A delegate’s thoughts: US Senate Race

by Lisa Anderson

Lisa Anderson is a Utah County Republican Party delegate, selected by her neighbors to look at the candidates for public office and to select which should be nominees at the party convention. She’s taken the time to not only meet the candidates but to share her impressions. Over the coming weeks, Utah Politico Hub will cross post her comments on her meetings and thoughts.


MIKE KENNEDY

April 17, 2018, 7:30 PM Town Hall Conference Call: I participated in the phone call and listened with real interest. Several people who I regard highly have mentioned that they know Dr. Mike Kennedy personally and he is a principled man, a great man, a father and respected boss.

  1. What is one of our most important issues? He said that the future is most important to him. He feels we need to do things now to protect the future of our children. He likes when school children visited the Utah Capitol for tours and he was able to tell them about it and that the building belongs to all citizens of Utah.
  2. Do you believe in preserving the 2nd Amendment? Yes – he said his voting record in the Utah Legislature proves that. He has an “A” rating from the NRA and believes in the constitutional carry permit law.
  3. What are your top priorities? #1, #2 and #3 are Deficit Reduction. He believes it will take small steps to move in the right direction but we have to move. He said it will involve Medicare and Social Security (did not give specifics).
  4. How did you feel about the Omnibus bill? He acknowledged that the increase in defense budget was needed but we must look at cutting programs because we are definitely spending too much.
    • He would rather vote for 1000 small bills than a bill that has 1000 issues in it. He said that it isn’t right to pass those large bills through without proper review and they should be split up. He said that there needs to be transparency when drafting bills and when he did it in the Utah Legislature, he brought the opposition in with the proponents of the issue. They came together to create a good, solid bill. It may have been different than the original but it always was a better bill. He said that Single-Issue Bills makes the results of the voting clear – the actual position of the legislator.
    • When asked if creating a bill like the Omnibus bill should be a criminal act, he said that we should not throw people in jail for things like that. He feels that those who are a danger to society should be jailed.
  5. What did you think about the Bundy situation? What would you do to prevent it from happening again? He does not believe in the militarization of government agencies (such as the BLM) and that he would use the Legislature to investigate situations to learn why they happened and make sure funding does not go through for those situations.
  6. What about Trump and the Syrian attack? He believes that we should have peace through our strength and if we need to go to war to protect our allies it should be surgical and limited.
  7. What have you learned in the Utah Legislature that will help you in D.C.? He loves working with other legislators and learning about their constituent’s issues and concerns. He said he has learned more about their views which have helped him solidify his own.
  8. You will be a junior Senator. How can you be effective in D.C.? He said that everyone was new at one time and he is willing to serve and start.
    • He would build relationships with others and help the Federal government to move out of the way and make room for State’s Rights. He would also disagree with others of differing views respectfully.
    • He said that due to his current Legislative experience, he knows the issues that Utahns deal with each and every day. He is in touch with Utahns and the past 6 years he has been a Legislator gives him the experience he needs to make a difference in D.C.
  9. Will you change if you go to D.C.? How will you still be vested in Utah? He said that he does not want to change and wants to be able to look in the mirror to know he is living with integrity. He also said his wife will make sure he doesn’t turn into a “Swamp Creature”.
  10. Is Healthcare a Constitutional right? No. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but not healthcare. He feels that it is each community’s responsibility to give back to those who are less fortunate – he volunteers at a free health clinic in Provo. He wants to see more of that.
  11. He was asked if he voted for the UTA bill this past session. He said he voted against it.
  12. Can we curtail the rising cost of pharmaceuticals? He said it has gotten very bad and wants to make sure that it is reasonable costs to get new drugs through the development phase so that they don’t become too expensive.
  13. When asked about tax increases he said that if Property Taxes are going to increase, he feels that is a more burdensome tax since property ownership is a right. He said we need to cut taxes on the Federal level because if the government has our money, they have the power. If we get to keep our money through fewer taxes, then we have the power.
  14. Someone asked about Artificial Intelligence regulations. He admitted he did not know much about that industry but knows that human-made innovations may seem good at first but they can get out of hand. He said he is for making regulations, but making them as minimal as possible.
  15. How will you be a voice to be reckoned with in D.C.? How would you do since you don’t know many people there? How would you do better than Romney?  He said that he respects Mitt Romney but they are different. He said since he doesn’t know anyone in D.C., he doesn’t owe anyone in D.C. He said that he has Legislative experience whereas Mitt Romney has Executive Experience.

