Former TV anchor Susan Wood, now with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, interviews Speaker Becky Lockhart on the upcoming investigation into Utah Attorney General John Swallow.
Don’t you just love Speaker Becky Lockhart? I know I do! She has a collaborative leadership style, welcoming input from all quarters and letting the body decide the direction they will take. She is also funny, smart and
just a tad strong-willed – all traits I admire.
Her opening day speech was delightful to me. She did not speak from the dais – rather, she spoke from the floor, as a “colleague and fellow legislator.”
She started with the type of expressions of gratitude you would expect – husband, children, parents, colleagues – even lobbyists, activists and protesters. Then she started throwing punches:
There is one group of people I exclude from my gratitude. Today I exclude Congress. A group of 535 people who have made gridlock a profession. Normally, I’m in favor of gridlock in Washington. It means less mischief that we have to deal with on a state level. But after years of meddling with the economy and amassing trillions in debt, their actions are having a direct and immediate impact on Utah.
She went after Obamacare and the enticements the feds are dangling in front of Utahns.
We have learned through sad experience over many decades that the Federal Government is never truly interested in a partnership. They give lip service to partnerships and flexibility, but over and over we are denied the promised flexibility. And now Utah’s health insurance exchange, Avenue H, faces the threat of being moved away from a free market consumer-driven vehicle to a single-payer government-issue gateway.
Let me be absolutely clear on this: there is no negotiating with the federal government on this issue. There will be no such thing as a true state and federal partnership. The federal government’s definition of a partnership is one in which they command and we obey. Usually while they’re picking our pockets. Anyone who believes otherwise is in it for the money, or deliberately ignoring history.
Speaker Lockhart then told the Representatives not to get smug, or to lay all the blame on others. “We claim and embrace the values of self-reliance, yet we are content with over 30% of our budget coming from Washington, D.C.”
I challenge you today to become problem solvers. Think outside the money box. States are supposed to be the incubators of innovation for this great country. Let’s find solutions that don’t further burden our taxpayers. Utah taxpayers are saddled with the 29th highest tax burden in the country. For a state that prides itself on low taxes and good management, that seems awfully high, don’t you think?
Then came my favorite part: A call for legislative restraint. Imagine.
It’s not only money management where we and Congress run into trouble. We emulate their draconian regulatory schemes. We far too often look for problems where none exist. Can someone here please tell me what definition of “health and public safety” hair braiding falls into? Do we really need to license more so-called professions so as to artificially limit commerce? The free market?
Amen and amen.
Looking forward to a restrained session.
Think they can do it?
New research suggests Speaker Lockhart may do a better job than her predecessors, Chaffetz gets a sweet spot on the budget committee and UTferalcat joins Twitter.
*New research coming out in the American Journal of Political Science finds that women that get elected have more political skill because of the discrimination they’ve had to overcome to win office. Sharon Stucki says Speaker Becky Lockhart’s new role is reflective of that. Her personality will appeal to men and her example will encourage more women to participate in politics, she says. KSL
*Employees of the Springville Herald, Spanish Fork Press and Nebo Reporter were told their papers were shutting down yesterday of the changes about 1 p.m. Wednesday, after what will become the papers’ final editions had already gone to press. Eight employees were laid off as part of the changes. More proof that newspapers are a dying breed? KSL
*Congressman Jason Chaffetz has snagged a sweet spot on the budget committee with Congressman Paul Ryan. That combination of fiscal hawks has got to be the Dems worst nightmare. Chaffetz.gov
*Rep Curt Oda’s bill re: feral cats has spawned a new Twitter account. UTferalcat is quite witty. Here’s an example: “I am worried about the feral community. Killing feral cats breaks up families. Isn’t Utah about family?”
*Speaking of that bill (HB 210) Stephen Colbert postulates Oda may be on his way to Washington after proposing this bill. Colbert Nation
*And if none of that interests you, then just do your civic duty and go vote for Jimmer Fredette for the Lowe’s senior class award. Senior Class
The 2011 legislative session is underway. Welcome to 6 weeks of intense echo chamber.
