Utah House Speaker Craig Moody used Saturday's Salt Lake County Republican Convention to sling arrows at the American Civil Liberties Union and Congressman Wayne Owens.
Moody said the ACLU and Owens, D-Utah, are examples of the two groups that stand in the way of Utah's future: Utah bashers and Democrats."The ACLU does not exist to protect rights in Utah, but to assault the values and culture of Utah," said Moody, R-Sandy. "The ACLU has become a foot soldier for every radical view: prohibition of graduation prayers, opposing the rights of the unborn child and the fight to protect prisoners from double-bunking while ignoring the rights of the victims."
Moody condemned the ACLU and other members of the "bash Utah first crowd who find ways to take every issue they can to assault our state and its people."
He cited the Legislature's recent abortion bill as an example. "We found it unacceptable to use abortion as a means of birth control and sex selection," he said. So the "bash Utah crowd" is punishing the state by boycotting Utah, attempting to damage the economy so severely that Utah men and women will be laid off from their jobs.
"We vow as a Legislature that will not happen and we will not cave in," Moody said. Further, attempts to hurt Utah's chances for the 1998 Olympics because of the abortion bill "are reprehensible, petty and mean."
Moody reserved his harshest words for Owens, calling his stand on military spending and the gulf war "an embarrassment" to Utah.
Moody read Owens' remarks quoted in a UPI story after Owens made a September visit to the gulf: " `There is no supreme commander for the troops, including 140,000 U.S. military personnel,' said Owens. `We need a unified command. Somebody has got to be in charge,' " Moody read to the crowd gathered in the Murray High auditorium.
Then he said, "It's obvious when Wayne Owens went to the Middle East he didn't take time to meet with General (Norman) Schwarzkopf or the American soldiers. He was too busy meeting with Saddam and his friends."
Moody also threatened Owens with reapportionment of his congressional district. Moody said Owens had asked him to keep his district the same or perhaps increase his share of predominantly democratic Salt
"Well, I have a message for Wayne. If you are willing to legislatively punish the people outside of
Salt Lake City by the bills you support, it's time you had the opportunity to represent some of those people," he said to loud applause.
Moody launched a scathing attack on Utah legislative Democrats, as well. "Utah Democrats - like their national brethren - see every government budget as a chance to spend more and more and more," he said. In the recent legislative session, Utah Democrats wanted to implement a "credit card" budget that would be spent today and paid for tomorrow.
Moody's scathing remarks were the highlight of a program that also featured remarks from retiring county Chairman Peter VanAlstyne, Salt Lake County Commissioner D. Michael Stewart and Lt. Gov. Val Oveson. Letters from Gov. Norm Bangerter and Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah, were read.
County delegates chose businessman Richard Kuchinsky as their new chairman, following VanAlstyne's resignation. Kuchinsky garnered 253 votes, to Shirley Jensen's 127 and John Houston's 61.
Kuchinsky's party experience includes forming Utah's first Republican Social Club and Teenage Republicans of Utah. He has served as presiding officer in the Young Americans for Freedom and Young Republicans Club and held a variety of local Republican offices from county delegate to member of the state executive committee.
Mary Jordan is the new vice chairwoman of the county party. She received 312 votes to Hugh Rush's 129. The new secretary is Fae Engstrom with 240 votes, beating Susan Schildmeyer, 200. Keenan Roylance took the treasurer seat with 267 votes, beating Gayle Morawetz's 172.