Category Archives: Deseret News Columns

Give up your Twitter account Mr President

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I follow Twitter feeds nearly every day. It’s a great way to learn what opinion leaders have on their minds, keep abreast of politics, follow sports commentary and keep tabs on hundreds of other people and issues of interest. Twitter is the best way I know to get instantaneous and succinct information from a wide variety of people on a wide variety of topics.

While tweeting definitely has its place in our digital lives, I find President Donald Trump’s Twitter behavior completely unacceptable. It’s not his use of Twitter that is problematic. It’s the content of his tweets.

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Goodbyes are hard, but they are also meaningful

Originally published in the Deseret News.

For many Utah families, July and August are filled with goodbyes. Sons and daughters leave for school and military academies, LDS missionaries depart on missions and job seekers start fresh opportunities in new towns. In every case, a great thing is happening, but so is a goodbye.

I’m not very good at goodbyes. When I dropped my daughter off for college in Arizona, I had wet eyes and a pit in my stomach the entire 11-hour drive home. I spent so much time getting her ready for college, I forgot to get ready myself.

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Our fight against violent crime begins at home

Originally published in the Deseret News.

It’s been a violent summer in our community and country. A disturbed man gunned down a mother, her sons and another child as they returned home from school. A drunken fight turned into a murder in Murray. A drug bust in the basement of a Cottonwood Heights home revealed garbage bags full of cash and hundreds of thousands of fake opioid pills. Road rage incidents seem to be a weekly occurrence. And now members of Congress can’t even practice baseball without being targeted with a gun.

Violence, and the illegal drug use that often fuels it, is becoming all too common. We are left wondering, “What is going on?”

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How to find happiness this summer

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Summer begins this month, and I find it a good time to recharge my spirit and think about how to approach life. A summer reset helps me refocus my energies, recalibrate my expectations and recommit to a happy life.

My mother gave me the gift of optimism. She used to always say, “Land, life is so short I could hang by my fingernails if I had to.” She lived until she was 93 years of age and sang, danced and quoted poetry almost until the end.

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What to expect when your not expecting

Originally published in the Deseret News.

In a very real way, June means weddings. The end of school and great weather motivate young couples to tie the knot and schedule summer weddings.

Back in the old days, summer weddings meant an uptick in births 10 months later. This is less true today. Utah’s fertility rate is at a historic low, and state demographers are asking, “What to expect when no one’s expecting?”

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This is Jazz Country

Originally published in the Deseret News.

My husband and I were listening to a sports radio station Sunday night shortly after the Utah Jazz soundly defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 of the NBA playoffs. We were laughing out loud because of the crazy enthusiasm expressed by a fan who had called the station. It made us smile knowing that we were not alone in our passion for the Utah Jazz.

Utah is Jazz Country. We love our team. They give to us; we give to them. It’s like a really good marriage. We love being together and we work through the good times and the hard times. Now is a good time.

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Tear down walls to make a better Utah

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Jack Gallivan, the former publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune, once challenged community leaders with this statement:

“Our task is to make all of Utah as beautiful in man-made additions as it is in God-given wonders; beautiful in the maintenance of the good life; beautiful in social equality and justice; beautiful in the brotherhood of mankind.”

We live in a great place that can become even greater. Greatness starts by tearing down the invisible walls that separate our community and contribute to inequality, unequal opportunity and human hardship.

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Health care reformed needs the votes of both Republicans and Democrats

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.” — Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan in 1983. Hoffer — the son of immigrant parents and a man who worked as a migrant farm worker and a longshoreman — received our nation’s highest civilian honor because of his insightful analysis about human affairs. Lacking a formal education, he studied history through reading and observation. One of his most important insights concerned the human tendency towards extremism. I thought of Hoffer last week as the American Health Care Act, otherwise known as “repeal and replace,” went down in flames.

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Restore the sales tax on food and implement an earned income tax credit

Originally published in the Deseret News.

A lot has been written on these pages about the problems with Utah increasing the sales tax on food. I would like to offer a different perspective. I think there are far better ways to help low-income Utahns. Legislators would be wise to tax unprepared food at the same rate as other commodities and find a much more tailored way to help Utahns in need.

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Invest in rural Utah to help with public land disagreements

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I revere the people of rural Utah. Eighteen years of public service in the Utah governor’s office afforded me many opportunities to travel to rural communities, meet the hardworking people, and appreciate the important economic and cultural contributions they make to the Beehive State.

I also love outdoor recreation. I’ve backpacked in the canyons of the Escalante, camped in the San Rafael Swell, and experienced the whitewater in Cataract Canyon. I view a large portion of the Colorado Plateau as sacred land that needs protection.

I share this background because the rancor between Utah’s outdoor products industry and many of Utah’s elected leaders troubles me. Amid the talk of boycotts and lawsuits, I think an important element is missing from the conversation. In addition to preservation of Utah’s precious wild lands, we need to talk about the economic reality facing rural Utah.

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