Republican Delegates Beware II: Consolidated Post On Davis County Candidates (Liljenquist Senate Seat)

Full Disclosure: Friend(s) may also officially enter the race and my father (Ron) is now on the ballot.  I will also put up my gripes (to include my father) if/when they enter the race.  Also be aware that this blog is maintained separate from my father’s campaign and is not affiliated with his campaign.  His campaign items can be found at the referenced site.

UPDATE(1/2/12): Added several updates and made this a sticky post.  Also, I recommend delegates read “Introspection: Legislator Ethics Versus Delegates and Voters – The Double Standard” and consider if they are falling into the trap (particularly with Mr. Shumway).

I decided to write a consolidated post on the various candidates which I will keep a running update on as more, if any, candidates definitively run for Senator Dan Liljenquist’s vacated Utah Senate seat.  Right now there are three who are definitely running.  I, personally, liked Dan Liljenquist.  While not always in agreement with his positions, he was a fairly dependable conservative on the issues I followed.  It would be nice to have someone like him fill the seat and not wind down to a liberal republican.

Before anyone freaks out about being negative on candidates, understand that the candidates will cover all the positive spin stuff on their sites and I don’t need to regurgitate it here.  My decision is also based on a Michelle Malkin’s “nose clips” post on the presidential candidates – I found it to be an excellent means of disclosure and clarity in knowing what you are getting with your vote (the political ‘truth in advertising’ equivalent).  Caveat emptor, in alphabetical order:

Greg Ericksen

I trust him on defending the neighborhood caucus/delegate system (his thoughts and mine are similar).  But…on illegal immigration, I see a red flag (from his site):

I support Utah legislation passed in 2011 as a stopgap measure rather than an ultimate solution…I support work permits that require accountability for undocumented immigrants…

He’s referring to HB116 which is undeniably unconstitutional (the bill even had a constitutional note attached), passed in the same late session as HB477 with negligible debate (I called it Utah’s Obamacare Legislature).  Unsurprisingly, the rammed ‘down your throat’ legislation ended up having a litany of expected and unexpected flaws (including for the illegal immigrant beneficiaries).  Mr. Ericksen is also involved in Orbit Irrigation products which had a lot of workers walk out to the 2006 May illegal immigrant amnesty rally (indicating Orbit hired plenty of illegal workers).  At the time they pledged action would be taken but who knows if any was.  Hopefully, Mr. Ericksen will reconsider the effects and process employed for this legislation – right now he seems prime for pressure from the illegal worker use protection lobby (which includes the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce).

Update (12/28): I’ve been hearing that he does seem fairly conservative but doesn’t yet have a grasp of the issues (he’s still on the learning curve but progressing).  I messed up and failed to ask about impressions on his stance regarding illegal immigration.

Timothy Hawkes

Here’s what I know for now: He’s pledged to support the caucus system and wants greater participation but doesn’t include any specifics on how he would do so (that can be very important).

His site is ethics heavy but doesn’t have many specifics other than promising only to run for two terms.  I hope by ethics he doesn’t mean the Utahns for Ethical Government scheme which is much more about power than ethics.  Note: Mr. Hawkes has elaborated on this in the comments section.

Other than that, his site lacks specifics (see update below) but may be in development.  I’ll add more as time permits.

Update (12/28): I’ve been heard him speak recently and he does seem fairly conservative but also is still gaining a grasp of the issues (also on the learning curve).  It was nice to hear that Mr. Hawkes has joined in running a shoe string campaign and not trying to influence votes by buying delegates lunches and dinners etc.  Note that also brings some challenges (see Ron Mortensen section).

Ken Holman

UPDATE (1/2/12): I have been told that Ken Holman has exited the race and is no longer a candidate.

***Under Construction***

So far, I know he’s a former Centerville Councilman and is heavily involved in real estate and appears to partner with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.  The Realtors are a major lobbying/special interest force as is the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber and Realtors lobbied for HB116 (illegal immigrant amnesty – see Ericksen section) and both have a track history for corporate welfare (like the Utah new home purchase credit).

I have no idea on his personal stance regarding preserving the neighborhood caucus but the SL Chamber had plenty in attendance at the exclusive meeting where Jowers et al launched their effort to kill Utah’s caucus system (see Shumway section) and consolidating influence for political elites and big donors.

