Category Archives: Deseret News Columns

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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Utah state budget – ‘the rest of the story’

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Paul Harvey used to end many of his radio broadcasts with the tag line “and now you know the rest of the story.” It was a signal to listeners that every story has a story behind the story and only when you probe a little deeper do you capture the whole truth.

The same thing is occurring right now with the Utah state budget. There is a well-deserved but incomplete story about surpluses backed by a strong economy … and then there is the story behind the story. Utah lawmakers keep robbing Peter to pay Paul. Ultimately something will break.

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Elevating the stature of a woman’s voice

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I was honored to be on a panel this week hosted by the Community Foundation of Utah to discuss the engagement of women in the political process. It is a timely topic because we have three outstanding women seeking congressional office on the ballot this November — Mia Love in the 4th Congressional District, Donna McAleer in the 1st Congressional District and Luz Robles in the 2nd Congressional District. Utah has an opportunity this year to truly elevate the stature of a woman’s voice in the public square. I hope Utahns can take a giant leap forward.

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Involve Utahns in National Monument Declarations

Originally published in the Deseret News.

We learned yesterday that 14 senators support the creation of a new national monument in southeastern Utah. They sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting he use the power granted to him under the Antiquities Act to declare greater Canyonlands a national monument and expand protection from 337 thousand acres to 1.8 million acres, a more than fivefold increase. Earlier this year the president foreshadowed such an action when he said in his State of the Union address, “I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.”

News of another national monument by presidential fiat should send shivers down Utahns’ spines. And it’s not because these lands aren’t worthy of protection. They are. It’s because people, particularly those closest to these lands, deserve a voice in the process. Without meaningful dialogue, presidents often make choices without full information and through the single lens of political gain. Even worse, they contribute to the public land wars that divide this state and stand in the way of true protection.

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Gail Miller would make a great governor

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Gov. Gary Herbert made big political news recently when he told a group of high-placed donors his intention to run in 2016. A source who attended the breakfast at The New Yorker quoted Herbert as saying, “I just want to be very clear. I’m running. I’m announcing that today.” While the governor’s spokesperson later said the governor is keeping all options open, the message sent by the governor was clear — beware potential challengers.

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Good choices allow Utahns to enjoy economic success

Originally published in the Deseret News.

You wouldn’t call somebody who just won the lottery “prosperous.” They may be rich and they are certainly lucky, but they are not prosperous. Prosperity has to be earned.

On Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert hosted his annual Utah Economic Summit. Unlike his first year in office when unemployment hovered around 8 percent, Utah’s unemployment rate now stands below 4 percent, a level many economists would call near-full employment.

The Utah economy created 32,200 jobs during the past 12 months and nearly every major industry is growing. Utah’s level of income equality is among the highest in the nation. The governor’s vision of having the state become one of the strongest economies in the nation and a global business destination has largely been met. It may just be time for the governor to claim victory and set an even higher bar.

I made up a new word that characterizes what’s happening in Utah: I like to think of Utahns as Prospertarians. Taken from the root word prosperity, Prospertarians are people who experience remarkable economic success because of the choices they make.

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