Do more than vote
The legislature is winding down for the year and after tough decisions particularly with respect to budget items they have done an admirable job. This year is the second year of our two-year election cycle meaning that all representatives in the state legislature and in the national congress plus approximately a third of our senators are running for reelection.
A little more than eight years ago I had made a commitment to myself to get more involved politically. Not knowing what was going to happen I showed up at the "neighborhood caucus meeting". Much to my surprise I was the only person from my voting precinct. One of the fellows from work was there, Joe G. He was more experienced with what was going on and said to be sure and run/vote myself to be a state delegate. Not knowing what I was doing, I voted myself precinct chair, county delegate, and state delegate all three. Woody was chairing the meeting and concluded with the statement, "There are a lot of good horses in these races and as state delegates it is up to you to get to know them and vote for them."
That meeting was on a Tuesday night and the next morning getting off graveyard and stopping at my favorite coffee watering hole in Huntington, who should I see but a former fellow coal mine mechanic from 15 years previous, Jim G. He hurried over and accosted me with, "Darter what the heck are you doing being listed as a Republican state delegate... and you being a good union miner..." I explained my position and then he said, "Good, I'll be over at your house this afternoon with a candidate to meet you."
Later that afternoon Jim showed up with Tim Bridgewater, who was running against Jim Matheson for our congressional representative.
Over the years and now many state conventions later I have a more refined view of how our state and national politics actually work. The problems in Washington are serious. I'm hearing things like, "throw the bums out" and now "buyers' remors," 50 percent approve and 50 percent strongly disapprove, the health care proposal is a dog and the current edition is just warmed over dog.
Where the action begins is at your neighborhood caucus. As Hank Savage aptly stated, "Get 12 of your friends and neighbors that will vote for you and go to the caucus meeting and get yourself elected state delegate."
Currently, there are three candidates running for the Republican nomination to challenge Jim Matheson. There are three candidates challenging Bob Bennett for his reelection. The state delegates are the people that will vote and decide who actually will be in a primary or who will be in the general election, the first Tuesday in November
The candidates will want to meet and great the state delegates and their opinions count now. Local, state and national opinion polls call and as a state delegate you are asked your opinion about each candidate and whatever is currently in question. As a delegate you get a chance to meet and rub shoulders with personalities you only hear about in the news.
I was at the new hamburger joint in American Fork a few weeks back wearing a new Governor Herbert cap when a stranger asked if I had met the governor I replied I had just shook hands with him 10 minutes previously.
The neighborhood caucus meetings are going to be held on March 23; mark your calendars and plan to attend.
Remember if all you do is vote in November, shame on you.