Thursday, November 26, 2009
Dave Glissmeyer To Mount Independent Challenge Against Utah Congressman Jim Matheson, Wants To Hammer Employers Who Hire Illegal Immigrants
Utah's incumbent 2nd District Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson, who's been under fire from left-wing progressives in his district for being a Blue Dog Democrat, has now picked up opposition, but it will not necessarily be the type of opposition to wean progressives away from Matheson. Fifty-seven-year-old retired businessman Dave Glissmeyer has filed to run against Matheson in 2010, but as an independent. Media story from the Salt Lake Tribune. Additional Utah blog reaction from Bob Aagard.
Glissmeyer explained his motivation to the Tribune, saying "People do a lot of complaining about government doing too much or not enough...But the problem seems to be that there's a great unserved mass in the middle that doesn't want to follow a particular label...Party politics can take you down a road that may not make the best sense".
Two online sources of information on Glissmeyer already exist. He has both a personal website which informs people about his ProTel business, and an official campaign website (Matheson's campaign website is HERE, and Republican challenger Casey Owen Anderson's website is HERE). Here are his positions on some of the major issues, interspersed with some of my analysis:
(1). Immigration Reform: While he believes immigration enforcement should be left to the Federal government, he wants to fine employers who knowingly hire illegals. This is of paramount importance; if employers know the risk of hiring illegals is exponentially far greater than the reward, they will stop hiring them. In addition, Glissmeyer wants to stop extending social benefits to illegals, and wants to re-visit the notion of "birthright citizenship". In contrast, Americans for Better Immigration only rate Matheson a C+ on immigration.
(2). Federal Tax Reform: Glissmeyer wants to switch to a simpler, mildly progressive "flat tax", simple enough so that one would be able to look at year end earnings and be able to quickly look up on a reference table exactly what the tax is. Our Federal income tax system is an indecipherable maze of provisions and petit-bourgeois pork barrel exemptions so complex that even lawyers are required to seek professsional assistance in determining their obligation. Tax reform and simplification are absolute musts!
(3). Health Care: Decries the present system, but the only proposal he offers so far is medical litigation reform (tort reform). High malpractice premiums (up to $60,000 per year for some surgical specialists) resulting from outrageous malpractice claim awards lead to increased health care costs that are ultimately passed down to health care consumers. One way Glissmeyer could further demarcate his campaign is to come out against any Federal health care legislation that forces all Americans to buy health insurance; such a requirement could trigger a constitutional challenge requiring months or even years to litigate.
(4). Workfare instead of Welfare: Require that people who receive welfare, food stamps, and other unearned government handouts actually perform some useful work for federal, state or preferably county government while receiving these benefits. His premise: If you are taking government assistance, you must give something of value back to society in return. Our present system not only perpetuates dependency, but unfairly denies the least amongst us the opportunities to gain blessings from service.
(5). Ethics Reform: Because history has shown that it is difficult for elected officials to regulate or police themselves, Glissmeyer wants to promote legislation that would put that disciplinary authority back in the hands of an independent and politically neutral board of citizens. However, this is fraught with potential landmines. Do we want to create yet another bureaucracy? Do we want legislation that jeopardizes the presumption of innocence, such as the proposed initiative put forth by Utahns for Ethical Government? Do we want to create an ethics complaint system that allows gadflies to weaponize it and use it to target elected officials they don't like, such as what was done to Sarah Palin in Alaska? Glissmeyer should proceed cautiously here.
(6). Campaign Reform: Glissmeyer intends to personally exemplify campaign reform by not accepting donations from PACs or other special interest groups, businesses, health insurance companies, energy companies, or ANY company for that matter. He will only accept contributions or in-kind services from individuals. His goal is to discontinue contributions from PACs and corporations via legislation; place a limit on contributions to a maximum of $2,000.00 from any one individual. This is a good start, but he should also propose to ban campaign contributions from unions by name. Too many unions have been nothing more than ATMs for the Democratic Party.
Dave Glissmeyer is married, and has sired one son by a previous marriage. He brags more about his menagerie of pets than he does his son. In 1984, seeing an opportunity to open the Utah market for an emerging communications platform maker, Inter-Tel, Dave started ProTel NetWorks with $3000.00 borrowed off a credit card. Within 4 years ProTel had cracked Inter-Tel's prestigious Top Ten Dealer Award program by implementing an aggressive marketing program with it’s primary focus of delivering to the customer more than what they paid for. Under Dave’s guidance ProTel has consistently been one of a handful of dealers who have placed millions of dollars worth of solutions-based systems year in and year out for Inter-Tel. ProTel is still successful, providing good paying jobs right here in Utah and has not required a government bailout.
Thus Glissmeyer is one of the infrequent candidates who understands what it's like to have to meet a payroll from his own resources. How long has it been since Jim Matheson had to meet a payroll from his own resources?
Whether Glissmeyer can win is another issue. Jim Matheson has effectively melded blue Salt Lake with the red "rest-of-the-district" by adopting a blue dog stance. Many 2nd District voters also see value in having representation within the party currently controlling the U.S. House; they see Jim Matheson as having a party pipeline to the House Democratic leadership. This is why Matheson gets reelected by authoritative margins; in 2008, he spanked well-funded Republican challenger Bill Dew by a 2-to-1 margin. So although Glissmeyer has an attractive platform which cuts across party lines, he has an uphill struggle.