State Central Committee Highlights
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008 – Bountiful City Hall
By Ricky Hatch
Chair - House Legislative District 6
A balmy, sunny Saturday welcomed about 150 State Central Committee members to Bountiful City Hall. The free donuts and juice didn't hurt either. Not too much on this meeting's agenda – mostly reports. So here's a report of the reports.
Audit Committee report: The state party is audited once every two years. This year, we got audit bids from four different local CPA firms. James & Co. was selected and completed the audit in December. As in the past, we received an unqualified opinion (a good thing). The party runs a pretty lean ship (again, good).
Chairman Stan Lockhart's report: Four things. 1) Fundraising is going well and will remain a focus. 2) Stan had an op-ed piece in the 12/30/07 Tribune (see Salt Lake Tribune -- Republicans represent the morals and ideals of Utahns. 3) The state party is solvent continues to reduce overhead. 4) The Central Committee feels more cohesive and is focusing less on petty things and more on more important things, like elections. 5) We need to hold good caucuses this spring. OK, that's 5 things. So sue me.
Senator Bob Bennett's report: 35 Senate seats are up for grabs this year: 23 of them are Republican and 12 are Democrat. That doesn't bode well. He thinks we can steal a couple of seats from “them Dems,” but we’ll probably lose some as well. Demmit!
Lt. Governor Gary Herbert's report: Utah is bucking the national trend by maintaining a strong economy, leading the states in various economic indicators, such as personal income growth (9% last year), unemployment (2.8%) and job creation. The slowest growth sector in the state is the Government, which is a good thing. Our net population increased 85K last year. He and Governor Huntsman will run for reelection in 2008. But don't tell anyone...it's still a secret. OK, if it just happens to slip out, you probably won’t get in any trouble. They are focusing on three key issues right now: 1) Health care – they're trying to come up with ways that it can be handled by the state, not the federal government (not quite sure where the U.S. Constitution gives the Feds the right to “help” us in health care…). 2) Education – with the voucher bills defeated, there are still plenty of opportunities for reform, like giving more local control to principals. 3) Natural resource development – Utah just got a $60 million grant on finding more environmentally friendly ways to use coal. He pushed for a strong turnout on February 5th (Presidential Primary).
Congressman Rob Bishop's report: Four bills show how bad it is, and how good it can be, in Washington. 1) Defense Authorization bill – apart from a 7-month Democratic delay, it is a good, fair, bi-partisan bill. 2) S-CHIP – In the House, no Republicans were allowed to participate in this. The Dems wanted it to remain open so it could be an election issue. Yuck. 3) Alternative Minimum Tax – The Dems waited until the last day of the session to address this, and then tried to increase taxes. The “PAYGO” solution that is currently being pushed is (and I quote), “a crappy accounting scheme to raise taxes.” The Washington Post, the Washington Times, ipi.com, heritage.org, Paul Ryan, Larry Kudlow, and the Republican Committee on the Budget agree. 4) Safety and Mining Act – It gives a competitive advantage to surface mining (stronger on the East Coast) and union mines (stronger on the East Coast). I smell Hillary.
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's report: He's campaigning for reelection this year, and wants to rent booths/tables at your functions (call 877-488-2008). They just formed a mortgage fraud task force. I liked what he said here, “The best consumer protection is a vibrant free market.” He says that the Utah AG office does not believe in being suit happy, like many other states have become.
Senator John Valentine spoke about “Why Am I a Republican?” Utah is one of only three states with a AAA bond rating. This is due to intelligent, conservative, Republican fiscal policy. He talked about the upcoming legislative session. Items to be addressed: health care reform, property tax reform, transportation, natural resource development, and educational funding and reform (like differential pay and possibly repealing tenure, so “bad” teachers can be removed).
Utah Republican Women report: Weber County’s own Darcy Kruitbosch is the President of the Utah Republican Women. As membership has been decreasing over the years, they are focusing on being visible in the community and at events. The leadership team is focused, unified, and charged for the future.
Ed Cox of the College Republicans spoke about fundraising. Lucas Johnson of the Teenage Republicans spoke about a Constitutional Convention being held this spring and about Teen Day at the Capitol.
We adjourned, had a light brunch, and then a power nap. OK maybe I was the only one who had a power nap, but I saw some people who needed one!
See you on February 5th (Presidential Primary) and March 25th (Caucuses)!