Category Archives: Deseret News Columns

What to expect as the McAdams bus heads to Washington, D.C.

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I remember the first time I heard about a guy named Ben McAdams. I was employed by the Salt Lake Chamber and working closely with Mayor-elect Ralph Becker on his transition team. The mayor-elect told me of his intent to bring on a sharp young attorney to oversee government relations for his administration. The new senior staffer was a Columbia law graduate who was leaving a lucrative position at a corporate law firm to enlist in public service. I took note and looked forward to meeting him.

In the years since, I’ve taken note many more times as McAdams has achieved significant public policy and political success in the Beehive State. As a senior staffer with Salt Lake City, he helped downtown Salt Lake City reinvent itself, as a legislator he fought for and achieved bipartisan victories on issues such as high-quality pre-kindergarten, and as a county mayor he helped create homeless resource centers and a plan for a convention-headquarters hotel. These are just a few of his noteworthy accomplishments in public service.

Continue reading What to expect as the McAdams bus heads to Washington, D.C.

Invest in people and support Question 1

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The same thought runs through my mind every time I see a homeless person in downtown Salt Lake City, on a street corner or at the side of a freeway exit. This person was once a child just like my son or daughter. He or she had their life and all their hopes and dreams ahead of them. Somewhere along the way, something went terribly wrong. Through a complicated mix of bad luck, family breakdown, mental illness, substance abuse, incorrect choices and public policies, this once innocent and beautiful child is left with a shopping cart, a tarp, a cardboard sign and visible despair.

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Lessons learned from Utah’s mighty five college presidents

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I spent last week in Washington, D.C., and witnessed the dumpster fire that is the Supreme Court confirmation process. As a U.S. citizen, Utahn and woman, I welcomed the chance to return to the Beehive State where civility still means something, and reasonable people can disagree, while still building a great community together.

My enthusiasm deepened this week as I had the opportunity to moderate a panel of Utah’s new mighty five — the female college presidents in Utah. Their leadership inspires me and stands in stark contrast to the venomous and divisive leadership we see in our nation’s capital. I think we can learn a lot from Utah’s remarkable female college presidents.

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Trump’s economy is on a sugar high

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Donald Trump’s style and tone, but his policies are getting the job done. After all, look at how well the economy is doing.” They go on to elaborate on the U.S. economy’s impressive performance as proof positive that it’s OK to turn a blind eye to the problems with the current administration, such as the fanning of trade wars, reckless diplomacy with Russia and North Korea and the divisiveness of each new presidential tweet.

There’s a term for this in politics. It’s called “political expediency.” It means making a political choice based on short-term benefits, even if long-term outcomes may be at risk. Purveyors of political expedience take the gamble. Continue reading Trump’s economy is on a sugar high

Look for candidates who possess policy humility

Originally published in the Deseret News.

As fall approaches, you can feel election season right around the corner. Mailboxes fill with political mailers, yard signs multiply, candidates knock on doors and news stories intensify. In the approximately 12 weeks until Election Day, I encourage voters to listen to and watch the behavior of candidates. Look for words and actions that reflect something I call policy humility. If she or he has it, consider voting for that candidate. We need more humble wisdom and less contention in the public square.

Continue reading Look for candidates who possess policy humility

Facebook may have 2 billion users, but is that really a community

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Several years ago, I heard a social scientist describe a new organizing framework for our world. Instead of an orientation built around national, state and local relationships, the commentator said our lives are increasingly being organized along global, regional and community lines. I find this reframing useful but worry the framing may not be quite right at the community level. I fear we face a declining, not an increasing, sense of community in our lives.

Continue reading Facebook may have 2 billion users, but is that really a community

Saratoga Springs – The belly button of Utah

Originally published in the Deseret News.

This week, the CEO of a large company headquartered in downtown Salt Lake City described the need to offer services and invest in infrastructure in Utah County. As he made his point, he looked across the table at me and asked if there was a single measure that captured the shift of Utah’s population southward.

Well, actually there is. It’s a concept known as the mean center of population. The Census Bureau defines it as the point where an imaginary, weightless, rigid and flat surface would balance if every person weighed the same. Think of it as the population center of Utah.

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Utah’s growth demands cooperation, not sabotage

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The poet E. E. Cummings wrote, “More, and more, and still more … are we all morticians?”

This quote reminds me of the seemingly limitless growth occurring in Utah right now. We have more people, more jobs and more opportunity. We also have more congestion, more pollution and more need for water. For growth to be good, it must be guided by great leaders who represent our shared values. We must turn the “more of anything” into “more of the right thing.” Quality growth should be our north star.

Continue reading Utah’s growth demands cooperation, not sabotage

Time for the northern Utah economy to come alive

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The Utah economy continues to impress. Utah job growth registers an impressive 3.5 percent, the fastest job growth in the country and nearly twice the national average of 1.6 percent. Utah’s job growth, combined with low unemployment, rising wages and net in-migration, makes for the hottest economy in the nation right now.

I’m always tracking the story behind the story and, of course, there are many behind-the-scene narratives about the Utah economy.

Continue reading Time for the northern Utah economy to come alive