ABE LINCOLN BRIAN JENKINS

Monday, April 16, 2018 – Facebook Live 8 PM: I received an email from Brian Jenkins inviting me to view his website (https://abelincolnforutah.com/) and there were several times listed for Facebook Live events. I sent a text as requested and added him as a Friend on FB and was a part of his Live event (https://www.facebook.com/votebrianjenkins/videos/vb.1439652937/10212121857988588/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab).

  • Brian supports President Trump and his policies. He stated that he originally voted for Ted Cruz but supported Trump once he became the nominee.
  • Brian shared that he doesn’t always make the popular choice but he makes the moral choice.
  • He shared that he does not feel that electronic voting at the State Convention can be verified and that he, along with several candidates, have signed a document that states that paper ballots should be used for voting on Saturday, April 21. He stated that Dr. Mike Kennedy and Tim Jiminez have not signed the document.
  • Brian shared that he believes SB54 is wrong but did sign the paper stating he might collect signatures when he filed for office.
  1. What can we do to lower the entitlements since they are 2/3 of the Federal Budget?  He responded that many things can be done and should. He did not specifically mention any plans nor ideas to do such.
  2. What are your ideas for controlling immigration? He stated that the system is upside-down when someone can illegally come into our country within 3 days yet it can take up to 30 years to pass through the system legally and become a citizen. He said we should make it easier for good people, those who are successful in their countries, to enter the U.S. They should be vetted appropriately. If we don’t do this then we will attract the opposite to our country. He agrees with a wall being built and guarded by our military.
  3. If elected, what kind of committees would you like to serve on that would be of most benefit to Utah? He said he would have to know more about the committees and would team up with someone like Rand Paul who is in the know.
  4. Should the Department of Education be under State control? Yes – it would be a huge benefit and blessing and marijuana sales should also be governed by each state.
  5. How will you hold yourself accountable to your constituents in Utah if elected? Brian said he would serve for one 6-year term and find other people who are true statesmen to follow him and lead.

STONEY FONUA

I will not be visiting with Stoney Fonua. When searching for some “Meet the Candidates” events for the candidates I found this:

STONEY FONUA 2016 U.S. SENATE

“Stoney has been a candidate for public office several times but never got past the primary as a Democrat, Constitution, or Republican. Now, I am on the ballot as a U.S. Senate candidate of the Independent American Party.”

In 2018 he is back on the Republican ballot. He wants to run for office but does not truly believe in the Republican platform as he has switched parties 4 times. He may be a very good man, but I can not vote for an individual who spends more time switching parties than working within the Republican Party to make a difference and help the party succeed.

TORREY JENKINS

I will not be personally vetting Torrey Jenkins. He has no internet presence, he has not sent any emails, I have not found any meet-and-greet information about him and per reports, he is a convicted felon (https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/04/03/rolly-candidates-with-shall-we-say-interesting-pasts-want-to-be-utahs-senator-of-the-future/).

I must continue to spend my time vetting candidates who will represent Utah with Utah’s values (which may be asking too much for a politician.)

SAMUEL B. PARKER & JEREMY LEWIS FRIEDBAUM

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, My home in Lindon: One of our delegates wanted to hold a meet-and-greet with Sam Parker. I offered my home. We invited several Lindon Precincts to come but it ended up being just the 4 State Delegates from Lindon 04. Sam arrived and then Jeremy Friedbaum also showed up.

Sam spent quite a bit of time describing how the constitution needs to be repaired. He mentioned that the 17th amendment is broken and States have lost their checks and balances power and the Federal government has taken away the rights and responsibilities the States should hold. Sam gave a lot of history of the original intent of the Founding Fathers. He stated that they wanted 1 representative for every 30,000 citizens. As of 1910, the number of 435 Representatives has stayed the same and they now represent 700,000 citizens each. He feels this is not a representative government as the Founding Fathers wanted.

Sam mentioned several things starting in 1994 and Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America and the Republican Revolution. He said that under the first President Bush, entitlements increased which brought about the Tea Party uprising. He said that no matter what has happened that we are not stopping the increase of the Federal government and that the American people do not have a voice.

He brought the discussion to the 10th Amendment and 17th amendment and said that there needs to be more transparency and accountability. Sam feels that the number of Representatives in Utah needs to increase from 4 to 16, which will bring about increased excitement and increase the voice of the people.

When asked how this “Hail Mary” is to work he replied, “The conversation needs to start somewhere”. He wants to lobby to quadruple the House and Triple the Senate to give more representation and a voice. Sam said that Term Limits would help with this.

