But this amendment is so ludicrous that I can't imagine how it ever even came up. The Republican juggernaut, with such a new power, would be even more of a juggernaut farther from the grass roots.
How a candidate feels about the State Central Party Veto is my litmus test for who I will support.
House Bill 116. Utah Accountability and Enforcement Amendments
I support House Bill 116, because it is a step in the right direction--that of helping those to become Americans
Of over 1400 Republican County delegates in Utah County, about 860 delegates are in attendance, with is about 56%. That seems lower than at other meetings.
Five people were allowed to vote this morning before the convention began, because they were not able to stay. The rules normally do not allow such, so that action had to be approved by a majority of the delegates in attendance--which it was--so those votes will be allowed to be counted.
10:17 AM: Let the parade of candidates begin! Three candidates withdrew from the State Central Committee race, so now we are watching the 65 candidates march across the stage as their names are announced, so that we can put their faces with their names.
10:27 AM: Each candidate for county party chair now gets 5 minutes to state his case. Kirby Glad got the boilerplate "I love the Constitution, blah blah blah" taken care of off the top. Then he said that we do too much bickering in our county party meetings. Then he asked us to vote not only for him, but the 3 other candidates on his "9 for 5" slate. It's great that there is that option, but I won't be voting for it, because I don't want 4 people who think just like each other. I think Kirby has done a great job when participating in the county party business, and he would be a good chair...
...but I think David Acheson would be better. David was nominated by former county party worker Marian Monaghan. David pointed out that our meetings are inefficient and they take too long, because they haven't been managed as well as they could have been. He values a good debate. "We've got to listen better," he said, because, besides being the respectful thing to do, it helps us understand our own positions better. We should be able to "duke it out" and still respect the final decision. "Robust, articulate debate should always be welcomed," Acheson said, and not feared. Based on his presentation and the response, I expect him to win handily.
Dave Duncan championed the use of social media and a forum on the county party website as ways to "restore communication within the party." He expressed his faith in the delegates as opposed to letting "the power hungry S[tate] C[entral] C[ommittee] establishment" make our decisions for us. Dave will make his personal opinions known on the issues, but he conduct official business with respect for all opinions if elected. Dave's presentation was not as well put together as the others, but he seemed to get even more applause than even David Acheson.
10:45 AM - County Vice Chair candidates were given 5 minutes each to speak. This will be a tough choice for me between Lisa Shepherd and Adrielle Herring. Lisa Shepherd was nominated by Kepi Hemuli, chair of my legislative district #67, and by Morgan Philpot. She expressed being inspired by seeing so many committed, energized Republican delegates. She pledged to be a leader that inspires civility and dignity despite our disagreements. As we do so, we can become the envy of other county Republican parties nationwide.
Interestingly, someone who worked on the Morgan Philpot campaign nominated Adrielle Herring for vice chair. Adrielle has served as the party education officer, and I thought she did a great job helping us to understand how county party business should be conducted. She put together, in her opinion, the most comprehensive Get Out the Vote campaign in county party history. She will dedicate the same energy to being the county party vice chair. "The more people who are involved in the political process, the healthier it is," said Herring.
Lisa got a lot of applause, but Adrielle got even more.
10:55 AM Nominations for county party secretary. Jeremy Roberts' wife and Daniel Thatcher nominated Jeremy for secretary. With Jeremy's help, Thatcher was able to unseat a 30-year Democrat incumbent. Roberts stated, tongue in cheek, that his sole purpose for running for secretary is that "Jim Matheson is my congressman and I can't take it anymore." He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Republican candidates.
Jared Jardine introduced himself. He is VP of Crusader Health Technologies with a Master's in Computer Science from BYU. He has several years of experience as delegate in the Utah Republican Party. He explained how important it is for the secretary to ensure that voting district maps are correct so that voters are not disenfranchised. The county party website is lacking in keeping updated, as Jared noticed that it still states that Bob Bennett is one of Utah's Senators. He supports an open agenda, so that everyone can have a chance to be influential. He stated that the party should not remain silent on controversial issues, citing school vouchers as an example. We should not attack each other as republicans, he said. Rather, we should be unified in being an example of good governing principles.
Kristen Chevrier introduced herself. She prides herself in her ability to educate,such as in her monthly courses on Roberts Rules of Order and Parliamentary Procedure. She has educated people in her precinct on how to get involved in the party, and has hosted several Meet the Candidate nights. She is a member of the Constitution and Bylaws committee. Until Lisa Shepherd became secretary, there was very little history of Utah County Party business. She will continue this tradition.
11:08 AM - To distinguish himself from another treasurer candidate, Scott Bell introduced himself as "Short Hot Scott". She is CFO for a company in Utah County. He is on the Alpine School District Board. He will submit quarterly reports of county party finances and make financial information transparent and easy for delegates to understand. He encouraged us all to better understand the state and county party platforms and inspire the next generation to stand up for what they value politically.
Steve Reid introduced himself and thanked the delegates for sacrificing their time to be here. He challenged us to vote for the best candidate for each office, and not for a slate of candidates just because they have a catchy slogan. He has a business degree from BYU, and has been involved in businesses that have $15 million budgets.
