The recent encounter between incumbent Utah District 16 Senator Curt Bramble and a hard-working pizza delivery driver named Anna Eagar has triggered a firestorm of fury against the senator in Utah and on the blogosphere. On this post of her CartoonBrickWall blog, she related Bramble's abusive behavior when he was told that Nicolitialia's Restaurant in Provo did not accept personal checks. And the comments appended to that post, as well as other accounts of bullying by Senator Bramble, indicate that this is recurring rather than atypical behavior. Other examples of abusive behavior by Curt Bramble are posted on Scott Jarvie's blog and MormonMentality.
Of course, the Utah media is giving Bramble a free pass. The same media that dumped all over District 10 Senator Chris Buttars for his snarky "black baby" remark is falling all over itself making excuses for Bramble's behavior. They say "Bramble's focused", or "Bramble's driven", and other such drivel. And his hometown paper, the Provo Daily Herald, which is otherwise an excellent news organization, is completely embargoing the story. Perhaps Bramble thinks he's invulnerable.
Well, guess what? Chris Cannon though he was invulnerable, too. Then along came Jason Chaffetz. So long, Cannon; see ya in Mapleton. And if we can take down Chris Cannon, we can surely take down Curt Bramble as well if he persists in this behavior. But to do this, we must turn to the Democratic Party, for it is they who are supplying the opposition.
And the opponent is RaDene Hatfield (pictured above left). Many Utahns are biased against the Democrats because of the example set by the "Bush-lied-thousands-died" lunatic Rocky Anderson, who was more interested in grandstanding at antiwar rallies than he was at tending to his duties as Mayor of Salt Lake City. However, those who take the time to examine the platforms of other Utah Democrats will find that Rocky is NOT representative of Utah Democrats; most Utah Democrats are actually responsible and moderate.
RaDene Hatfield is one of those responsible Democrats. And once she found out about Curt Bramble's bullying, she posted her reaction, initially HERE, then on her campaign blog. Here's the most pertinent part of her response from this post:
Tonight, my family decided to go to Nicolitalia Pizzeria for dinner and see if we could meet the brave soul who had started it all. We weren’t disappointed. Anna was as quiet and unassuming as you would imagine. She blushed bright red when I told her I was Curt Bramble’s opponent. I complimented her on her piece and asked her if she could have imagined how big this would get. She just shook her head. I told her I had just got off the phone with someone from Bellevue WA who had read her blog. She told me that she had read postings on her blog from people from Greece, NYC, and Chicago. I gave her a cookie with my campaign card and told her I would welcome the chance to explain why I would like to be her Senator.
Now that everyone else - across the country - has weighed in, I think it’s time I speak up to let Anna and other voters in Provo know that they do not have to put up with Bramble’s bullying any longer.
I’m running for the Utah Senate because I believe I can represent Provo citizens better than Bramble. I believe I can listen better, understand more and serve harder than my opponent. Those who know me know that I am passionate about fighting for quality education, accountability in the legislature and our Utah values. But in a representative democracy, those goals should never be accomplished through rudeness, disrespect and manipulation. Some excuse my opponent’s behavior as his style because he hails from the Chicago area. Such a brutish approach may be appropriate in Chicago style politics, but it’s a long ways away from our Utah values. I believe we are passionate here as well, but we are cordial and respectful and more impressed by integrity and hard work than a title such as Senate Majority leader.
I grew up believing that anyone born in the United States had the responsibility to serve and work to preserve the freedoms we have here. I was raised by parents who taught me through word and deed how to be a public servant. A public servant is someone who listens, is respectful, and believes that the people who elect them are intelligent and capable of self governance (see what Bramble said to the Deseret News last week HERE)
Curt Bramble, as PizzaGate has shown, doesn’t quite fit the image of public servant. Bramble is much more deserving of the title “Public Bully”. It’s up to Provo voters to decide whether they want a ‘public bully’ or a ‘public servant’ to represent them in the Utah State Senate.
This response effectively sums up her platform, which is further detailed on the Issues Page of her official campaign website. Here's a good post from Bobaagard about RaDene's ideas for campaign finance reform. You can clearly see that RaDene Hatfield is no Rocky Anderson-style insurgent; she is a responsible middle-of-the-road citizen sharing and reflecting mainstream community concerns. Rejecting her simply because she is a Democrat would be holding her responsible for Rocky Anderson's sins, and, as we Mormons point out in our Second Article of Faith, man is responsible for his own sins, and not for Adam's transgression (or anyone else's, for that matter).
Whether or not District 16 voters actually take that final step and vote for RaDene in November will depend upon how Curt Bramble chooses to respond to the firestorm of criticism directed at him. Bramble can either circle the wagons, tap dance around the issue, or bull his way through and "dare" them to vote against their Senate Majority Leader, in which case RaDene Hatfield most likely will succeed him in the State Senate. Or he can recognize that he has a serious perception problem based upon a persistent character flaw, namely, an established pattern of bullying, and do the right thing.
And what would be the right thing for Curt Bramble to do? Call a press conference and do the following:
(1). Publicly apologize to Anna Eagar and Nicolitalia Restaurant for his behavior towards them.
(2). Publicly acknowledge that he has a persistent problem with bullying, apologize for his behavior, express his intent to change that behavior, and ask the public's forgiveness.
If he will take these steps and follow through, he will prevail on election day. Curt Bramble is not exactly the "Great Satan"; he is a dedicated conservative who, by virtue of his power as Senate Majority Leader, can bring benefits to District 16 that a lesser figure would be unable to deliver. Bramble's official campaign website can be found HERE, and during his eight years in office, he has sought to increase education funding, reform our tax system, solve transportation problems, maintain a strong economy, and preserve and promote the family. He has delivered on those pledges to varying degrees; you can examine his record more closely on his VoteSmart page.
But the presence of a quality opponent like RaDene Hatfield will serve notice that District 16 voters will not be scared away from the prospect of changing their Senator if he doesn't meet their needs and speak their language. By the way, according to Wikipedia, she learned her politics at her daddy's knee; her father, Roger Rawson, was the last Democratic Majority Leader in the Utah State House. And this is more of a political family than I first thought; in this post on her blog, RaDene reveals her "Aunt Sue" is running for the State House from Fairbanks, Alaska. A check of the Alaska Division of Elections website reveals there is a Sue Hull running as a Republican for House District 9, representing the Fairbanks area.