10 Tips for easily following the Utah Legislature

The Utah legislature ranks among the best in the nation for state legislative transparency and ease of following the goings-on on Capitol Hill. Here are 10 easy ways you can follow along with the legislative session, which also gives you info for some awesome small talk at dinner parties. Go to the award-winning legislative site: le.utah.gov You can search for bills by topic, number or legislator. Track bills electronically.  Each time there is a change to the wording and each time it is scheduled to be discussed in committee or on the floor, you…

How to not be the intolerable politico at Thanksgiving

Politics is one of those topics that everyone says to avoid at Thanksgiving, yet it also seems to be the one that’s always coming up. Multiple groups seem to think that the one time a year many families see each other is also a great time to start bringing up controversial topics and lecturing a captive audience on why your way is superior and anyone who disagrees is a racist, sexist idiot. While some of you can’t help but be That Guy (you know who you are), I’d like to…

Book Review | American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History by Charles Murray

American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History weighs in at a little under fifty, four-by-six pages (not including notes and citations). It’s pretty light weight, especially as it goes for books on politics or history. And yet, Charles Murray does not disappoint. He packs in a lot of interesting ideas in a short amount of time. Murray opens by looking at misconceptions about what American exceptionalism means. Rather than using the definition of “exceptional” that means “wonderful,” Murray notes that at the founding of the country, and indeed for most of…

Tips on influencing local government

“No individual is so insignificant as to be without influence. The changes in our varying moods are all recorded in the delicate barometers of the lives of others. We should ever let our influence filter through human love and sympathy. We should not be merely an influence,―we should be an inspiration. By our verypresence we should be a tower of strength to the hungering human souls around us.”—William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness, 1900 As a member of the city council in my small town I have an opportunity…

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…

Elections for 2016 Just Changed and You Probably Missed It

Last week, perennial rivals Facebook and Twitter announced huge changes that are going to make elected officials and candidates much more accessible. Elections for 2016 may have just changed and here’s what you need to know. Twitter’s Periscope App First: the micro-blogging service Twitter finally showed the world what they were planning to do with their Periscope acquisition from earlier this year. Now anyone can be a broadcaster, with live and breaking news, all in glorious HD. It is a free download, and within 30 seconds you can be up and running.…

Who’s Who on Capitol Hill…on Twitter

Some legislators on Capitol Hill know how to turn a good phrase into a 140 characters of beauty. Others should never be allowed anywhere near social media. And still others are like the illusive Ivory Billed Woodpecker: We know they’re out there, but they only rarely tweet in public. If you’re game to follow, and interact, with the members of the Utah Legislature up on Capitol Hill (or their staff or the reporters that cover them), here’s a nearly comprehensive list of the Who’s Who on Capitol Hill and their Twitter handle. If you…

Top Tips for East Coast Staffers Campaigning in Utah for the First Time

We get it. You bought the line that political consultants in Utah don’t know what they’re doing, so you hired an out-of-stater to parachute in and carry you over the finish line. In the spirit of good, old fashioned friendliness, we’ve compiled a list of helpful hints so your guys and gals won’t misstep on their first foray into Utah politics – I mean, their first time into Utah, period. Here is your handy, dandy guide. You’re welcome.