When asked who would back this plan back in Washington, D.C. and help this process to come forward he mentioned Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee.

Sam also stated a Federal Reserve audit needs to take place and Congress needs to push for it.

At this point, Jeremy Friedbaum stepped in and said that he was mentoring Sam in this race. Jeremy is a Constitutionalist and is for increasing the size of Congress. He said he helped Mike Lee in his campaign.

Jeremy feels it is Congress’ job to police other branches of government because it is the “People’s Branch”. He is strict on immigration. He stated that the Electoral College is fundamentally against the intent of the U.S. Constitution.

Jeremy would use his standing as a candidate to challenge SB 54 and knows that David Bateman would finance that. He would not spend his time fundraising – would only run for one term and that would give him the time to make actual changes in Washington D.C. Jeremy stated he is committed to the Republican platform

When asked why he is running for the Senate and not House 3 seat he said that people from across the country asked him to run against Senator Hatch and then to run for that seat. He also said he loved when the Tea Party came in and removed Senator Bennett from his seat. Jeremy said that it was like the Sons of Liberty.

Jeremy has a radical idea that since we are supposed to be “Indivisible Under God” and now, since we are divided by two major parties, he would vote for and work with the minority/no party Senators. He also said instead of having a permanent Speaker of the House, each Senator should have a 2-week term to preside over the Senate to see how much they can get done during their shift.

Jeremy was a supporter of Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate but since he “stabbed Trump in the back, he is as politically dangerous as he is handsome.”

Both candidates were asked the following questions:

  1. Since 2/3 of the budget is set aside for entitlements, how can we lower that?
    • Jeremy: We must have a balanced budget amendment and we can raise the age of retirement
    • Sam: Social Security is not an entitlement and this is a problem that was created by our government. It is a messy situation and will be painful but we must distribute the pain. We should:
      • Increase the age for retirement
      • Do Means Testing (those who financially don’t need it should not take it)
      • Get rid of it. The government is stealing our money now and we need to stop it.
  2. Who did your values most align with during the 2016 Presidential Race?
    • Jeremy:  Carly Fiorina should have been the candidate with Ted Cruz as her Vice-Presidential running-mate. Once Trump earned the nomination, he was wholeheartedly supporting him.
    • Sam: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul. Rick Perry was one of his choices until he fumbled and he also liked Ben Carson but he had no juice or ideas.

LARRY MEYERS

April 6, 2018, Larry hosted a meet-and-greet at the Draper Library this afternoon from 4-5 PM. About 10 delegates were in attendance.

He shared his family, professional and political background as a Republican. He founded the Dixie Republican Forum and has served the St. George area for the past several years.  He was elected to the local Board of Directors for the Special Services District in his area. This has given him the experience to work with people in the community, balance budgets and shows that local control in government works. He presented his views for about 15-20 minutes and then took questions from the delegates.

Larry’s main stances are on immigration, taxes and that he is pro-life.

  • Immigration – The St. George area had a significant problem with crime tied to illegal immigration so he formed a citizen’s council to help discuss how to best serve the citizens.
  • Taxes – He is against high taxes and wrote the opposing opinions in the printed information packets that went out to the voters.
  • Pro-Life – Larry is part of (can’t remember if he founded it) the Southern Utah Coalition for Life. He said that he is elected he wants to stop abortions of all kinds and would keep the issue alive in D.C. to get Roe v. Wade overturned. He is against any funding for Planned Parenthood. He wants to get solid justices on the Supreme Court and turn the issue back to the states.

Questions Asked:

