‘Survivor’, the Kardashians and royal pains
If you know more about these things than you know about the candidates up for election this year, it’s time to get your ass in gear.
The election is around the corner and this one is very important. I’m not going to kid you and make you think your vote for President Barack Obama means anything. We live in Utah, and Mittens is going to get our six electoral votes. However, the real races this year are the local ones.
There are a number of races that matter to this community and to this state as a whole. First and foremost, believe it or not, is the race for Utah State Auditor. Yeah, sexy one there, right? Well, before you dismiss it, you need to take a hard look. On one side is John Dougall, a current Republican state legislator and American Legislative Exchange Council member. On the other is Mark Sage, a board member of the Fair Boundaries Initiative and longtime supporter of fair and transparent government.
Dougall was a sponsor of HB477 – that lovely bit of legislation that destroyed the public’s access to government records. He is also part of the Republican caucus that meets behind closed doors to redraw district maps, discuss legislative ethics and basically set policy in this state.
Sage worked on the Fair Boundaries Initiative, a nonpartisan movement that sought to draw our electoral maps mathematically, without partisan involvement. He supported another nonpartisan effort, the Utahns for Ethical Government, a call for a nonpartisan public commission to review allegations of misconduct against elected officials. He spent a career in public service, managing large government contracts and auditing performance to ensure the work was done before the contractors were paid. Mark handled tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars with accountability and integrity.
The role of State Auditor is to audit the financials and the performance of government agencies and ensure they are compliant with state law and regulation. By definition, this job requires an independent and ethical person. Sage has demonstrated his commitment to the people of Utah on a number of occasions; Dougall has demonstrated his commitment to politics as usual and keeping the public in the dark. The choice is clear.
The second race is more high profile. This race is for Salt Lake County Mayor, between Ben McAdams and Mark Crockett. McAdams, as a Utah State Senator and employee of Salt Lake City, has been unequivocal in his support for equality. He helped to draft and secure the passage of Salt Lake City’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This ordinance was not only the model for a dozen or so similar measures passed by other municipalities, but also the impetus behind them. Utah’s LGBT community has no greater political ally than Ben McAdams.
If that isn’t enough, there are a bunch of state legislative races out there that demand attention. Candidates like Josie Valdez, Liz Muniz, Jeff Bell, John Rendell, Elias McGraw, Mark Wheatley, Marie Poulson, Jen Seelig, Luz Robles, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, and others are putting it all on the line to serve their communities. The least you can do is go vote.
The saddest bit of electoral trivia is that there are more people out there who are rational, open-minded and committed to the betterment of our communities than there are reactionary conservatives. If we actually decide to come together and vote for change, with all eligible voters casting ballots, our government would be a completely different animal.
This is the year, people. It is time for each and every one of you to stand up and be counted. Don’t let people make decisions in your name that work against your best interests. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Step up and vote.