State Senator Dan Liljenquist recently returned from Washington DC where he received back-to-back awards for his courage and innovation tackling the complex problems of exploding pension and Medicaid costs.
Governing Magazine called Senator Liljenquist the “Change Agent” for his reforms. Each year, Governing chooses only one state legislator, out of over 7000 nationwide, one Governor and a handful of others involved in government at the local level. This year, they also honored the Governor of Arkansas, Mayor of Atlanta, a county executive, a police chief, a judge, a couple of very cool techie innovators working with the city of Boston and the Chancellor from CUNY, the City University of New York. Governing, a non-partisan group, does not appear to care which political party their honorees belong to and in fact, they gave more awards to Democrats than to Republicans. There was one consistent theme however – fiscal reforms. The presenters repeatedly mentioned we were “standing on a burning platform” financially and it was way past time to start addressing the real problems. The award winners were, for the most part, public officials willing to step up and tackle thorny problems head-on.
In addition to the award from Governing, Senator Liljenquist was named the “Legislative Entrepreneur of the Year” by FreedomWorks. The award – given out only a handful of times – has been given to people like now-Senator Marco Rubio, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and then Georgia House Rep Tom Graves, now in Congress. “Legislative entrepreneurs are tenacious political leaders who challenge the status quo and take bold action to advance liberty and limited government. We can thank Senator Liljenquist for the ground-breaking pension and entitlement reforms in Utah that are now the envy of states across the country, and serve as a model for the nation,” read the press release. “The fact of the matter is, while states like New York, Illinois and California are headed for bankruptcy, the financial future of Utah is secure because of Liljenquist’s reforms.”
FreedomWorks praised Liljenquist’s legislative innovation as he introduced free market principles into the “most difficult spending issues in government.” Senator Liljenquist, widely rumored to be challenging Orrin Hatch, caught the eye of a number of national media peeps as well. Check out some of the press he picked up this weekend: Daily Caller, CNN, National Journal, Red State’s Erick Erickson, Politico, the Rising Republican and all over the AP wire.
He felt the love here too. Daily Herald, SL Trib, DNews, Fox 13 and the Standard Examiner all carried stories about his awards and his potential run for the US Senate. Stay tuned – things are getting interesting!