  1. What do you want to change in D.C. if you are elected? He said that he wants to eliminate the Department of Education, privatize student loans, move the welfare program to State control and eliminate the current healthcare system to foster competition.
  2. Why do you love Utah? He said that he loves that we take of each other in our state and that we have a lot of charitable activity. He said that we prove that we can have less government and more individual responsibility if we help each other.
  3. Why are you running for the US Senate and not Utah Senate? He said that he ran against Chris Stewart 4 years ago and received 20% of the vote at the convention. He feels that Rep. Stewart may have had some of his views changed based on issues that Larry brought up during the race.
  4. How did you feel about the omnibus bill? What 3 things were wrong with it and what is one thing you would have changed? He said he was against how the process to create it came about – it was too fast and there was no time for one to research and read it. He stated it was full of a lot of pork and democratic priorities. He then said he feels that the budget changes should include:
    • Cutting the Department of Education
    • Military & Foreign Affairs Cutbacks
      • Stop funding the UN
      • Stop funding Foreign Aid
      • Stop funding oversea wars – we should have a strong National Defense but we should not be funding other country’s civil wars
    • Cut back on Entitlement Spending (Social Security/Medicare)
      1. Keep it to protect those with lower incomes who will depend on it but eliminate it for those who are of higher income
      2. There is not one right answer
      3. We should not provide for all citizens in this way because we should have individual responsibility – it should be a safety net for those who need it
      4. A delegate asked how this would affect the younger generation – how do we have them pay for it but know they won’t qualify for it later if it runs out?
        1. Larry said we are on an impossible trajectory and there isn’t a right answer but it needs to stop now
        2. Do you support term limits? Larry stated he would be in D.C. for 1 to 2 terms and then return to Utah. He wants to change how we do business.
    • Knowing you will have to work with others with different views, what would you be willing to compromise to get your views/bills heard and what would you never compromise? Larry said he would never compromise on funding Planned Parenthood. He would vote against anything that has that part of the deal. He also believes strongly in the 2nd Amendment and is completely against all Federal gun control As far as a compromise he said to pass a budget, to balance it, he might be willing to compromise a bit (but never on Planned Parenthood funding and 2nd Amendment).
    • Are you for Pell Grants? No, he thinks that college educations should not be funded by the Federal Government. He again emphasized less government and more personal responsibility. He wants to cut funding and regulations (reporting, equal opportunity stipulations, Title IX, accreditation regulations) for post-secondary education. He cited Hillsdale College in Michigan which prohibits students from receiving federal funding – scholarships only.
    • Asked how he would work with Senator Mike Lee – He said he campaigned for Senator Lee to vote out Senator Bennett. He feels that Senator Lee is trying to restore the proper constitutional role for Congress since the Executive branch has been taking away their authority. He liked what Senator Lee was trying to do by working with Senator Bernie Sanders to get our troops out of the war in Yemen.
    • What committees would you like to serve on if elected? Judiciary (which he is pretty sure he would not get), Foreign Affairs and Education.
    • What about this “Drain the Swamp” campaign slogan? He said that Senator Mitch McConnell would NOT like it if he was elected. Senator McConnell was elected in 1984 and is part of what is being called “The Swamp”. This refers to career politicians who have served for a very long time. Larry said that these Senators are part of the problem in D.C. He said he is running on the “Limited Government Philosophy”.
      1. He said that he does not like the 60 vote rule to pass legislation
      2. He wants the 50+1 rule
      3. He said it is vital to pass the Republican Agenda now because it is very difficult to get rid of bad policy, like Obamacare.
      4. He said that if Romney is elected, he would become part of the problem
      5. He said many politicians are in D.C. for the wrong reason and just want power and control
      6. Several government agencies have too much power and control – Congress currently has the power to investigate and expose but not enough power to remove people.
    • Do we have a “RINO Problem” in D.C.? Utah? (I honestly didn’t get what was being referred to with this term.) After going to WIKI, It is an acronym for “Republican in Name Only”.  He said that he is not a RINO but actually has a stronger stance than the platform (such as being against all abortions). He did not address the question with any examples of politicians that are actually RINO.
    • He stated that he feels President Trump wants to clean up D.C. He said the President is helping us have more freedoms, his record on tax cuts and he wants to work with him, not against him. He expressed that government agencies should not be used as political tools against our own citizens (ex. Bundy family) but should serve us.
    • How are you going to not become one of those “Senators” and still represent Utah? He said it is hard to maintain integrity in D.C. but his stances have never changed. What he believed in 1995 as a law student is still what he believes today and his values do not and will not change.
      1. He shared when he formed the Dixie Republican Forum he wanted to stay true to Republican principles, but the Washington County Republican Party felt threatened by their organization.
      2. Today former governor candidate Jonathan Johnson endorsed his campaign.
    • If you are 1 of 100 voices in D.C., how are you going to make your voice heard? He said he would form/be part of caucuses. He said that Newt Gingrich is an example of being a “back-bencher” but after many years working with other Senators, he was in the right position to become Speaker of the House.
    • Which 2016 Presidential Candidates did your views closely align with? He said he supported Rand Paul early on. After he was out of the race he supported Ted Cruz. He actually ran his campaign in the southern Utah area. He did support candidate Trump after Ted Cruz was eliminated.
      1. President Trump Policies he supports:
        1. America First
        2. Doing away with Trade Agreements (ex. Paris Accord)
        3. Deregulation of Energy
        4. Tax Cuts
        5. Judge appointments
        6. VA Reform
        7. Illegal Immigration
      2. President Trump Policies he does not support:
        1. DACA – does not support amnesty
        2. Syria bombing

MITT ROMNEY

On Friday, March 23, 2018, Mitt Romney held a town hall meeting for State Delegates. It was held at Skyridge High School in a classroom for 60 people but there were probably close to 80 in the room.

