Photo from Dan Liljenquist
There is a general agreement that our government needs a course correction but there are a variety of visions about what changes need to be made and who is best suited to make those changes. Our senate race in Utah is a race between a vision of changing direction or keeping our current seniority and its attendant benefits. This is where we need to consider what is truly best for the country. The value of seniority is that it lends increased status and bargaining power to dole out favors to other lawmakers in exchange for votes on key legislation or to dole out favors to constituents regardless of whether those favors are a good idea for more than those getting the handout. This is precisely what is wrong with Washington. The compromise that comes with votes traded for favors is what brings us $16 Trillion of debt. This comes because of omnibus bills where favors have been traded so that these massive bills contain pet clauses either funding projects or carving out exceptions in revenue streams for favored groups. There is a better approach to compromise.
Rather than doling out favors and producing massive bills stuffed with perks that curry specific votes but are not generally desirable it is possible to compromise by removing provisions that do not garner sufficient support and producing smaller, more limited bills that accomplish less, cost much less, and only encompasses those aims which have been agreed upon by the legislators.
Dan Liljenquist is running for US Senate in Utah. He likes to say that “reality is not negotiable” and yet, while tackling some of the most challenging problems our state faced, he was able to secure almost unanimous (and in many cases completely unanimous) support for his important bills. Dan knows how to work with people and secure support on both sides of the aisle without doling out favors to other legislators.
I have had the opportunity as a constituent of Dan’s to sit in town hall meetings as Dan has patiently addressed the concerns of citizens related to the reforms he was proposing to save the state from fiscal ruin. I have seen Dan patiently address the concerns expressed about his reforms without talking down to people or resorting to demagoguery on the issues.
This stands in stark contrast to Orrin Hatch who has a penchant for trying to fund pet projects as well as talking down to people.
Dan is the man we need in Washington, D.C right now. We would be better off as a state and as a nation if we sent Orrin out to focus on his music career.