Webb Wrap: What are you thankful for? . . . Should we shut down over Christmas? . . . Dems agonize over down-ballot losses

This week we’re asking Utah leaders what they’re grateful for. If you’d like to participate, shoot me an email at [email protected] and tell me what you’re thankful for. Here are some responses from four Utah state senators:

Senate Pres. Stuart Adams: I am grateful for: Utah having the lowest Covid case fatality rate in the Nation. Second lowest in the World.  Covid Vaccine that is almost ready to use. Done in record time!  Zoom technology and other advances that have helped us deal with Covid. Utah having a great economy even in a pandemic. Great friends that want to help. Supportive and loving family that have bonded together to take care of family members.

Sen. Karen Mayne: I am thankful for our health professionals and first responders for taking care of us ❤️.

Sen. Todd Weiler: First, we should all strive to be as thankful as Burgess Owens is for Amelia Powers Gardner. I’m thankful that Donald Trump made my own tweets look tame. I’m thankful that Gary Herbert always wore a suit and tie when cheerleading for our state. Lastly, I’m thankful that Brian King’s crystal ball for election forecasts was broken this year.

Sen. Ralph Okerlund: I’m grateful for this wonderful country that so many have sacrificed for and I pray that we can keep it.

Pandemic rages on

Gov. Gary Herbert and his key COVID-19 response leaders will provide an update Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. Utah news media will likely cover the briefing, or it can be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/GovGaryHerbert.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are soaring in Utah and showing no sign of letting up. What if daily cases hit 5,000 or 6,000 over the next few weeks? Our hospitals and ICU facilities would be overwhelmed. Some smart people I know are suggesting that if we need to shut things down to control the explosion of cases, a two-week period over the holidays would be a good time to do it, since many people are taking time off anyway. The state could essentially close from, say, Saturday, Dec. 19 to Monday, Jan. 4. That would provide 16 days to cool off the contagion with less economic impact than other times.

Third time’s the charm. Congrats to Democrat Doug Owens, won the District 36 Utah House seat in the Millcreek/Holladay area. He replaces longtime legislator Patrice Arent, who retired. Owens twice ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Congress, trying to follow in the footsteps of his father, the late Congressman Wayne Owens. Doug Owens is a smart, moderate attorney who will be an excellent lawmaker.

Good reads. Will the new president and new Congress pass a much-needed infrastructure package? Route Fifty takes a look.

Governing magazine: “With Trump Defeated, Why Are Democrats So Downcast?” The Democratic Party just had its most fervent wish come true but has already started tearing itself apart. Seth Masket, author of “Learning from Loss,” explains why the party is unwilling to celebrate.

Reader Response. Richard Kendell, a longtime education leader and advocate, responding to a question we asked to think tanks about Utah public education performance and the need for more funding: “Perhaps the perspective of other reports might be useful in talking about Utah being a top tier school system. While ACT scores are pretty good compared to national averages it should be noted that only 24% of those taking the ACT in Utah meet all four benchmarks for ACT’s college readiness measure. The well-regarded Quality Counts report ranks Utah as 31st in the nation. That is a long way from being a top five state. Moreover, the achievement gap between high and low-performing students, both in math and in reading, has widened significantly in the U.S. Utah does no better. For more information, check the NCEE reports and the current NAEP and PISA reports. Bottom line, Utah has a very long way to go to be a high-performing state let alone ranked in the top five.”

Parting Shot. There are many prominent black conservatives who are extremely articulate in making a case for conservatism. Many of them have experienced racism and poverty and they argue that the solution to the nation’s problems isn’t bigger government and higher taxes, but instead is hard work, self-reliance and family values. One of them is Star Parker, who recently wrote an essay expressing optimism about America, despite GOP loss of the presidency. That’s a sentiment I agree with. Unfortunately, the comments at the end of Parker’s essay show many conservatives are bitter and unwilling to move on.

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, shoot me a message at [email protected].