Tapping into the power of miracles

Originally published in in the Deseret News.

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” — Buddha

Shortly after giving birth to my son, an elderly neighbor came to my home to wish me well. She brought a loaf of homemade bread. While looking down at my son she said, “They say miracles never happen, but they happen every day.” I’ve never forgotten her profound observation.

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Lessons learned from Utah’s Olympic moment

Originally published in the Deseret News.

“Not everybody gets the chance to skate the performance of their life.” That was U.S. figure skater Sarah Hughes’ assessment of how she had catapulted from fourth place to Olympic gold on the last night of the figure skating competition in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Her performance mirrored Utah’s achievement in hosting the Olympics. We excelled in nearly every way. With the Rio Olympics in full swing, it’s a great time to reflect on Utah’s Olympic moment and the lessons learned.
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The convention speech Mr. Trump should give

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Columnist note: I count myself in the Never Trump category of Republican voters. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has said Mr. Trump needs to pivot at the convention this week. This speech would be a good start.

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and my fellow citizens … I accept your nomination. Thank you for this profound honor. Together, we will make America great again!
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Drift v. Mastery: Finding a path forward in difficult times

Originally published in Utah Business.

The American intellectual Walter Lippmann warned in 1914 that the United States had entered a period of drift. He recognized rapidly changing forces in society and suggested the country should address tensions by creating more balance. Extremism brings drift, moderation brings mastery. There’s something about his thesis that deserves attention today.

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Count My Vote victories

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Utah’s primary election is a week away, but it’s already time to celebrate. Thanks to the Count My Vote compromise (also referred to as SB54), more candidates appear on the primary election ballot this year. When asked about it, former Gov. Mike Leavitt said, “Better choices mean better government.” I agree. Regardless of the vote tally next week, the increased choices provided by Count My Vote election reforms are a victory for Utah.

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Making the most of life’s messes

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Summer is off to an unsettling start. A series of events have caused us to feel ill-at-ease. The presidential election hasn’t helped. Many find the choices unfathomable. But it’s more. The long security lines at airports remind us people still want to harm us. Our smartphones ping almost weekly with yet another college campus, military base or workplace shooting. And closer to home, we have witnessed unthinkable crimes to a transit worker, a mother in Magna and a beloved community leader and restaurateur.

In times of need I find comfort in great thinkers and writers. I frequently turn to Harry Emerson Fosdick for inspiration. He was a highly acclaimed theologian, pastor and writer who delivered sermons in the mid-20th century. He died in 1969 but left behind brilliant insights for people of all belief systems. In a sermon titled “Making the Best of a Bad Mess” he made observations applicable to today.

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Minimum Wage Debate: Utahns should consider alternative ways to lift families out of poverty

Originally published in Utah Business.

Many times in public policy we share a common goal, but choose a different path. This is the case with the minimum wage debate. Utahns share a sincere interest in helping low-income families secure a more stable future. Some policy makers choose the minimum wage policy path to lift these families out of poverty. Other people, like me, choose a different path. I favor enhanced training opportunities and the earned income tax credit as superior policy interventions.

With California, New York and other jurisdictions pursuing a $15 minimum wage, it’s time to consider the right policy intervention for Utah.

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A plea for a more policy-oriented governor’s race

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I pay a lot of attention to the Utah governor’s race because of the importance of the chief executive to the success of our state. I want to make a plea for a more policy-oriented governor’s race.

My plea is born of experience. Governors matter. They set the direction for the state and lead in times of crisis. In the 2016 election we have three accomplished and talented candidates vying for office. We need to learn more about their policies and vision for the state.

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The soul of our city

Originally published in Utah Business.

I’m a native Salt Laker, so I should know how to describe Utah’s capital city to someone new to our state. Still, when I’m asked by a non-Utahn to describe Salt Lake City, I struggle with the right response. Salt Lake City, for all its stereotypes, is difficult to fit in a box.

The British poet John Betjeman invented a word that captures my feelings about this place. He combined the words topos, which means “place,” with the Greek word philia, which means “love of,” to coin the term topophilia or “love of place.” For me, it’s the combination of love and place that makes me so proud to be a Salt Laker.

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Engagement is the right path for US-Cuba relations

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The "smile" of Havana

The “smile” of Havana

This week, a Carnival cruise ship left Miami, crossed the Florida Straits and docked in Havana, Cuba. Over 700 passengers stepped off the ship into a socialist country that has endured a half century of Cold War hostility. If these visitors are anything like me, they left with a love for the Cuban people and a renewed commitment to strengthen ties with this extraordinary place.

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Writings and Reflections