- As some of you are aware, my family and I just moved back to Utah a few
months ago, after spending the last four years in the Northern VA, DC area.
With the new election cycle starting now, I'm planning a course of action in
Utah to try and influence the 2006 state elections. I'd like to get some
input on tactics from those on this list.
For those who aren't familiar with the situation in Utah, with the exception
of a few old-timers and parts of Salt Lake City, it's a state dominated by
Republicans. Republican dominate to the point where the Utah Educators
Association (UEA, part of the NEA), which would be a liberal Democrat
institution in any other state, has chosen to influence the Utah GOP
There is something of a perennial battle within the Utah GOP between the
moderate/liberals represented by the UEA and the conservative/libertarians,
represented by the Utah taxpayers association and others.
In Utah, a set of nominating caucus meetings is the last Monday in April in
each general election year. A race only goes to a primary election if one
candidate fails to get 60% of the vote in the caucus. The precinct caucuses
also select delegates for the multi-precinct districts, like a Congressional
district, the County conventions, which selects for the State, etc...
Most races don't go to a primary election. The UEA has figured out that the
power within the Party is at the caucus meetings and pushes it's union
members to attend their local caucus. The Conservative/libertarian wing of
the party, while much larger in terms of raw numbers, isn't that organized,
leading to Republican conventions marginally dominated by the UEA and it's
Most precinct caucuses are attended by 3-10 people, with 20-25 being
considered a huge turnout in a contentious year.
In the general election, in many places the Republican candidate runs
unopposed, or with token opposition from the Libertarian Party, Constitution
Party or Free Choice Party. The Democrats don't bother even trying except in
inner city or state-wide races. Even in state-wide races, the democrats tend
to not make much of an effort and lose 80-20 or 70-30.
If you see what I am leading up to, the key in Utah is to get more people
with RLC-friendly views to attend their local caucus in April of 2006. These
people can then select delegates and candidates for the Party conventions.
The Utah RLC itself doesn't have enough active people to organize groups to
attend the caucus in each safe Republican precinct state-wide. However, we
could form the backbone of a group to organize GOP caucus attendees.
To do that, we need a large group of people who would be willing to attend a
caucus meeting or two, a good reason for them to attend and a good reason
for them to not make common cause with the UEA.
If Utah politics is an ecology, then the natural enemies of the UEA are the
home schooling families in the state. There are more Home Scholars in Utah
than in most states and they tend to be more extremist
conservative/libertarian than the general population. My family has some
good contacts within the Utah home schooling community.
One of the hot topics in Utah that the UEA has been blocking are tuition tax
credits, etc... It and similar proposals are popular with the general
public, but not with UEA-backed Republicans. Utah also has a problem with
overzealous bureaucrats in DCFS. These are the people who take someone's
child from them because they "abuse" them (real life examples) by washing
their poopy butt off in lukewarm water in the bath, or take someone's kids
away because a teacher reported that a Father hugged their daughter when
picking her up from school. Needless to say, Utah is a big family state that
has the potential for outrage when things like this come to light. Of
course, the UEA and DCFS are very close organizationally, both being public
servants who save the children from their parents. Both also
organizationally hate home scholars.
So what I propose to do now is to recruit home scholars and DCFS victims to
attend local caucus meetings in 2006. I think 17 months is enough time to
get that organized and done. I'm going to use the issue of proposing a
parental right's amendment to the state constitution as the impetuous. The
issue will include a right for parent's to choose their child's education
(similar to that found in OK's state constitution) and adding due process to
the DCFS system to protect parent's rights in terms of getting a real
hearing if their children are taken by the state, being able to have
relatives take their children instead of DCFS making money off of their
foster-care system, etc... I'm working out the wording in conjunction with
those experienced in these matters in the state.
I plan to contact every known home schooling family in the state (they are
required to register with the local school board) and explain the way the
caucuses work, the UEA domination, the parental rights amendment, etc... and
then ask them what level of involvement they'd be willing to take, including
1. Attend their caucus meeting.
2. Organize those in their precinct who state they'll attend.
3. Become a delegate to a higher convention or a candidate.
4. Make phone calls and attend local home schooling meetings to recruit
5. Host a meeting at their home for local home scholars.
I think many people will be willing to do at least #1. They'll probably even
bring their kids with them. We'll setup a system of reminders, a mailing
My wife (who is in contact with a couple of groups of DCFS victims and their
lawyers, this thing is almost ready to blow up in Utah) has some other plans
for related publicity over the next 18 months that may help disorganize the
UEA and DCFS and put them on the defensive politically.
What I am looking for from the RLC-Action group is constructive ideas to
help this work. What have you got for me?