Opinionated @ CFE

Where I Stand 2010: Federal Offices

Oct
12

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 federal offices.

U.S. Senate: Like many Utahns, I wasn’t very happy with Bob Bennett. Unlike many Utahns, I’m not terribly happy with the choices placed before me. Every day, Mike Lee is looking more and more like a panderer that said what needed to be said to get his way into office. I have no doubts that within a couple of terms (if we hold out that long), he’ll be Bennett with better PR.

I’d like to like Sam Granato, but his campaign has, quite frankly, been insulting. He spent months not posting any issues on his website and is running on a “Mike is a loony” platform. Charging along with a textbook case of negative campaigning is not the way to go. Had the Democrats actually nominated Christopher Stout, I would have considered voting for him.

I can’t say that I think too highly of Scott Bradley either. He has about the same platform as Mike Lee, but without the phoniness. Unfortunately, most of his “positions” are rambling and say very little about how he wants to¬†achieve¬†his vision.

In this election, I plan on voting None of the Above. I truly do not feel that any candidate deserves my support at the ballot box. (I’m open to creative write-in suggestions if you have a good one.)

U.S. House of Representatives #2: I’m going to say what most people already know: Jim Matheson is a spineless coward. He thought he pulled off an artful dodge by not voting for the health care “reform” bill before Congress, but we all know that had it come down to needing his vote, he would have given it. Then he spends all of his time dodging angry constituents from both sides, refusing to actually face the consequences for his decisions. I’m sorry, Jim, but you can’t get away with that in any elected position.

While I agree with a large part of Morgan Philpot’s campaign platform, his highly partisan “Matheson is Pelosi” attitude is very off-putting. I don’t feel like that will be very productive, nor do I feel like he’s putting forward much message of his own. I agree much more with Randall Hinton’s platform and have found his positions to be both logical and well-worded. Unsurprisingly, Randall Hinton has my support as the best choice in this race.

Next installment: state races.

Current Ethics Efforts Put Effort Into the Wrong End of the Problem

Oct
02

After the legislature decided to do as close to nothing as possible about perceived ethics problems earlier this year, some citizens were left a bit steamed. There do appear to be a lot of conflicts of interest in the legislature (like a full-time lobbyist as a legislator) and while there have been some rather blatant conflicts of interest (I’m looking at you, Aaron Tilton), tightening up gifting, spending, and lobbying rules is an ineffective way to take care of the problem.

The real problem is that when each legislator is given enough power to push through legislation on their own, they become a magnet for lobbying. No matter how many rules you make, no matter how many laws you pass, no matter how harsh the punishment, the problem of a single legislator wielding considering individual influence and power will still exist. This is only compounded when the number of constituents represented by each of them increases, resulting in a need for even more funding to effectively campaign for office.

I think the appropriate remedy for this situation is to keep adding members of the House of Representatives, both at the state and federal levels. Not only do you dilute the power of the individual lawmakers, you greatly increase their responsiveness to constituents and spread the lobbying dollars much more thinly. It may also put an end to oddly-drawn district boundaries since they can be made smaller and thus more compact. The door is also opened to third-party and independent candidates who can invest plenty of time and not a lot of money.

Additional rules only create additional loopholes. Let’s go for a solution that really takes care of the problem.

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