Utah's senators aren't exactly in lock step with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People when it comes to civil rights issues voted on during the 105th Congress.
But the NAACP and Utah's congressman aren't even on the same planet, apparently.Wednesday afternoon, the NAACP released its "legislative report card," which compared the stand of the organization on issues it considered important with the actual votes by elected representatives in each state.
Utah's senators and congressmen all received a failing grade, according to Jeanetta Williams, president of the Salt Lake Branch of the NAACP and national board member.
Sen. Robert Bennett received a score of 30 percent - and an F - from the group. Hatch's score was the best for the delegation, at 40 percent. But it was still a failing grade.
Among House members, Rep. Merrill Cook got the highest score among Utahns: 16.6 percent. Reps. Jim Hansen and Chris Cannon each agreed with the NAACP agenda 8.3 percent of the time.
The Senate report card was based on 10 votes, the House report card on 11, selected as "the items most concerning to the general public and people of color," Williams said.
Williams noted that Hatch voted with the NAACP position on a budget resolution on children's health insurance, the only vote where he differed with Bennett. But Bennett didn't vote on three of the key issues, including an education savings account and teacher's loan pro-posal.
"My hope is by the NAACP getting the information to the public as a tool for an educational basis, we can look at how they're voting and send a clear message to the Senate and House that they are there to represent all the people and not just a portion of the people or a small part of the people," Williams said.
"Issues of civil rights are of concern to everybody.
"We represent people of color - and people come in all colors, so that means America."
The NAACP has members of all races, she said, adding that Utah's chapter was formed by "both black and white citizens to fight injustice."
Edward Lewis, state conference president of the NAACP for Idaho, Nevada and Utah, said the "results really tell whether the people we elect are taking into consideration the total population."
He said Utah is surrounded on three sides by states with major demographic shifts and within 15 years those states will have majority Hispanic populations. He said Utah's elected representatives - and those of the surrounding states, as well - are "out of touch with the future population."