Small Town Politics: Should I Run For Office?

The series Small Town Politics examines campaigning and political service in Utah’s smaller municipalities and counties. The filing period for mayoral and city council races is fast approaching. With filing open from June 1st to June 8th, many are beginning to ask themselves: Should I Run for Office? The answer: YES! I believe everyone should participate at some time in their life in civic service.  It is a great experience, and a growing one as well. But the real question is not, should I run?  The real question is: Which…

When to Write a Bill and When Not To: Or is the Utah Legislature Going to the Dogs?

This past week Utah State Senator Aaron Osmond made news with the announcement that he would be carrying a bill in the Utah Legislature to designate the golden retriever as Utah’s ‘official state domestic animal’.  The idea for the bill came from a fourth grade elementary school class in his district. I love experiential learning.  It is essential for Utah students to not just learn about our system of government, but they should also experience it.  But even with that belief, do I support the bill? No. I understand the temptation…

Should the Utah Legislative Session be Longer?

This past week the Legislative Process Committee recommended extending the legislative session.  Currently the session runs 45 continuous days, that count including weekends.  The committee expressed concerns over the often rushed decision-making process, and the lack of time they have to fully vet all bills.  These concerns are valid, but is the answer a longer session? No. The answer lies in other reforms, such as: Requiring all bills to have two committee hearings This seems counter intuitive.  Legislative committees take time.  But by requiring bills to have two hearings it…

Utah Legislature Leadership Races and Rumors

Just when you thought elections were over, there are a whole new round of elections–at the Utah Legislature–taking place today. Tonight, the Utah House and Senate will elect their leadership for the next two years. With Speaker Becky Lockhart’s decision not to not run for reelection, the House will be electing a new speaker and a new slate of leadership as everyone attempts to scramble up the chain. In the House there is not a filing deadline, meaning candidates could still jump into the races.  There is a chance the…

A Guide to Voting: Resources and Rants

Every year about this time, my phone starts ringing.  Neighbors, friends, family members, all calling to ask how I voted.  This year, I thought, to save you all the call, I’ll walk you through my thought process as I fill out my ballot and give you the resources you need to make your own informed decision. Since I live in Davis County, I received my ballot in the mail.  If you do not have your ballot in hand, and would like to follow along visit: here I both love and…

Judging the Judges on Utah’s 2014 Ballot

On Utah’s 2014 ballot, voters will be “judging the judges”: voting whether to retain the judges that staff our state courts. Karen Peterson examines how we are judging the judges that run the third branch of government.  Most of us have heard of Matthew Durrant, Thomas Lee, and Christine Durham, all Utah Supreme Court Justices, but how many of use know Reuben Renstrom?  Renstrom is the Justice Court Judge in Woods Cross.  He appears on my ballot, but as I have not had any reason to go to court in a city…

A Utah State School Superintendent Survival Guide

Congratulations! You made it to the interview portion of the Utah State Superintendent selection process!  Utah’s families care deeply about their kids and their schools.  They highly value education. But that’s about where the good news ends. The Utah State School Board and the Utah State Office are a mess.  There are a few great things happening, but as a whole there is dysfunction, distrust, and general disorder.    If you take this job, at times you’ll feel like Bear Grylls, dropped into a vast wasteland with only a pocket knife…

Weird Gems from Campaign Disclosures

Every so often, when perusing the candidates’ campaign disclosure forms, you stumble upon weird gems.  Something different than flyers, mailers, and food.  Here are a few of the gems found in this year’s forms: I am all for friendly and civil elections.  But I find it strange that Senator Jim Dabakis provided his opponent, Jacquie Nielsen, with campaign advice.  According to her disclosure, Dabakis provided her with an in-kind donation of a campaign consultation.  The question becomes, was it really worth $100? I can just imagine it: “Don’t run,” he…

State School Board Election Process Unconstitutional…Now What?

On Friday, Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that the process by which State School Board Candidates are placed on the ballot was unconstitutional.  This ruling came after candidate Breck England’s complaint that he had been removed from the ballot by the Governor’s Nominating and Recruiting Committee unconstitutionally.  Pat Rusk, a candidate from a different district who was also removed from the ballot, joined the suit. With Waddoups apparently agreeing with them, the big question now is what happens next.  The parties will meet with the judge on Thursday to discuss a remedy, but…

A Legislator Turned Superintendent; Been There

You would think with all the surprise and kerfuffle over Speaker Becky Lockhart applying for the job as Superintendent of the Public Education, that having a former legislator in education’s top post puts us in uncharted waters. But it doesn’t.  We’ve been there, done that. Back in 1986 a popular House member, James Moss, was running unopposed for his 3rd term.  He was a lawyer by trade, but when the position became available for the State Superintendent post, he applied and was appointed.  Here is a quote from the Deseret…