*Let’s start with the new blog started by the Utah House. Vox Populi – the voice of the people – has jumped into the online morning roundup with the Morning Buzz. (Daily Fix, Morning Buzz – I think I know where they got their inspiration….) Anyway, I think you’ll agree with me that the Morning Buzz has a bit of sausage flavor. Sausagegrinder, that is. Morning Buzz
*Next in the echo chamber, the folks over at the Senate Site have started their daily round-up and photo essay. Check ‘em out. Senate Site
*Congressman Jason Chaffetz doesn’t know who to take to the SOTU dance tonight. I know the perfect person – Congressman Jared Polis. Polis could even send flowers….and apparently he agrees me, since he invited Chaffetz to join the Colorado delegation. The Hill
Today, as the 59th legislature opened for business, Utah’s new Speaker of the House was officially nominated, accepted and sworn-in and took her place on the dais. Amid cheers and applause, Speaker Rebecca Lockhart then addressed her colleagues. She started with the story of Mattie Hughes.
Like many University of Utah students, Mattie Hughes was a firebrand. She was outspoken and passionate. She was independent — washing dishes, doing laundry and secretarial jobs to work her own way through school.She majored in Chemistry, and at age 25 launched her career as a doctor.
Today, she’d blend in among the U’s 30,000 students. Except that “Mattie” Hughes went to school in the 1880s and the school was known then as the University of Deseret.
Hughes would go on to establish a training school for nurses, become a resident physician and marry Angus Munn Cannon. We now know her as Martha Hughes Cannon. She was drawn to politics, and felt so strongly about the issues of her day that she ran for office against her own husband in 1896. She defeated him and became the first woman in our nation to be elected to a State senate.
Martha Cannon was a trailblazer in the 1800′s. Becky Lockhart is a trailblazer in her time. She is making Utah history as the first woman Speaker – and guess what. It’s not because of her gender that she got elected. She has proven her ability to lead. She encouraged her colleagues to be leaders as well, She urged lawmakers to remember how they got to the Hill. “You were chosen to lead by farmers and mechanics, attorneys and doctors, software programmers, teachers, and homemakers,” she said. “These constituents have the right to our time and attention,” she continued. “They have a right to an explanation for why we vote the way we do. They have a right to know how the laws we pass will affect them and their children, and future generations.”
Welcome to the last day of 2010! What a ride this year has been politically. Pretty darn fun from where I sit. So, for political junkies like me, here’s one final fix for the year.
*Senator Steve Urquhart pens an editorial on the cruel joke political posturing is playing on the West. “Wilderness protection and economic activity both can be accommodated,” he says. “But discussion and compromise take time, and healthy democratic process isn’t nearly as sexy as a swashbuckling coup that instantly gives a victory to one side of a multi-party issue.” Deseret News
*The Utah Senate tweeted out a question wanting to know what people thought about an omnibus immigration bill and linking to a newspaper article. Not only was it the first time the public heard about a bill that would roll “all” immigration bills together, but it was the first legislators heard of it as well. On the Senate side, it appears that very few Senators were involved in the discussions. On the House side, Rep Chris Herrod found out about it when called by the reporter for comment and many others were undoubtedly left out of the loop. Omnibus bills crafted behind closed doors don’t have a history of sitting well with folks not at the table. Sometimes I wonder if the Utah Senate missed the message sent this year – enough with the status quo, enough with an appalling lack of openness and transparency, enough with top-down, heavy-handed leadership. I expect some pretty interesting fireworks come the session. SL Tribune
*We’re #1! At least for now….Walmart, GiftCard Bäks and Utah Food Bank are encouraging all Utahns to vote for Salt Lake City and Ogden from a list of 100 communities where hunger rates are the highest. The city with the most support will receive $1 million in grants and the next five cities with the highest support will receive $100,000 each. Hop onto your Facebook page, search “Feed Utah” and click away. This is real money to a real cause. Let’s keep that #1 spot. KSL