Update (12/28): The only feedback I’ve heard was that some delegates felt lukewarm about him as a conservative.  Sorry – it’s not much to go on.  Hopefully more will arise – as a former councilman he must have a record.  I’m not sure if he was on the council when the tax-raising recreation center, RAP tax, theater, and recycling votes took place.

Glen Jenkins

***Under Construction ***

On his site he is reasonably specific on education but appears to be still developing positions on some other issues.  He didn’t list anything on the caucus system, illegal immigration, or ethics.  As I previously stated, he’s a semi-late entry and is either still getting his issues up or on the learning curve.  He does, otherwise, appear reasonably conservative.  One caution, similar to Holman is his service on the Woods Cross City Council – what was his record there regarding the recreation center, RAP tax, theater, and recycling along with any private property restricting ordinances (if any).

Ben Lusty

***Under Construction***

12/28 – I found out he is a ‘late entry’ into the race.  I understand several delegates did like him and believe he’s also conservative but they also noted that he was a bit shaky on issues and is on a learning curve right now.  No surprise, since he just started.

I’ll try to update if/when I have time.

Ron Mortensen

Disclosure: Ron is my father.

Well I guess you can say this is now a festivus post and we’re at the family “airing of grievances”.

First, he is fully committed to defending the neighborhood caucus and has played significant role in identity theft, illegal immigration, and legal immigration legislation*.

In keeping with his belief in governmental fiscal responsibility, citizen representation, and avoiding special interest influence, he runs low budget campaigns eschewing lobbyist/big donor money.  That means he relies on an engaged electorate willing to accept detailed pamphlets etc over expensive colorful, puff piece cards with bullet two ‘policy’ bullet points.  That works for the caucus/convention system but is tougher during primary/general elections when many (disengaged) voters ultimately prefer the expensive puff card (face it, voters say they hate $$ in politics but they like the product).  It also means he is targeted by big donors and lobbying groups who see a potential loss of influence.

Along with the above, in the past he’s pledged not to attend closed legislative caucus sessions sponsored by an interest group (they usually provide lunch) as it provides an exclusive perk to the sponsors unavailable to regular citizens (shuts out Joe Blow).  He’s said he’ll be happy to sit out in the hall eating his peanut butter sandwich and meeting with constituents.  That can also mean that he will miss out on some tactical strategy talk by colleagues (they could fill him in later, but that assumes time is available to do so).

He is quite analytical.  He doesn’t go into paralysis by analysis but just dumping something on him and expecting an immediate answer (unless it’s something he’s already knowledgeable about), you’ll have to wait.  He will take some time to study the issue and it can be longer than impatient folks like me want.  Snap decisions are not something he likes to do.

*Regarding the recent legal immigration legislation (HB469) he, to my knowledge, still supports, I supported it too but have since retracted my support and called for its repeal due to Constitutional issues I did not realize (I doubt many do) exist with the legislation.  Please read the linked post for details on why the 10th Amendment does not apply.  Note: he may be re-evaluating his position on HB469 but I can’t confirm that until he returns, sorry.

He’s also out of the country filling in on a humanitarian mission with limited contact capability on this.  Delegate contact will be negligible until his return.  His timing totally sucks but no one knew when Liljenquist would resign and the schedule thereafter.  Murphy’s Law.

Now, on to the feats of strength…

Randy Shumway

He gets a staunch “no way” from me.  He’s aligned with those who seek to kill the neighborhood caucus system, thereby shifting power to the political elites and big donors.  Delegates and neighborhoods would be effectively locked out of the process.  Shumway not only attended Jower’s Alta Club meeting which initiated the effort to neutralize caucuses, but is also part of the Dan Jones and Cicero Group and serves on the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Governors.  These groups had multiple attendees at Jowers’ meeting. He is also part of the Chamber’s Capitol Club which recently hosted a meeting on neutralizing the neighborhood caucus with Kirk Jowers and LaVarr Webb presenting.

He’s also received what I called a reverse endorsement from Republican turned Democrat, Sheryl Allen.

Update (12/28): Mr. Shumway contacted me and stated that he is supportive of the caucus system and would like to see “greater consistency in the system” but it is not a campaign priority at this time and should be handled within the party (Note: my above concerns about his actions toward the caucus system remain – especially given his financial backers – see 1/2/12 update).  He didn’t remember much from the aforementioned meeting and believed it had more to do with education than the caucus system.  I maintain that the meeting was the launchpad for the Jowers’ push on the caucuses.  He stated that he’s not part of the Capitol Club but part of the SL Chamber’s Board of Governors.  I didn’t follow up but just took another look at the linked Capitol Club roster and he’s on it (is it a typo?).  We very briefly discussed the SL Chamber on illegal immigration/identity theft and he did not take  a position.  The SL Chamber has consistently opposed enforcement measures, identity theft prevention via E-verify and was a driving force behind HB116.

