Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Does it make sense for the House to investigate Swallow?

Published: Sunday, July 21 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

The author of a new book on the 2012 presidential election argues that Mitt Romney's Mormon religion cost him significant votes. Can a Mormon ever win the White House?

Pignanelli: Because many Americans refuse to believe a lone crackpot assassinated President Kennedy, books with absurd conspiracy themes garner profits. Mormons, who cannot comprehend Romney's many political flaws, are the next victims of this con game. Romney is an intelligent, moral, successful businessman who was a lousy candidate with a lousier campaign. Quantifiable research documents religion was never an issue in the general election.

Webb: Romney's religion, and how he dealt with it, may have been a slight net negative for him, but he lost the election for a variety of reasons. Every candidate brings pluses and minuses into a campaign and a great campaign compensates for them.

Romney lost, but his church, the worldwide LDS Church, clearly benefited from the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. The church remained low-key, modest and was careful not to exploit all the attention, but clearly gained international stature and respect as a result of incredible focus and visibility, unprecedented in its history.

Utah's municipal election is underway. Why should citizens pay attention?

Pignanelli: Once-a-generation changes are occurring in cities. The Salt Lake City Council will never be the same without retiring Jill Remington and Carlton Christensen (universally recognized among the states finest public servants). The eras of several prominent mayors are ending: Four termer Dan Snarr (Murray), Mike Winder (West Valley), James Evans (Orem) and Dennis Webb (Holladay).

Webb: The municipal election is actually bigger than even-year general elections, with more candidates all across the state, from the biggest city to the smallest hamlet. Local elections and local issues can be just as nasty, divisive and personal as anything at state or national levels. Many city leaders serve at significant sacrifice, with low or no compensation, mostly volunteering their time.

But local leaders, for the most part, are problem-solvers. They get things done. Fixing potholes and providing water and sewer services aren't partisan or ideological. City leaders answer directly to citizens, not to party delegates or party bosses. Some cities face financial challenges, but they balance their budgets. Our leaders at the federal level could learn a thing or two from municipal officials.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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