Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blood In The Water: Politically-Wounded West Jordan Senator Chris Buttars Attracts Seven Opponents In Utah Legislative Race

On March 17th, 2008, the Deseret Morning News reported on the last-minute efforts of candidates to get their paperwork turned in before the end of the filing period, which closed on March 17th. The Deseret News story focused on the major races and the primary candidates.

One of the bigger surprises was the decision by Republican Senate Majority Whip Dan Eastman not to seek re-election to the District 23 Senate seat, encompassing North Salt Lake and southern Davis County. And once he announced his standdown, the dam broke - 10 challengers jumped in, more than any other legislative race in the state.

A complete list of candidates can be found HERE.

However, in this post, I've decided to focus on Senate District 10 - and Voice Of Deseret's favorite state senator, Chris Buttars. Buttars is still politically wounded from his "black baby" remark as well as from a coercive letter sent to a judge in Mapleton, the latter which was more serious. And seven sharks are in the water, swimming towards him.

Here's the complete list of District 10 candidates. Those with highlighted names have official campaign websites - click on the name to view the website:

(1). INCUMBENT - Chris Buttars (Republican), West Jordan
(2). Gary Armstrong (Republican), West Jordan
(3). Trevor Darby (Republican), South Jordan
(4). Kathy Hilton (Republican), West Jordan
(5). Wendy Smith-DeRusha (Republican), South Jordan
(6). John Rendell (Democrat), West Jordan
(7). Randy Lee Browning (Constitution), South Jordan
(8). Steve Maxfield (Constitution), Herriman

Update: On March 29th, 2008 at the Salt Lake County Constitution Party convention, Steve Maxfield was chosen over Randy Lee Browning to be the Constitution Party candidate in the District 10 race.

Gary Armstrong's issues of interest include quality education, fiscal responsibility, minimal government, less regulation for private industry, and the promotion of greater personal responsibility and accountability. Additionally, Armstrong describes himself as pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and pro-traditional marriage. He also supports the proposed Mountain View Corridor, but, alarmingly, he's willing to support tolling it. This must be fought; if I lived in District 10, this alone would cause me to reject Armstrong as a candidate. I did not grow up in the East, where roads are tolled; consequently, I'm accustomed to free roads, and I see no reason why we should change. Bear in mind that once a road is tolled, it NEVER becomes untolled. One prospective alternative for tolling the Mountain View Corridor is discussed HERE

Update: On March 21st, Gary Armstrong left a comment to clarify his position on toll roads. He wants to make it clear that he is merely open to the idea, and that he is not necessarily a personal proponent. He is open to other suggestions. Armstrong also questions the use of the phrase "economic treason". This phrase is merely intended to vividly convey the sense of outrage that I, and many other citizens, feel when the tolling rights to our roads are sold to foreigners. Our roads aren't mere commodities; they're part of our nation's patrimony. It is not intended to suggest that anyone favoring this alternative is actually a traitor to the country.

And tolling roads has led to other abuses. In some states, toll operators not only charge you for using the roads, but will measure the amount of time you spent traveling the road, and if your journey didn't "take long enough", they will assume you were speeding, and add a surcharge. In addition, many jurisdictions have contracted toll collections to FOREIGN companies, another way to allow foreigners to suck America dry. If Armstrong would be willing to allow foreign companies to collect tolls, then that's economic treason as far as I'm concerned. District 10 residents must question Armstrong closely on this issue.

Trevor Darby identifies three issues of interest. Under "Families First", he supports the traditional family, but rejects the legislation of morality. Unfortunately, sometimes one must legislate a bit of "morality" to protect the traditional family. Second, Darby supports quality education (who doesn't???), to include adequate funding. Finally, transportation is another of his major interests. Not only does Darby support the Mountain View Corridor, but also will seek to improve West-East trafficability. He does not specify whether or not he supports tolling. Obviously, Darby's campaign is still evolving and we can expect to see him flesh out his platform considerably as time passes.

Randy Lee Browning is a perennial candidate making his fourth try for elective office. He supports smaller government, limited taxes, freedom to practice your religious belief, private gun ownership, freedom of choice in the education of your children, and the rights of the unborn. He also supports reduced legislative initiatives, increased public comment and hearings on sensitive and confrontational legislation, and full disclosure of ALL legislation.

The Democrat, John Rendell, has no website yet, but is the vice-president of software development for Pehr Technologies, a physician staffing firm.

While the three candidates who've published their platforms have commendable ideas, I don't see enough yet to trade away Chris Buttars' seniority. Buttars has shown that one can ignore the NAACP and survive; the NAACP is washed up and has become irrelevant. It will be interesting to see what the other candidates bring forth. I'd say Gary Armstrong is the strongest of the challengers at this point.


Gary Armstrong said...

Thanks for reviewing my position on the issues important to the 10th District. I'm not sure you have accurately represented my view on toll roads however. I note that I have seen toll roads work, but that I am not sure if they are the right fit in Utah. I strongly recommend that we take a vote of the people before we go there - let the voters decide if they support that approach. And then to suggest I support the idea that a foreign company would be retained to collect and manage the tolls, I think "economic treason" was your term - no such leap in logic has been attempted since Evil Knievel tried jumping the Snake River. :-)

Nice blog site though, and thank you for reviewing my site. I am still waiting for the other candidates to "put it out there" so the delegates/voters can learn more in how they want to cast their ballots.


Deseret Dawg said...

Thanks for your response, Gary. Upon reviewing your site again, I can see that you are not the cheerleader for toll roads that I believed you were, and I will update my post accordingly.

The phrase "economic treason" was primarily intended to grab attention, and obviously it did. However, it was also designed to communicate to you as a candidate that there are people who are outraged over the idea of tolling rights being awarded to foreigners, because it is viewed as "selling our patrimony". Don't be surprised if prospective constituents you encounter on the campaign trail feel just as strongly as I do. They are the type of people who most likely to be supporting Joe Ferguson in the Third District Congressional race.

Gary Armstrong said...

Good dialogue. Thanks for the notation. One of the risks a candidate runs is one of criticism, which I guess is why none of the other candidates have put out any of their views. I am not that kind of candidate though. I WANT people to know what I think, and I WANT people to feel free to question it, so we can have a discussion together. I am still waiting for any of the other candidates to give the voters anything to actually consider as they decide who will get thier vote.