30 Dec Who Democrats really are
What is the oldest continuous political party in the world?
While the Republicans can claim the great Abraham Lincoln, it is our Democratic Party that has been around the longest. Not by chance. Not by luck. We Dems have endured because of what we stand for, who we fight for, and the people-first policies that have been a key part of the foundation of our nation — policies and programs that have saved lives.
Clean air and water
Civil rights and equality
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
From the “New Deal” to a “Great Society”
The Affordable Care Act
Women’s rights and reproductive freedom
Public lands and conservation
And a lot more …
We have had the backs of our neighbors, particularly those among us who lose first and most when our government fails.
This is our story and one we should keep telling and retelling. Our historic standard-bearers got things done, from Thomas Jefferson’s vision to ensure an educational system countrywide (the roots of SITLA land) to Eleanor Roosevelt’s many principled stands to our Young Democrats across the Beehive State today, who show parents and grandparents what issues matter most, or should, and are grounded by their strong commitment to inclusion and progress.
The year 2022 has now been established as part of this long tradition. Contrary to historical headwinds and political punditry, we Democrats won important races nationally — in PA, AZ, GA — but also locally. Election deniers and other extremists were defeated. We kept the U.S. Senate in safe hands, as well as the clerk position in our state’s largest, most diverse and dynamic county. “Clerk Chapman” has a nice ring to it. I still consider Lannie’s race to have been the most important one on my ballot.
Our Democratic Party story is one to be proud of and move forward in Utah, across all 29 counties — not run away from, try to hide, lessen in Republican-lite fashion, or give away because of the siren song of any self-declared “independent.”
In both of my campaigns — a full one for CD2 in 2020 and, well, an … abbreviated one for U.S. Senate earlier this year, I made clear that I am a Utah Democrat who will never join the defeatist wing of the Utah Democratic Party. My seven consecutive years in two wars while with the U.S. State Department was harder than Utah politics. Getting shot at by the Taliban gets one’s attention, in a big way, and refocuses priorities. Working together with the Women’s Democratic Club and other Utah Democrats will be one of the most important things I believe I will ever do.
After our loud April convention, a packed political room if there ever was one in our state, Team Weston and I got on the road. We helped support candidates from Brigham City to Heber to Monument Valley, from Magna to Cedar to Kanab. And all across West Valley. We joined hardworking candidates at a Peach Days parade and at another one in Green River that celebrated the area’s watermelons. We donated quite a big chunk of money, too, to state legislature candidates, those running for Congress, but also for county commission seats and school boards.
Our team helped prep candidates for debates and walked alongside them, canvassing, whether temps were 108 or 38. In knocking almost 600 doors, I only had one shut in my face (probably a Lee supporter). All the other conversations, across Utah zip codes, showed that there are many voters who want to hear more from us, about what a “Utah Democrat” means.
Let’s commit into the new year, 2023, and the years that follow to keep at it. We live in one of our nation’s fastest-growing states – the audience is out there and deepening, whether home in Utah is among alfalfa and red rock, in downtown skyscrapers, or close to pig, solar and wind farms, such as in Beaver County, where my own family’s roots run deep — where we Westons returned my downwinder Dad’s ashes to Utah’s Mineral Mountains.
Don’t forget: John F Kennedy won Beaver County. (He lost Salt Lake County.)
Democrats can win in Utah, and we will again, even in the hardest places.
Our story, the Democratic story, has been around the longest. And it is a truly great one because we have worked hard to practice what we preach. One need only look up the storied Democratic legislation. Words made into law that have helped our neighbors. Fewer kids left hungry. More rivers cleaned up. And many lives saved.
Politics at its best, after all, is about the big things — not the small things, about the future — not the past, and about people — not politicians.
Which reminds me: a voter in Ogden told me that her grandparents long spoke, reverently, about how FDR Democrats helped get people nationwide back to work and fed during the Great Depression. They looked out for the elderly. And how, more recently, Democrats got Obamacare passed — providing her family with peace of mind for the first time, knowing that a fall by her husband (who works in construction) from a rooftop would not bankrupt the young family.
This is who we are.
This is what being a Utah Democrat means.
December 30, 2022