The “Clean Air, No Excuses” rally (great nod to the whole team who put the rally together) on Saturday was exhilarating. A clean Air Voting scorecard came up with a numerical and letter grade for every Utah legislator. The GOP just loves grading–just ask our teachers. For clean air, there were 12 A’s. There were 27 F’s. The Clean Air folks wanted me to read the names of the F’s to the thousands at the rally. Right. In a clear political, gutless, pander to some of my low scoring good friends in the Senate for the next 45 days, I negotiated to read the 12 A’s not the 27 F’s. Biggest surprise on the Senate scorecard, Senator Evan Vickers the pharmacist from Cedar City, who is truly one of the classiest guys I know, got a 100% score and an A. Of course rest of the Senate A’s were Democrats. DD (Dabakis Diary) gathered together a group of some of the clever protest signs.
If you would like to see more pictures,
click here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8uq8l9dp14syys8/QzEObA8jHQ
Utah Senator and fabulous candidate for 2nd District US Congress Luz Robles was shocked when her long-time boyfriend, Arizona Representative Juan Carlos Escamilla, was surprisingly granted a few moments of Senate floor time and he used the opportunity to pop the question. I released the following:
“Our heartfelt congratulations go out to Senator Luz Robles and her new fiancé, Arizona Representative Juan Carlos Escamilla, who we trust will be moving to Utah. I am trying to work out a trade where we ship a couple of GOP Utah representatives to Arizona in exchange for Rep. Escamilla. Negotiations are ongoing.”
Maybe the Governor and I are back on track after a patch of tough sledding last session. Although, I was sorely disappointed when he did not select me to serve as Lieutenant Governor when the vacancy came. We spent 45 minutes together last week. Brandie Balkin was there. It was a productive chat. Despite a little grumbling from a few Dems, I am there 100% to support Gov Herbert on his gutsy decision on not rejecting Medicaid Expansion. The easy tact would have been to just say NO, NO, NO. Lots of red state GOP Governors have done just that. Good politics. Terrible, heartless policy but it keeps the red meat rank-and-file satiated for a while. Don’t know where we are going with Expansion but with Gov Herbert’s decision, a lifeline of healthcare for 123,000 Utahns is still on the table.
Wow! It was a pretty tame opening day on the Senate side, but on the House side sparks were flying at the opening as Speaker Lockhart went after Governor Herbert. In a world where passive-aggressive is king, we haven’t seen a direct assault that out-front since… Jon Huntsman endorsed John McCain over Mitt. Speaking of the Speaker, congratulations to Speaker Lockhart. In addition to a few duties over the next 45 days, her beautiful, enthusiastic daughter Emily married Max Britton on Friday. Emily met her new husband as they were both interns in the legislature! Had a chat with the Speaker in her office last week. She was all wrapped up in a shawl, fighting off that dreadful flu. Hope it all went away before the blessed event. Presumably the state of Utah will have no objections to Max and Emily’s marriage. LOL.
Senator Margaret Dayton, represents Provo and is conservative very, very, very conservative. Did I say very? But truth be told (and at some risk to her political future), I like Margaret. The Senator is completely upfront. She is a believer. I am a believer. We just believe in different things. I can respect that, we are both representing our constituents with passion. When we disagree, there is always respect, civility, and a dose of good humor. There are times we find common ground. I reckon that Senator Dayton and I will find at least one bill (like we did last session) where the two of us are the only NO votes!