Utah’s Focus on Economic Growth also Benefits Education

In the doldrums of summer and while the rest of the political world is fixated on Obamacare subsidies and same-sex marriage, I thought I would bring the conversation back to Utah for something really important: Can Trey Lyles help the Utah Jazz win the NBA Championship in 2016? Just kidding. Instead, let’s talk about Utah’s unique approach to government — specifically, economic development — that starts at the top. For as long as I’ve lived in Utah, gubernatorial candidates have made their major campaign theme “Education”.  Over and over I have…

Stan Lockhart: Mark Openshaw always full of excitement about education

Today my friend and State School Board member Mark Openshaw perished in a plane crash. Literally last night, Mark and I were talking about flying and education in Utah. He had just gotten done baling hay and my call was a chance for him to relax after a physically exhausting day. He was so full of excitement about the future of public education in Utah. Now he is gone. His wife is gone. Two children are gone. I’m in shock and heartbroken. Facing my wife Becky’s death is the hardest…

The pitfalls of term limits

I just read that a “citizen” group is embarking upon an initiative effort to enact term limits in Utah. Long, long ago, in a land, well, not so far away here in Utah, I thought the same thing. Term limits to diminish a politician’s power. It sounds so appealing. That was before I saw government up close. After many years becoming a student of how government works, particularly at the state level, I have a whole new perspective. In reality, term limits merely turns elected officials into passing observers of…

The Price of Being an Elected Official

Have you seen the political news lately? Attorney General Sean Reyes has been accepting funding for his next campaign. Marco Rubio got four speeding tickets over the last 18 years. Hillary Clinton isn’t talking to reporters. Representative Ken Ivory is advocating for his American Lands Council and local control of public lands to other states. Welcome to the summer of 2015. None of the above stories are particularly newsworthy, but lets not let important issues get in the way of a good story. In slow news months some reporters seem…

Florez goes too far in accusing legislators of taking ‘the drop’

In Saturday’s Deseret News, John Florez writes an article bashing the Utah Legislature. For his weekly column, it’s nothing new. He often bashes the Legislature. Everyone got the message long ago that he doesn’t agree with them and doesn’t like them. So if today’s article was only about what John doesn’t like about legislators, it wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy. This time however, he accuses lawmakers of violating the law and committing felonies. Using a pithy quote, he glibly impugns legislators in a way he would never do to others. Elected…

An elected official pitches a “painless” new tax. A constituent responds.

In the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) world, we often say that the purpose of STEM is to create a new generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers. These skills are critical to arrive at well thought out, analytical decisions. Over the years I’ve noticed that in the political arena, we often see a problem, jump to a conclusion and then spend the rest of the time trying to justify our decision by finding as much support for our initial conclusion as possible. Emotional decision making has a place,…

Stan Lockhart: Utah politics: Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

In one of my favorite rock classics is “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who. It ends with the lyrics, “meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” I can’t help but think that refrain is the crux of the SB 54 conundrum of the Republican Party. We are replacing the Republican State Central Committee, delegates and voters as the boss with more retail campaigning, money and voters. In the end, the voters are still boss. The Party insiders are incensed. They don’t like having to share their power. They…

A Drive By About Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

If someone offered to buy you a car and asked you to pay 10% of the cost, what is the first thing you would do? began Speaker Greg Hughes Wednesday morning at a Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce event on Medicaid Expansion. The answer is: Figure out the total price of the car. If the car is a Bentley, you might have second thoughts since your 10% is still a lot of money. If the car is a Chevy, then the 10% is easier to say ‘yes’ to. That analogy summed…

Getting more people involved in the political process

The purpose of a political party is to get its candidates elected and to educate the public about what it represents (platform). Since my last blog post criticized the Utah Republican Party’s apparent disregard for greater participation in the political process, I thought I’d set down some ideas to get greater participation in Utah’s political process: Make caucuses more attractive to attend for ordinary Utah voters. One hour caucus – If we can do it with photography and dry cleaners, then surely we can do it for caucuses. Big races straw poll – Wouldn’t it…

A Terrible Negotiating Strategy: the Utah Republican Party goes all or nothing on SB 54

I love the Caucus/Convention system. I began at the grassroots level 25 years ago. I have served in virtually every grassroots position in the Republican Party. I’ve been Chair of the Utah Republican Party and Chair of the Utah County Republican Party. I continue to serve today as a Legislative District Chair. I’ll put my grassroots credentials up against anyone’s. I want our Caucus/Convention system to survive. Just three years ago, Count My Vote (CMV) was formed by Utah political power brokers demanding changes to Utah’s Caucus/Convention system. Direct primaries…