Sunday, June 22, 2008

Give Up Your Rights or Vote on June 24th - You Decide!

When it comes to our rights in America there is nothing like the power of voting to make your voice heard. Sure, we have free speech, the right to bare arms, etc. but the real power is given when WE say who should have the power. When you choose not to vote, to sit by and see how things work out, to let others decide for you by thinking that your one vote won't make the difference - that's when you've given up one of your greatest American rights. The right to vote! Even today there are people dying for the right to determine their own destiny. Our own military sons and daughters are fighting to bring our brand of democracy to others. How can we sit home and not vote?

It's with this thought in mind that I remind everyone that we have the opportunity to vote on Tuesday, June 24th. Depending on where you live there may be different ballot items. Depending on your party affiliation there may be races that you will or will not be able to weigh in on. But whatever the case may be, I urge you to get out and vote. Your vote could make the difference between somebody in power who believes in doing the best thing for education vs. somebody in power who is easily swayed, makes decisions for personal gain, political acceptance or party popularity.

State Treasurer

There are a couple of races that are of particular importance in my mind. One is a race that I've already talked about, but that I'd like to reiterate - that is the Republican primary race for State Treasurer - Richard Ellis vs Mark Walker. Only registered Republicans can weigh in on this race.
If you're registered as "unaffiliated" this might be a reason (at least temporarily) to register Republican so that you can help decide this race. If you're a registered Democrat, you can't vote, but you can send this post to your Republican friends in hopes that they will make an informed decision. When it comes down to it this isn't really a fair race at all, because Richard Ellis is so much better qualified to fill the position! Let's take another quick look at the qualifications and also a few things that disqualify Mark Walker.

Richard Ellis:

  • 22 years of public treasury experience (8 years as Deputy Treasurer)
  • Experience as Governor Walker and Governor Huntsman's Budget Director (3 years)
  • Finance Degree, MBA
  • Endorsement of current State Treasurer of 28 years, Edward T. Alter
Mark Walker:
  • ZERO experience (no on-the-job experience or training. Don't let the Zion's Bank "credentials" fool you, he holds a sales position. Ellis clarifies this further on his blog and shows how little Walker knows about the job based on what Walker has put up on his website and what he has been mailing everyone. You'll have to read it to believe it, it's quite embarrassing for Walker.)
  • ZERO education in the field (no Finance Degree, no MBA - he has a BS in Political Science)
  • Endorsements of politically motivated bureaucrats
I'll try to hold my tongue when it comes to his record as a legislator. He has the worst legislative committee attendance record and hasn't passed a single bill as a legislator. I didn't include that in the list above because I'm trying my best not to make this an attack. Attacks are hardly necessary when the experience alone is so overwhelming in favor of Richard Ellis. I'm baffled by the likes of Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and others in Republican leadership who say that Mark Walker is the man for the job. He'll make a good party puppet, perhaps?

I'd love to see a debate between Walker and Ellis. Rod Decker of KUTV invited both men to his live "Take Two" program on Sunday at 10 a.m. Ellis accepted and Walker said he will be at church. I'm not one to mock a man's religious conviction, but somehow I doubt that's the real reason he doesn't want to be in a debate with Ellis. Walker is relying on the endorsements to pull him through, and the scary thing is that it might just work...if people don't make an informed vote on Tuesday!!

What's at stake if Walker wins the election? A $1 billion Permanent School Fund, $25 billion of taxpayer money held in the Public Treasurer Investment fund on behalf of the state, counties, cities, school districts, etc., and a AAA bond rating that is very difficult to get in the first place.

Jordan School District Boards of Education

Another decision that will be important, especially when it comes to the future of some of our children, is the Jordan School Districts Board races. The Jordan School District split has been controversial in and of itself, but now you need to decide who is going to be in positions of power and who will look out for the best interests of your children. Again, due to predicted low voter turnout this race could be won by just a handful of people, so it's extremely important that you must do your homework and go vote!

Some last minute insight into the Jordan East school board race to consider is in Precinct 3. Sixteen candidates have thrown their hat into the ring! There are many that would do a great job. However, therein lies the problem. With so many qualified candidates it would be easy for the vote to be split and a less competent candidate could come out the winner. I've already mentioned the possibility of "party puppets". What are the chances that Teresa Curtis (Speaker Greg Curtis' wife) becomes one of those if elected? This isn't a primary race. This is it. It's extremely important that you know everything about the person you vote for, especially their intentions and abilities in determining the future of the district split. There is talk about postponing the split through a special session in the legislature. With ongoing talks about dividing up assets between east and west, this will be no position for puppets. You'll need people in place able to make tough decisions based on the best interests of the children, and of the employees, if both districts are to be successful!

Vote, vote, vote! You can see how important it is that you do so! I've highlighted just a couple of GREAT reasons. Feel free to add your own opinion by making a comment. Be quick about it, you only have a day or two before June 24th has come and gone and we'll have to live with the decisions that have been made. For better or for worse. Let's all hope for better!


Davis Didjeridu said...

I don't believe I give up any rights when I don't vote in a corrupt primary for one of two corrupt Republicans, especially when I will proudly vote for honorable, competent, and intelligent Democrats in November. School boards elections aside, I hope people realize this year that there is no such this as the better Republican. Whether it's the treasurer's race, the couple of legislative seats, or 3rd Congressional district, no one can look at the candidates and proudly vote for one or the other. I will vote on Tuesday for school board, but I will not begin to buy into the delusion that one Republican is better than the other because once you do, you begin to discount the possibility that the Democrat is better, which this year, all of them clearly are.

Mike Simmons said...

Ellis is a total tool. The treasurer race is about leadership. If Ellis is so good at his job (bond ratings, financial wizardry, etc.) let him keep his job as a staffer. The treasurer should be a charismatic leader who can "sell" Utah's story to lawmakers and bond raters. Sales experience at a Bank could be no better!