He was well-spoken and spoke for about 25 minutes, taking questions for about 20 minutes. Here’s what I got out of it:

  • He will be able to do more as a junior senator that others due to the fact that he has built up relationships with at least 40 sitting senators. He has campaigned with them, for them and even against them, but he knows them and there is mutual respect and admiration.
  • He does agree with most of President Trump’s first-year policies.
    • Tax Cut which we are now seeing in our paychecks
    • Regulations
    • Outreach of Federal Government and giving back to Bear’s Ears
  • He believes firmly in the Constitution
  • He feels that MANY decisions should be given back to the States
    • Education
    • Health Care
    • Transportation
    • School Safety
  • He does not feel we need any new Federal gun laws
    • He does feel we need better background checks
  • He feels that some Federal Judges try to expand the realm of the Constitution to create new law and that they should follow the Constitution
  • As he has visited many of the rural areas of Utah, he feels that we need to increase the economic vitality of those areas, as they are exporting children who don’t return after education and those areas are dying.
  • He feels that Opioid abuse is a very big problem
  • His view on the $1.3 Trillion spending package
    • He said that the President signed it, but stated he would not sign something like that again
    • If elected, Romney would create a caucus to block another spending package unless it met with the spending cap

** Side Note: Romney explained that 2/3 of our budget is set aside for entitlements such as Medicaid and Social Security and interest we owe. As such, that part of the budget cannot be changed. HALF of the remaining budget is spent on our defense. One solution proposed is to let our 20-something and 30-something workers know that the retirement age may be raised so that they will have something to help them in their later years.

Questions Asked:

  1. Do you believe in the caucus system? If so, why are you going the signature route as well?  He said that he hopes to win the caucus and brushed off the signature route part of the question. He said since he is in the thick of the race, he felt he shouldn’t answer.
  2. People are concerned that you haven’t lived long enough in Utah and that you can’t represent Utah values. How do you address that? He said he has lived a total of 10 years in Utah. He went to college here, came back to Utah when he was in charge of the Olympics and he now lives here in a home he built in Holladay. He said his Utah roots are deep and that his ancestors helped settle Utah, his mother was born here and his father moved here when he was 5. He said that Utah values and concerns are in his blood.
  3. Where are your donations coming from? Are they coming from out-of-state?  He said he has not done any fundraising events and that the money is coming in via online donations. He said the reports have not been filed yet so he honestly doesn’t know where it is coming from. He said that he would not be surprised if donations were coming in from people who supported him in the presidential race and that they wanted to see him in Washington D.C.
  4. In 2012 you said Russia was our greatest political foe and you have backed off of that statement. Why? He assured the crowd that he had NOT backed off of that statement and still feels and knows that Putin is a bad guy who has had people murdered and that they want to destroy democracy. He said that we must talk to political leaders we don’t like, such as Putin and Kim Jong-un in order to keep peace in the world and it does not mean we support their ideologies.
  5. What are your views on Globalism vs. Protectionism? Protectionism is bad for growth. Romney said that those that cheat on Free Trade Agreements must be punished. He stated that Canada, Mexico, and EU Nations, our allies, would not be subject to tariffs and that China needed to be punished for what they did to put our steel industry almost out of business by deflating their prices until we suffered and then raising their prices.
  6. Do you believe in term limits? He agreed that term limits are a good thing and that with his age, he didn’t feel it would be an issue (he got laughs there). He said that part of the problem is that after people are done as an elected official, they stay in D.C. as lobbyists which causes issues.
  7. Do you believe in a Perimeter of the United States? He believes in a border wall as a good start. He then moved the discussion to immigration. Romney stated that most immigrants start as a student or tourist and they decide they want to stay. He said that there should be a pathway to legal immigration – a merit-based system, based on skills, education, experience and money they have saved. This moved into DACA and he said he “bows to Trump’s decision”. He thinks they should be given an amnesty but they then should get in line for the merit system – it shouldn’t be an automatic path to citizenship. Romney then mentioned that he thinks that STATES should have a VISA system that they can issue based on worker needs. An example is that California would have a need for thousands for limited-use Visas for farm workers, but those Visas would not be valid for travel within the United States and not recognized in Utah, for example. He also said there needs to be a verification system for workers that if an applicant’s social security number came up bad, that’s it.
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