Current political attention is focused on activities of the Utah Legislature, but I urge you to look ahead. Just one week after the Legislature adjourns, filing deadlines for elected positions is scheduled. If we are displeased with decisions made by current elected officials, now is the time to act!
The legislative session concludes on March 13, 2014.Community political caucuses follow immediately on Tuesday, March 18(Democrats) and Thursday, March 20 (Republicans).
The filing deadline for elected offices occur on Thursday, March 20, 5 p.m.
If you are unsatisfied about decisions being made by your legislator, NOW is the time to encourage competent individuals to run for office. All Utah House representatives will be up for re-election; approximately half of the senators face re-election. Approximately half of the positions on local and the state school boards will be decided.
In the past, I served for 15 years in the Utah House of Representatives; this year I will complete my 16th year as a member of the State School Board. As age advances, I have decided that I will not seek re-election. I hold high hopes for future policymakers. Their decisions are critical, but the nature of those decisions depends on the quality of the people filling those positions.
Utah (and much of the nation) has seen increased control in our policy bodies of ultra-right, “Tea-Party”-type politicians. In many cases, their mode of operation is to throw up roadblocks, rather than working with other leaders to find solutions. We need politicians interested in solving problems instead of advancing their rigid ideology. We have some; we need more.
We need fewer policymakers beholden to powerbrokers who pull the purse strings of public policy by injections of cash!
Of course, the question arises: what makes a good policy-maker? We should not expect an elected official to agree with us on all decisions, but if they are voting opposite to our thinking on many and certainly on the important issues, then one ought to be looking for another person.
You may be the right kind of person to serve.
Your neighbor or friend may be that person.
Seize the “gauntlet;” make a difference!
Margaret Mead, noted anthropologist, said: “…A small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
If you or a trusted acquaintance decides to run for public office, go to work immediately: gather supporters, notify colleagues, gather a campaign fund, and strategize so in the case of legislative races you can recruit potential delegates to be selected at the political caucus. (Although I am a strong supporter of “Count My Vote,” its successful passage will go into effect in the future; we must work in the existing system now.)
Potential candidates of high quality will find others who are eager to help. But you must make the decision, and the time to act is now. The future depends on the decisions of sensible and committed citizens who choose to make a difference!