*In a slightly-related-to-politics spot, a hospital in Maryland is prohibiting all photography during or after childbirth. Locally, the U o U lets the family make their own photography decisions, IHC prohibits filming during C-Sections and/or epidural use and St Marks leaves it to the doctor’s discretion. The reason given? Doctors need to concentrate. Apparently that’s now the politically correct way of saying CYA so photographic evidence can’t be used against you in a court of law. One more reason to use a midwife. ABC 4
*The Top Ten Most Influential Utahns as seen by the DNews include almost-Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart, almost-Senator Mike Lee and Utah Senator Luz Robles. Of course it also includes a guy involved a pretty big fraud case, so take it for what it’s worth. Deseret News
*Speaking of Top Ten lists, Chris Vanocur looks at the the Top Ten Top Ten lists of 2010. Really. A couple of the best include “Top political quotes” with the number one spot going to Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell: “I’m not a witch.” Or how about this one on the Top 10 border seizures:”Border patrol agents seize scuba gear, marijuana in sewer system.” Oh, and you HAVE to see the double-rainbow YouTube favorite…. ABC 4
*Speaking of Chris Vanocur, the Vanocur Group will be on Channel 4 at 8 am Sunday morning to take a look back at the political world of 2010. If you can’t watch or TIVO, it’ll be online soon and I’ll post links.
Enjoy your celebrating tonight – and if you drink something stronger than Martinelli’s, please don’t drive. See you next year!
After a brown Christmas, brace yourself for this week’s storm and the cold that is due to follow. Herriman Rep Carl Wimmer has re-introduced a plan for vouchers, Herbert’s spokeswoman is going to work for a company that did all media for Sim Gill’s campaign, Joe Miller finally realized he actually lost the race in Alaska some time ago and Mark Sanford isn’t going hiking any time soon.
*Utah lawmaker Carl Wimmer has introduced a bill that would bring back vouchers for private school students. In an exclusive interview with Channel 4′s Chris Vanocur, Wimmer admitted Speaker-elect Lockhart would find out about it as she watched the news. In a Twitter conversation with opponents, he said to oppose it was “cruel and indefensible.” ABC 4
*Governor Herbert’s spokeswoman, Angie Welling, is stepping away from that job to take a position in the private sector. She will be joining Love Communications, a “full-service” ad agency in Salt Lake. In an interesting twist, Love Communications handled all communications and marketing for Sim Gill, Democrat who successfully defeated Lohra Miller for the SL County DA spot. ABC 4 Utah Pulse
*Joe Miller might finally be ready to face facts. He lost. Murkowski won. Time to quit whining. Des News
*Newt Gingrich’s daughter says her father is very serious about a 2012 run for president. Really? Come on – really?? Human Events
*Departing South Carolina governor Mark Sanford has no plans to hike the Appalachian trail any time soon. He did not comment, however, on whether a visit to Argentina was on the agenda. Politico
*And, if none of that catches your interest, maybe you could go be a stagehand at the Lincoln Center in NYC, where the AVERAGE salary is $290,000. Washington Examiner
Representative Becky Lockhart is now Madam Speaker, currently the only female Republican Speaker in the United States and the first female Speaker in Utah history. When she announced she was running in the middle of September, most “insiders” gave her little to no chance of winning. But, the Utah House was ready for a change and now Utah has made history.
Speaker-elect Lockhart said that she has never run on her gender and that while there will be natural differences because she is a woman, she wanted to be elected because of her ability to lead, her desire for inclusiveness and the skills she will bring as a Speaker. She spoke to her campaign resulting from seeing a consolidation of power in the Speaker’s office that made her uncomfortable. She believes that she will bring a new style and a new level of openness and transparency as Madam Speaker.
The transition between Speaker Clark and Speaker-elect Lockhart will take place the beginning of January. The rest of her leadership team includes Brad Dee as Majority Leader, Greg Hughes as Majority Whip and Ronda Menlove as Assistance Majority Whip.
*picture choice by me. What’s that old saying? A woman’s place is in the House? It’s also on the Speaker’s dais.