Opinionated @ CFE

Endorsement: LaVar Christensen for House District 48


Two years ago, I was very happy to support LaVar Christensen in his efforts to be my representative in the state legislature. Not only did his government philosophy and principles align nicely with my own, but he was also very responsive as a candidate, taking the time not just to personally respond to my questions and concerns, but to come to my house and answer them in person. His opponent, Trisha Beck, had the time for a 2-minute phone call during which she sounded very rushed and somewhat annoyed. Even had I found as much agreement with her positions, responsiveness in a legislator is crucial. There are many trans-partisan issues from my district (most notably the preservation of the township designation) that demand it.

I was perfectly willing to give Rep. Beck a shot and she how she did the job. Unfortunately, every e-mail I sent during both the 2009 and 2010 sessions went entirely unanswered. Compare that with the personal responses I received from Sen. Niederhauser, my state senator. Those responses were not too brief and often arrived within a couple of days, even during the height of legislative wrangling. He’s also held community meetings to brief us all on what’s going on in the legislature and respond to voters directly. Regardless of how you feel about his positions or votes (I’m not happy with his vote for HB 150), that kind of personal touch is commendable.

This year, LaVar wants a rematch against Trisha. While I did a lot of careful weighing and evaluating last time (I’m kind of obsessive that way), I already know which horse I’m picking. While I can appreciate that the life of a legislator can be very busy and stressful, there is no excuse for being a communications black hole. (I’ll get to you soon enough, Jim.) LaVar Christensen is the better choice in this district hands down.

8 Responses to Endorsement: LaVar Christensen for House District 48

  1. I respect your experiences with each of the people named, but Rep. Beck does a stellar job of communicating with constituents. She hosts town hall meetings during the session, has visited more doorsteps than any politician in the Sandy area during the past decade, solicitous of advice and experiences of citizens, and typically is very responsive by telephone and e-mail for a legislator — indeed her voting has been responsive to the concerns of the people in the district – I have seen her change positions through the years to better reflect their concerns. Conversely, my experience during a period outside of party politics with then Rep. LaVar Christensen was a series of endless meetings with his allies and GOP colleagues wondering how the could keep his support and keep him quiet. His endless talking and instance on being the expert at everything was tremendously off-putting. Beyond his political ideology, he seems to have a personal philosophy that he who spews forth the most words wins. LaVar was known for having to speak to nearly every bill that came on the House floor and adding precious little light to the discussion. Further, he has a history of abusing government resources for his own personal gain. His character education booklet that was printed at government expense and distributed at political events is one example. American may need Utah, but Utah doesn’t need LaVar back in the legislature. The GOP can do much better.

  2. LaVar is great. His views are grounded in sound principles and his knowledge of law, history, and policy are unparalleled.

  3. Todd: She does so well communicating that almost a week later, she still hasn’t addressed the concern directly despite the head of her party having done so (and no doubt calling it to her attention). That’s kind of weak sauce.

  4. Jesse, how can I ever take you seriously again?

  5. I think I made my case quite clearly. Certainly I’m open to Rep. Beck changing my mind, but that will take a substantive amount of improvement in her communications skills to make that happen. Unresponsiveness rubs me the wrong way much more than feeling “meh” about a candidate’s positions or history.

  6. Good discussion. Thank you, Jesse. When I was a state delegate for my precinct in Sandy I talked with LaVar on the phone and he invited me to his house twice to meet him as a candidate and to help with the campaign. To the best of my knowledge he walked my district one time prior to the election. After his election to the House I received one or two booklets with essays he had written, but I don’t recall any further personal contacts in person, by phone, or by email. I found him congenial and likable but rather one-dimensional and pushy regarding his religion and ideologies (I’m not LDS). On the other hand, I know that Trisha Beck has walked my district several times. She knows several of my neighbors by name. I’ve run into her at Costco and other stores and she’s always had time to talk and answer questions. One time she spent at least 45 minutes answering questions at a fabric store that my wife, a teacher, had about education bills in the Legislature. She’s called me twice on the phone in the last six months, again one time spending at least 30 minutes we me. During this last session of the Legislature she compiled a weekly word document explaining issues and bills that were before the legislature and distributed that by email to anyone who was interested. She’s provided her email, and although she’s not always fast in responding, she does respond and is always concerned and considerate. While Trisha is also LDS, I haven’t found her nearly so overt in trying to push her religion and values. LaVar was constantly harping on his values. Trisha has friends on the Republican side of the aisle, and to her credit, she was one of the most successful of the Democrats in the House this last session in getting legislation passed with the support of her Republican colleagues. Like you, Jesse, I always split my vote and even sometimes vote for third party candidates. I’ve had no problem in voting for Trisha Beck, the Democrat. I will say that I think she could be a more sophisticated with her email newsletters and she needs to get up to speed with blogging and social media (maybe that’s what you mean in her deficient communication skills). As an aside, prior to the caucuses another District 48 candidate, Mike Carey, came to my precinct to meet with voters at a cottage meeting. I really was impressed with him. He is a Harvard Law School graduate and I found him more personable, more competent, and a much harder worker when it comes to campaigning than LaVar. I was really disappointed when he dropped out of the race prior to the convention. It would have been a tough choice between Mike and Trisha, but with Mike Carey out of the picture there’s no question in my mind that I’ll be supporting Trisha all the way. She listens, she’s become a friend, and I have full confidence that she’ll give any concerns I have as a citizen a full airing.

  7. LaVar Christensen is the best qualified person to represent house district 48. Why? To start with I am a conservative Republican and LaVar represents the true conservative values that I believe in. Trisha Beck is a DEMOCRAT that shuns away from using the word…instead she constantly talks to voters about how conservative she is and how she represents all people. Well elected republicans also represent “All People” but they legislate with a true conservative perspective. During a local debate last night between the two candidates, it was clear that LaVar possesses the necessary leadership skills as well as the intelligence and work ethic to effectively represent house 48.

    If you are still unsure…I invite you to reach out to both candidates…spend 5 minutes talking with each..after you will see which candidate is the true conservative.

  8. I was at the debate last night as well, John, at the invitation of LaVar. It should be noted that this Meet the Candidates night was organized by LaVar and he sent out a mailing inviting his supporters to attend. Trisha did not similarly invite her supporters. Other than a few family members and friends, the crowd was overwhelmingly partisan. The format of the debate was to have each candidate make an opening statement of ten minutes and then the moderators then allowed those in attendance to ask questions. There were a few objective questions such as a question asking each candidate to list five bills sponsored as a legislator and to explain the significance of each (LaVar, incidentally fielded that one much better), but most were clearly sympathetic to the Republican candidate. My own feeling is that neither candidate performed as well as I would have expected. It wasn’t a very upbeat experience. I would venture to say that no one there was persuaded to change their opinion as to their favored candidate. I don’t know how they faired in their closing arguments; I left after 55 minutes because I had better things to do with my time.

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