Leadership is lacking on the national and state levels, Davis County Democrats heard repeatedly Saturday at their convention, and Democratic candidates are ready to step into key jobs and change that.
The Democrats have "the new ideas, the candidates, and the momentum to score major victories in November," said leadoff speaker Ted Wilson, looking to unseat incumbent Republican Gov. Norm Bangerter.Davis County Democrats have only one candidate for each county and state office up for grabs in November, so there were no intraparty convention battles.
In his keynote speech, Wilson said Utah needs genuine leadership and high-paying jobs, not catchy jingles or slogans and minimum wage jobs as convenience store clerks for its residents.
Current GOP leaders are "concerned about ruts and chuckholes, about dredging the next ditch instead of looking upward," Wilson said, giving the 300 convention-goers something to cheer.
"I'm not going to take any more of your bucks," Wilson said, promising no further tax increases. He said the current state administration is "taking all your bucks to give you some of your bucks back so you can vote for them by absentee ballot from whatever state you're living in, where you've gone to find a job."
David Hewett, the Orem physician also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, presented a more low-key speech, calling for more funding for education and bringing volunteers into the schools as aides.
The two party candidates for the U.S. Senate, Joe Cwik and Brian Moss, also decried the lack of leadership from Utah's contingent in Washington, D.C.
Acknowledging he lacks political experience, Cwik emphasized his 30 years spent in the Navy, as a teacher, and as an FBI agent. But not having political experience may not be so bad, Cwik said, because, "I'm not in the habit of telling people one thing and then doing something else."
Moss charged that incumbent GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch isn't paying attention to what the people of Utah want because he's following a right wing agenda. Hatch votes against bills to aid education, senior citizens, and working people, Moss said.
Hatch's priority is serving big business, which reflect the campaign contributions he receives from business groups and industries, Moss said. He also charged Hatch's salary has doubled in the years he's been in the Senate, something no one at the convention can claim. Hatch has also earned $70,000 in speaking fees, Moss said.
"He says he's working for you? He's grabbing every penny he can for himself," the candidate charged.
Gunn McKay, looking to oust 1st District Congressman Jim Hansen, said Democrats were criticized in the past as being big spenders in Congress, but the national debt is increasing exponentially under the Republicans.
The nation's balance of trade has gone from a healthy surplus to a deficit, McKay said, putting the U.S. in the position of being a debtor nation to Communist countries.