Deseret News/KSL delegate panel speaks out

Published: Wednesday, April 18 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

Kameron Simmons, Utah delegate

Daryl: I've been through this a couple of times. Not as a delegate, but going to conventions and working with candidates, so it's pretty much what I expected.

Kameron: I didn't even really fully grasp the fact that I would be dedicating as much time, meeting with candidates specifically and stuff like that, so it's been a lot more than what I originally thought it would be.

Gil: They (candidates) suddenly care about what you're saying, which is new. I've found them to be open. They are responsive to questions. It's appealing to me to be able to meet with them one-on-one, which I've done in many instances.

I feel like I know my neighborhood pretty well, and what their concerns are. And even though I may not share all of their opinions, I believe I can represent them.

Kristen: I've only had one phone call (from neighbors) and I hope that they will contact me. … I'm finding that right now, most of the people that want to talk to me are other delegates. I hope that some more of my neighbors will ask me more questions.

I try to schedule to see these people, these candidates more than once. I like to throw out some hard questions … they have to stop and think, and watch their reactions and watch what they're doing. Because to me, I want their experience and skill set, but their heart is what I'm judging.

Rosemary: (I'm) not stressed, but it's very time-consuming. I'm getting lots of emails. From the party, from the candidates letting me know about schedules and things that are coming up and I check those regularly because I want to attend these events.

Marla: It is from the standpoint that I want to do a good job. I feel that I not only represent the Democrats in my neighborhood, but I also represent the Republicans in my neighborhood because when it comes down to it, there's going to be two choices in November.

There's a certain amount of responsibility to get through the rhetoric and really find the issues and really find out where these people stand, where these candidates stand on an issue.

Why do you support the caucus/convention system?

Judy: There is some wisdom in keeping (out) the emotion of the day and the passion of the moment. It's good to keep the system immune from that. I feel like the caucus system is kind of a microcosm of our bigger representative system.

Kameron: I think the caucus system's great. I think that's what Utah politics is all about. Ninety percent of my friends couldn't tell you who either of our senators are. I think there's a huge problem with undereducated voting, especially among younger constituents.

I think putting people out there who are willing to go out and educate themselves to make the right decision, for what they feel for Utah, for their precinct, for whatever, I think it's an absolutely great system.

Daryl: If they've (candidates) got the right ideas and they can articulate it and they've got solutions, then they actually have a chance to get on the ticket, maybe even carry the nomination right out of the convention.

The system isn't dominated with people with 5 or 6 million dollars in their war chest. They actually have to defend to 4,000 educated and well-researched delegates. I feel like in California (where I've lived), it's really difficult to break in. If I wanted to run for Congress in California, I wouldn't have a shot because I'm not an insider and I'm not a millionaire.

What do you look for in a candidate?

Kameron: What I want to know when I'm talking to a candidate, and I've spent time with both Hatch and Liljenquist, I try to get as much time personally just because what I want to determine is their ability to work with people.

Despite what your record is, despite what your position is, you're going to have to be able to deal with people who are ideologically different than you are, and that's one of the biggest things I see.

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