UPDATE (1/2/12): Phill Wright on his blog, related to a meet the candidates event, noted that Mr. Shumway came out against HB116 but ultimately gave him a “D-” grade.  I’m also left scratching my head given those who will soon financially support a potential war chest for him are folks behind the effort to neutralise the caucus system and a major force behind HB116.  I hope delegates do not fall for the smooth talk and focus on the issues and who is supporting him and why [edits made on 1/5/12].

Richard Siddoway

***Under Construction***

I just heard a rumor that he is running and would, likely, be a last-minute entry.  I would guage him as the UEA-backed candidate given his past associations.  As I recall, he was a Utah House Representative and I think would be reminicent of Sheryl Allen (not something I’m keen on).  I don’t have any other specific information on his positions at this time.

Todd Weiler

He has stated that he’s supportive of the caucus system and will fight to preserve it.  I wasn’t able to turn up any links to formal articles or statements on caucuses. He’s been in the party leadership structure since 2003.  Mr. Weiler is not supportive and derisive of the Tea Party movement going as far as implying supporters are not “normal people” (also taking a jab a Mike Lee).  I believe he was a Senator Bennett supporter and received $2000 from Bennett in 2009-2010.

Mr. Weiler, however, has had some ethical bumps in the road as recent as this year.  The most recent (this year at the Davis County Republican Convention) was breaking Convention rules and speaking on a resolution despite not being a delegate.  I knew a complaint was lodged at the time.  Then he brushed it aside when asked. Recently, however, I found out that action appears to have been taken in the matter as both he and then Chair Bouwhuis issued apology letters to the current chair.  While trying to turn up references on the caucus system, I stumbled onto a post on cronysim exhibited by party leadership (2008) in which Weiler was also mentioned.  The issue raised in the post was also corroborated by a Deseret News article.

He was a staunch supporter of HB116 (see Ericksen’s section) at the recent County Convention and spoke (the above mentioned violation) to oppose a resolution calling for the flawed legislation to be repealed and replaced.  Hopefully he will reconsider his support of the bill and the process enacted for passage.

That’s all for now.  As noted, if others officially join the race, I will try to keep up.

2 thoughts on “Republican Delegates Beware II: Consolidated Post On Davis County Candidates (Liljenquist Senate Seat)

  1. Greg: Thank your for your analysis of the various candidates for Senate District 23 in an effort to help delegates make an informed decision. To clarify on a few questions you raised regarding me: First, I steadfastly support the caucus system. Without it, I wouldn’t stand a chance because I’m not independently wealthy and have refused to take out-of-district money from anyone. More importantly, the caucus system reduces the importance of money and the influence of special interest groups–perfectly consistent with our Country’s long history of creating checks and buffers to the temporary whims of public opinion. And when I say, ‘foster greater participation,’ I mean within that system. In other words, the caucus system is open to all, and if people don’t like it, they can/should engage in it. I will fight to preserve that system.

    Second, I consider myself a strong proponent of ethics because that’s how we promote and preserve faith in our public institutions. In that regard, the actions of the legislature should be, to the extent possible, open, transparent, and–in all events–above reproach. Having just read the Utahns for Ethical Government website, although I share some of their concerns (role of money in politics, HB477, etc.) I’m concerned about some of their prescriptions, particularly the initiative that would create an an unelected and unaccountable board with broad powers and no judicial review, which, to my mind anyway, raises serious constitutional concerns. I’m also concerned because, from the website, it’s not clear what individuals and interests are behind that effort. In other words, an organization that purports to be all about transparency seems to lack transparency itself.

    On education I support our public schools, dedicated teachers, and doing everything possible to make sure we provide the best possible education for all Utah’s children. Although the issue is complex and often divisive and nobody seems satisfied with the status quo, I do see agreement around certain themes: transparency in how money is spent/administered, more local control (less top-down mandates), and ensuring that money we already allocate to education makes it into the classroom where it can benefit teachers and students alike.

    I hope delegates will take the opportunity to visit my website: to learn more about me and the principles I believe in and contact me directly with questions:; 801.928.9008 (cell).
    Thanks again.

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