Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Politicians make their resolutions for a quiet 2014

Published: Sunday, Dec. 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Utah Governor Gary Herbert talks about the resignation of Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell Sept. 16, 2013, in Salt Lake City.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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The 2013 political year was supposed to be quiet, but it went out with a bang, thanks to Obamacare, the government shutdown, John Swallow and a certain federal judge. All the controversy has our political leaders hoping for a less-eventful 2014. We were able to obtain some of their New Year's resolutions and what they are hoping for in 2014.

Gov. Gary Herbert has the easiest-ever resolution. "Another two or three congressional messes is all I ask. The dysfunctional feds make us look good. We saved the national parks in 2013, and our health insurance exchange for businesses is working well. We solve problems while Congress dithers. Everyone wins, and Utahns are happy (especially with me.)"

Opponents of same sex marriage are hoping for federal appellate judges and a U.S. Supreme Court justices who support traditional marriage. They also wish for U.S. senators who can predict whether a federal judiciary nominee will be an activist judge.

Sen. Mike Lee is hoping Utah voters, especially mainstream Republicans, remember him for his 2013 successes, rather than his tea party leadership that resulted in a federal government shutdown. “2013 was a great year for me,” he said. “I was right about interim presidential appointments, problems with Obamacare and sequestration did not cause problems as the liberals predicted. I will be magnanimous and remind opponents of my track record on a not infrequent basis.”

Attorney General appointee Sean Reyes has an unusual New Year's resolution: "I need to read up on Karma, the circle of life and all that stuff. People keep mentioning this to me and I have no idea what they are talking about.”

Democratic Party Chair James Dabakis is hoping for a good candidate to replace Jim Matheson in the 4th Congressional District. He’s also hoping his high visibility on same-sex marriage doesn’t so upset moderate Republican voters that they take out their displeasure on Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.

Republican Party Chair James Evans has a simple wish for 2014: “Please, prominent Democrats, keep up the public celebrations of same-sex marriages — especially in the media. I can't wait for the quiet payback at the ballot box." Evans is also hoping to keep far-right Republicans happy in 2014, without alienating mainstream Republicans and the business community.

Sen. Orrin Hatch made it very clear what he wants in 2014: "I’m in my last term and I want a Republican Senate majority to deal with America’s problems. It’s long overdue and is within reach — unless we shoot ourselves in the foot with more right-wing foolishness.”

Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser will continue his perennial New Year's resolution: "I will stop daydreaming about skiing the fresh powder in the backcountry during those long, drawn-out Senate debates where certain senators enjoy hearing themselves pontificate."

House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart will also pursue a New Year's resolution regarding the upcoming Legislature: "I want my last session to be boring without impeachment investigations, healthcare exchanges, Medicaid expansion or tax increases. A snoozer debate over some old standby like states’ rights will be the most exciting thing in 2014."

Retiring Congressman Jim Matheson has a New Year's resolution: "I will do my best to act interested, engaged and concerned for the next year."

Rep. Greg Hughes has made a personal commitment for the next year: "Last year certain PACs and political activists targeted me because I wanted transparency in elections. Now that they've been exposed, I will relish in their suffering only once a day."

Rep. Jim Dunnigan will pursue an objective for the next year: “In 2013, I chaired the House Investigations Committee, fashioned the Exchange Hybrid with the Feds. In 2014 I hope to influence appropriate ethics legislation and an efficient Medicaid expansion. ... and hopefully stop to take a breath."

Congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart are hoping for nice, quiet elections against easy Democratic opponents and no challenges from the tea party.

Republican legislative leaders hoping to replace Rebecca Lockhart as speaker are hoping to quickly raise a lot of money so they can support as many campaigns as possible and win allegiance of fellow House members.

Utah business leaders have resolved in 2014 to demand that Republican office holders be more pragmatic and problem-solving rather than ideologues.

National Republicans main resolution is to find a candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton.

National Democrats are hoping that the myriad woes of Obamacare won’t result in voters taking out their frustration on Democratic members of Congress.

Now that he has solved health care, President Obama has resolved to end poverty and crime, forge peace in the Middle East, put a man on Mars and eliminate climate change.

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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