On a Saturday in mid-May, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Utah held its annual Convention in Draper. A special thanks to RLC members Rob Alexander, Bryan Livingston, and Lowell Nelson for coordinating the convention and to all of the new officers and Convention speakers.
The Convention’s first speaker was Utah Representative John Dougall, who made a passionate speech in favor of persuasion instead of the use force. Dougall’s plan for maximizing liberty includes the importance of self-reliance in skills and education and the avoidance of debt. As more and more people become dependent, the more likely will be the calls for government to solve a problem that it cannot solve. He also stressed the importance of charity to help others achieve self-reliance.
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (pictured addressing Delegates) was the featured speaker. He was elected on his promises and he kept them and was subsequently re-elected. He prevented billions in new spending by vetoing 750 bills, as well as thousands of line item vetoes. He was one of the most outspoken governors regarding bringing freedom of choice and competition to the educational system. He also discussed how much of law enforcement dollars are spent on the war on drugs. Johnson explained that much of the violence that occurs along the US-Mexican border is directly related to the prohibitive aspect of drug use. He says the “drug treatment model” does not work. He would have vetoed recent immigration legislation in Arizona had he been governor there, because he believes it could lead to racial profiling.
Johnson also discussed how we have to slash government spending by at least 43%, because 43 cents of every dollar America spends is borrowed. The Fed inflates (prints) money to cover our drunken binge. In the next 4-10 years, a dollar today will be worth only 50 cents then. Johnson believes that what’s happening in Greece is what is going to happen here. Many U.S. state pension funds are “under water”, with California being likely the one that will first fail.
Johnson believes the root of nearly all our problems is that the federal government is too large. He does not believe that attacking Iraq was warranted because we have the technology to know that Iraq didn’t have Weapons of Mass Destruction. Says Johnson, attacking Afghanistan was initially warranted, but the target, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, is not there anymore. America makes up 5% of the world’s population, but we spend 50% of the world total on military armaments.
Cherilyn Eagar, former Candidate or US Senate from Utah spoke for just a moment. She said that the campaign was exhilarating and she achieved some remarkable friends. She appreciates the successes of the Republican Liberty Caucus. Several other candidates for public office spoke, including Utah RLC members like Rob Alexander and DJ Schanz.
Mike Lee (pictured addressing Delegates), candidate for U.S. Senate from Utah, considers Cherilyn Eagar a patriot and a friend. Lee talked about how America is exceptional because of our tradition of liberty. He said that whenever government acts, it acts at the expense of liberty. He said we must therefore be mindful of what we allow the government to do. He remembers watching the 1994 election returns, thinking that it would be a happy change, but it didn’t turn out that way, even with a Republican president later elected. The Republican revolution in 1994 failed and has since died. But Lee believes we have a greater opportunity now in 2010, and we can’t mess it up this time. He says this time we must anchor it in something that is solid and time-tested–the Constitution. If we had done this in 1994, that revolution would still be vibrant today.
Here are a few photos from the Convention:
Lowell Nelson, Convention Chair.
Utah RLC members.
Utah RLC members.
The Utah RLC also elected its new officers:
Chair: Julian Babbitt, Cottonwood Heights
Vice Chair: Chris Lovato, West Valley City
Secretary: Bryan Livingston, Lehi
Treasurer: David Garber, Provo
Jeremy Hurren, Pleasant Grove
James Williams, South Jordan
Frank Staheli, Santaquin
Lowell Nelson, Highland
Clint Lord, Sandy
Jordan Gunderson, West Provo
Rep. John Dougall
Rep. Craig Frank
In addition, the Utah RLC approved the following 2010 candidate endorsements:
Daniel Thatcher, District 12
Rob Alexander, District 35
Chuck Bateman, District 5
John Dougall, District 27
Craig Frank, District 57
Ken Ivory, District 47
DJ Schanz, District 20
Before closing the convention, the floor was opened to an informal roundtable discussion of issues and ideas, including:
* Senator Howard Stephenson is sponsoring a bill that would implement Preferential (Ranked) Voting in General Elections in Utah;
* Representative John Dougall is sponsoring a constitutional coinage bill that would legalize and protect gold and silver in Utah;
* General support of an RLC “Liberty Index” was expressed, and the Board may publish its first such index of Utah candidates in 2011;
* Officers and board members will have a conference call monthly, and a face-to-face meeting quarterly. Events will be on a Google Calendar.
* Members are encouraged to help DJ and/or Mike Lee in their respective primary races.
Thanks to everyone who made the Convention a success!
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the RLC.