Opinionated @ CFE

Where I Stand 2010: State Offices


Every year, I spend a considerable amount of time studying each candidate and, if needed, attempting to contact them to get answers to specific questions. I would strongly encourage each of you to do the same. Here are my picks for the state offices.

Governor: In the short time that Gary Herbert has been in the governor’s seat, he’s managed to create a long trail of blunders and screw-ups that are inexcusable. Remember when Las Vegas wanted to siphon off water from Snake Valley? Herbert almost signed a deal to make it happen until it became public and there was an outcry from around the state. How about accepting a $10,000 donation the same day the state grants a first of it’s kind strip-mining permit? Maybe trying to both accept and refuse radioactive waste rings a bell? And how about that $13M payout from UDOT to a losing bidder that he was “virtually unaware” of? ¬†This doesn’t sound like someone who has the best interests of the state in mind.

Peter Corroon isn’t without his faults (cash for clunkers? Really?), but he has been a very effective administrator in Salt Lake County and I don’t feel like he would be running around selling of the state to the highest bidder. He cut the county budget when he had to and wasn’t afraid to raise taxes when he felt it necessary. I want that kind of even-keel leadership, even if his running mate, Sheryl Allen, is a giant yawn. But boring is good. It usually means we can expect a lack of shenanigans.

I’m proud to support Peter Corroon as our next governor.

State Senate 9: Wayne Niederhauser is seeking a second term in the State Senate, and I see little reason to think he doesn’t deserve it. He’s done a lot of grunt work with updating the tax code using his background as a CPA and has been extremely responsive when I e-mail him with a concern, a critical feature in any elected official. My only quibble is his vote for HB150 to expand administrative¬†subpoenas, but every candidate will, sooner or later, make a vote I don’t like.

With a lot in the plus column, Tyler Ayres has an uphill fight to convince me to switch horses. While he ordinarily would be a reasonably good candidate (albeit one I’m not particularly excited about), there’s just not enough reason to vote for him over Niederhauser. Most of his issues read like boilerplate Republican talking points despite being a Democrat, and it makes me feel like he’s taking the Trisha Beck approach to running on and yet away from his party. I don’t much like pandering, and this particular bit doesn’t do much for me.

I’m confident that Wayne Niederhauser will do a fine job with a second term.

State House 48: Two years ago, I expressed concerns at how unresponsive Trisha Beck seemed when I e-mailed her my list of candidate questions. Today, I can see that my concerns were well-founded. Any time I have e-mailed her on an issue of importance to me, I would hear nothing back. Ever. Not even a courtesy “thank you for contacting me” form letter. Look, I know part-time legislators are busy folks, but responding to constituents is part of the territory. If you don’t do that, what good are you?

Lavar Christensen is seeking a re-match of 2008 and is seeking the seat again. I feel that his positions are much more in-line with mine, and, more importantly, he’s always been responsive to communication. If there’s an issue I care about, at least I know he’ll be listening. That counts for a lot.

I’ll be voting to replace Trisha Beck with Lavar Christensen.

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.

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