Dear Representative Curtis,
Congratulations on a convincing win. As you attempt to wrap your arms around the situation you find yourself in, perhaps a few words of understanding and encouragement are in order.
It has been a pleasure to know and work with you through your mayoral tenure in Provo. You are indeed a man of principle and a man of the community. In events that we have participated in together through Rotary and elsewhere, nothing was clearer than your genuine concern for the welfare of the people and community of Provo. Now, however, you are making your advent on a much larger stage: a stage fraught with both opportunity and peril.
It is clear to those who know you that you ran for this office on those same principles you employed as Mayor. Your past record speaks for itself. There are those who have criticized you for not being “conservative” enough on specific issues. The fact is there was a time not long ago that most Americans were centrists who leaned a little right or left. Unfortunately, in Washington, those moderate voices have disappeared or been drowned out by the cacophony of the fringes. Pay no attention to such criticisms, but remain the man driven by ideals as you have always been.
And that is the point here. Washington is indeed in disarray. When you received a call from General Kelly in the White House asking why in the world you would run for office, his concerns were genuine. It is one big mess out there. And the nature of that mess will make it difficult for anyone who actually thinks and acts according to principle. As Dan Bongiono pointed out in his book “Life Inside the Bubble”, a principled man in Congress is a rarity. Thus you will be faced with some tough situations right out of the gate.
As you have likely noticed, bi-partisanship is dead in Congress. Fractured factions, driven by fringe interests, are literally at war with one another over almost any issue. The Democrats are at war with the Republicans. Both the Democrats and Republicans are at war with President Trump and his agenda. And the entrenched bureaucracy, the so-called “deep state”, is at war with everyone to maintain its hold on power and purse strings. Thus, the populist movement to “drain the swamp” is real and alive in an ever awakening electorate. Trump has indeed shined a light on much of the dysfunctionality inherent in our current system. The problem is, if you want to drain an alligator’s habitat, the alligators have a penchant to fight back.
The traditional inculcation of new Congressmen has been immediate pressure from congressional leaders to “go along to get along”. Mutual back scratching in support of pork-laden legislation is de rigueur in Washington. The problem is however, we are facing a time where business-as-usual is no longer sustainable. Runaway deficits and an “above the law” operation of entrenched bureaucracies that has been encouraged by past administrations have made the swamp deep and formidable indeed. International interests aimed at destroying the US dollar are making significant headway in global markets. True leaders are needed, not status quo appeasers. Our country’s very survival may indeed be dependent on finding the right leadership in a time where unspeakable crisis knocks at the door.
And leadership is in very short supply these days as Congress strains to accomplish even the most basic reforms. Anything resembling true change is stonewalled immediately from either side of the aisle. And the decision to implement true leadership in your office is one that is fraught with peril. For the minority of representatives who do stand on principle, leaders such as Mike Lee, Paul Gosar, Trey Gowdy and Rand Paul, are crucified in a partisan press and ostracized in the inner circles of power. The point is, to stick to those great principles you have nurtured over a lifetime of experience will mean a difficult uphill battle in the months to come. To penetrate this inherent corruption it will take serious dedication to those principles you have long held. Compromise is no longer an option. The lines are being clearly drawn between those who believe the Constitution and the rights outlined therein are critical to our Republic and those who believe the elite halls of power know better. The lines are being drawn and people are taking sides.
There are those who say you are not truly conservative, that you were a Democrat in the past. My experience with you suggests something different. Life experience, leadership experience, is a great teacher of correct and conservative principle. With that experience, I believe you are just the man to import hard learned, principled leadership into Washington. Jason Chaffetz represented us well, but did not finish the job. I believe you will step it up and move the office forward. In my humble opinion, we need many, many more men of your caliber in Congress. But take note that to stick to principle means facing the wrath of less honorable elements within Congress, within the press, among career bureaucrats and among less informed constituents. It is, at times, a most thankless task. You have one constituent’s best wishes and prayers for success in the months ahead.