Category Archives: Deseret News Columns

New Delta flight presents economic growth opportunities for Utah, Western Europe

Originally published in the Deseret News.

This week I am traveling with Gov. Gary Herbert in Western Europe with a delegation of 40 business and community leaders. We are here to promote trade and tourism between Utah and five countries in Europe. The catalyst for the visit is Delta Air Lines’ new nonstop flight from Salt Lake City to Amsterdam. This direct flight provides an opportunity to capitalize on Utah’s economic ties to Western Europe.

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Combating global terror is possible thanks to Little League coaches

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I attended a meeting last week where Congressmen Rob Bishop and Chris Stewart shared their thoughts on the challenges ISIS, rogue states and radical Islam present to the world. It was a discouraging presentation that left everyone in the room feeling ill at ease. After 20 minutes of disturbing banter about terrorist threats, suicide bombers, Iran with nuclear weapons and other horrors, a man raised his hand and asked a poignant question. He said, “I’m just a guy with a business, the father of four children and the coach of my son’s Little League baseball team. What can I do?”

I can think of many responses to the man’s question — such as support the U.S. military or vote for candidates who are educated in foreign policy — but Rob Bishop had the perfect answer. With conviction he said to the man, “Keep coaching Little League baseball.”

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Utah is a model of constructive Republicanism

Originally published in the Deseret News.

As a college student interning in Washington, D.C., I heard a friend offer a view of conservatism and liberalism that still affects me decades later. She said our job as responsible citizens is to conserve ideas that are right and true and liberate ideas that are right and true. This simple concept is a guiding light for me in public policy deliberations. Public policy is informed by ideology, but should not be controlled by it. The best public policy occurs when we draw the best ideas from the left and the right to avoid or solve complex problems. We are fortunate to live in a state that does this quite well.

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Hope is the beginning of a better future for all of us

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I love the month of May. It brings clear skies, green trees, yellow flowers and an assortment of new life. Mother Earth smiles with newfound energy, and most of us feel a sense of renewal. There are new graduates, new brides and new babies. Life resets and everything seems a bit better.

Our optimism is strong — but tempered. We love spring’s new birth but still recognize the difficulty around us: the toll of the Nepal earthquake, race riots casting a dark cloud over a great country that needs to get better and too much partisan bickering standing in the way of real human needs in health care, immigration and poverty.

And then there’s the more personal side of life we sometimes confront and sometimes ignore — the dark clouds of a broken friendship, a distressed marriage, a son or daughter we can’t seem to help or, worst of all, a troubled soul.

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Utah got it right by banning powdered alcohol, while Colorado got it wrong

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Utah and Colorado remind me of siblings. They share some things in common. At other times you can barely see the resemblance. I was reminded of this juxtaposition this week when Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill making powdered alcohol legal in Colorado, while Gov. Gary Herbert just days earlier signed a bill prohibiting the sale or use of it in Utah. Nicknamed “Palcohol,” this powdery substance, when mixed with water, mimics a shot of vodka or rum. It’s a fast way to enjoy alcohol on the go, and in my judgment, a mistake for the people of the Centennial State.

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The best of Utah demonstrated in religious freedom/LGBT compromise

Originally published in the Deseret News.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers —

That perches in the soul —

And sings the tune without words —

And never stops — at all —

Emily Dickinson

This week I joined a large group of interested Utahns who gathered in the Gold Room at the State Capitol as legislators, leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and representatives of the LGBT community gathered to announce landmark legislation that balances religious freedoms and protections against discrimination of LGBT people in the workplace and housing. It was a monumental moment of civility, compassion, freedom and fairness that elevates Utah to a better place. This compromise represents the best of Utah, and I want to publicly thank the leaders of our state.

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A bright future for Utah women

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Experience is often the best teacher, and the last few weeks were filled with important lessons about life, women and society. I invite you to reflect with me.

In early January, I attended former House Speaker Becky Lockhart’s memorial service at the state Capitol. In what I can only describe as patriotic grace, our state honored this much-loved public servant in the perfect way. Ask anyone who attended the service and they will confirm it was a deeply moving event. The Lockhart family, legislators, legislative staff and ecclesiastical leaders made clear in their remarks that a woman can have a beautiful family and be a leader in the community. I only wish we didn’t have to witness the tragedy of her death to have such a poignant reminder.

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My holiday wish — not overindulgence or expectations, but connections and relationships

Originally published in the National Edition of the Deseret News.

I recently attended a Catholic Community Services’ dinner where Bishop John C. Wester reminded the audience of a simple truth. He said, “When we give, we enter into a relationship with someone.” For me it was a beautiful reminder of what the holiday season ought to be. The holidays are about people, not things.

Unfortunately, for far too many of us, the holidays have become a volume sport of shopping and overindulgence. We constantly seek more at the expense of what is best. Often this is a choice between things and people.

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My open letter to Mia Love — Be something different

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I spoke with a friend who was in the room when Mia Love learned she had been elected to the U.S. Congress. I’m told her reaction was heartfelt and moving. History had just been made. She became the first black Republican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. What’s more, she’s from Utah and a Mormon. Congresswoman-elect Love will attract a lot of attention in the months ahead. The spotlight will be bright and the margins of error slim. This open letter expresses my best thinking on how to make the most of this historic political moment.

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