Don Larsen said that he endorsed the Republican party platform as almost perfect, and that a delegate should resign if they do not support it. He paid tribute to a friend who had been killed in a driving accident by an illegal immigrant. He cited Ann Coulter's claim that Democrats are destroying America as a reason to support illegal immigration. He quoted the Apostle Paul who said that we would have perilous times in the last days. He cited LDS Apostle Boyd K Packer who challenged us to awaken to our awful situation at the secret combination that was attempting to overthrow America.
Tall Cool Lisa Jensen said that she is not running as a slate, because she doesn't think that slates are approrpriate. Each candidate should stand on their own two feet. She cited years of financial experience in business. She is currently a treasurer for a non-profit organization. She pledged to work effectively with whichever other county party officers are elected. She will not just do her job as treasurer, but help wherever asked and where it makes sense. "We need to be more assertive in our defense of the Constitution." She is in favor of House Bill 116 as a healthy improvement that brings immigrants into citizenship status more easily. She encouraged our national delegation to fix the immigration problem on a national level.
11:25 AM - Becky Strain presented the final credentialing report. 906 delegates were credentialed all told, which was 63% of those who could have been here. This includes a handful of late delegates were credentialed as approved by the delegates in attendance.
11:28 AM - Voting begins now for county party officers and State Central Committee members.
12:09 PM - Platform Amendment Entitlement Reform was overwhelmingly supported without any further discussion. Much discussion was had at our last central committee meeting on this subject.
The Platform Amendment citing the United States as a "Compound Constitutional Republic" passed almost as overwhelmingly as the previous amendment.
Mark Steele proposed that we adopt a resolution for "respectful and dignified treatment of all people" regardless of how they may be different than us. I support it. Steele's comments cited abusive treatment that a transgendered woman received in Utah as well as several incidents of disrespectful treatment of minorities as reasoning for supporting this resolution. I wish I had been the one to come up with this resolution. Laura Bunker of Lehi precinct 11 opposed the resolution. Although she believes we should be respectful of all people, she decries the assigning of sexual orientation as a protected class. Others rose in support of the resolution, but unfortunately, they didn't receive nearly as much applause. The nays have it overwhelmingly. Bummer.
12:22 PM - Discussion on House Bill 116. Several members of the Utah Legislature who reside in Utah County spent several minutes explaining why we should oppose House Bill 116. For one, they think it penalizes those who try to come here legally. Secondly, as it was that a similar number of people came from various countries to America, now Mexicans dominate the numbers of those who migrate to the United States. Where is the inalienable right of others who come from countries other than Mexico? asked Representative Chris Herrod. He cited crime statistics claiming that illegal immigrants commit crimes in disproportion to their numbers.
This is definitely an issue that is disagreed on in Republican circles. Several Utah Republican legislators also stood to support HB 116. Speaking for them, Holly Richardson pointed out that there is no question that the immigration laws are broken. But we can't just sit and wait for the federal government to do something. Utah cannot address the issues that make it difficult for people from far away to come to the United States, but it can work to solve problems that affect Utah. We are forced to medicate and incarcerate those who are illegal, without requiring them to have "skin in the game" such as requiring them to make co-payments at the emergency room.
HB 116 is intended to get the federal government to do its job. If it fails in this job, we have not only a right but a responsibility to begin to solve the problem. HB 116 is only the beginning. It requires fines, background checks, penalties, etc. It will catch much more identity theft and fraud. It requires health insurance or proof of ability to pay for basic health care. Ironically, said those in favor of HB 116, the status quo is what perpetuates amnesty. Governor Herbert made it clear that HB 116 does not take away power from the Federal Government or to ask them to give us such power. It tells them that they have failed, and that we have to do what is best for our state. It is a 10th Amendment issue, said the governor, including decisions as to the conditions for employment in Utah. Utah will not participate in the ICE charade of ignoring illegal immigration any longer. This will bring immigrants into the community of tax paying Utahns.
Based on the number of boo birds (loud but few) and the applause for those in support of HB 116, I think the resolution will pass.
12:44 pm The convention debate will be limited to a presentation of a resolution by Kerri Witte encouraging repeal of HB 116 and discussion by three people in favor and three people opposed to the resolution. The thing that bothers me most about this discussion is that those in favor think that the rest of us don't appreciate the United States constitution. Interesting. It's a matter of perspective. I think Utah HB 116 IS constitutional. The most poignant point that I have trouble dealing with is that HB 116 will make it easier for people to become US citizens, and for years there have been tens of thousands who have gone through a broken system that has taken much time and been very costly. But I see that as no reason to continue to penalize current and future immigrants.
Voting Results. The vote for the Resolution asking the State Legislature for a repeal of House Bill 116 was very close, but ultimately, it passed 443-365. Bummer. Just when I thought things were starting to improve in the immigration arena.
For County Party Chair, David Acheson received 325 votes, and Dave Duncan got 284. They have advanced to the second round of voting over Kirby Glad, who came up just 6 votes short of Duncan's total, at 278. That surprised me.
Adrielle Herring is the new Vice Chair, having received 470 votes to Lisa Shepherd's 413.
Kristen Chevrier (299 votes) and Jeremy Roberts (296) have advanced to the second round of voting over Jared Jardine (287 votes).
For treasurer, Scott Bell 451 votes and 51.18%) was the outright winner over Lisa Jensen (246), Steven Reid (168 votes) and Don Larsen (18 votes)