Frequently, I am asked what the United Utah Party is and how it is different from the other two parties. Many Utahns are curious about what this new party is. So I will explain who we are and what we want to achieve.
First, the United Utah Party is not another single-issue, ideologically extreme political party. Other parties — Socialist, Green, Constitution, Independent American, Libertarian — fit in that camp. We are different.
We are nonideological pragmatists. We come from the mainstream of Utah politics, not its fringes. For example, our 3rd District congressional special election candidate is Jim Bennett. His father, Bob Bennett, was more centrist and practical than current Republicans like Donald Trump or Mike Lee. Along with Jim Bennett, our party includes, for example, Vaughn Cook. Cook ran for the Democratic nomination for governor last year. He lost because he was too moderate for the Democratic Party.
Former Republicans, Democrats and independents are joining our ranks because they are tired of the extremism of the two major parties. They don’t like the electoral choice between a highly liberal Democrat, such as Misty Snow, the 2016 U.S. Senate nominee, and Sen. Mike Lee, a right-wing Republican who allies with the Ted Cruz/Roy Moore faction of the Republican Party.
But the United Utah Party should not be measured simply by what it is not. Rather, we are a party who eschews rigid ideologies in favor of practical, nonpartisan solutions to the problems our state and nation face. These include such issues as dealing with immigration, working with the federal government on public land management, boosting our public education system and reforming our tax system.
The United Utah Party also strongly supports political reform. We want term limits for elected officials. Governors and legislators should rotate rather than remain in office for long periods. The Framers envisioned citizen service that meant rotation in office. The idea that a senator would remain for 42 years (and still want another term) would have dismayed them. Their idea of service, which was demonstrated by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, was getting in, doing a job and then leaving again, rather than holding office indefinitely.
We also want stricter campaign finance limits. Most Utahns don’t realize the power of large donors in our state’s electoral system. Any person can give any amount of money to a candidate. For most Utahns, that might mean a contribution of $25 or $50. But that also means candidates receive tens of thousands of dollars from large corporations and wealthy individuals. Some even live outside Utah. This system of buying a politician needs to be reined in. The United Utah Party is willing to do that.
Our party also supports an independent redistricting commission. We oppose the ability of legislators to draw district lines for their own political gain. Voters should be picking legislators, and not the other way around.
We also favor more nonpartisan elections. That isn’t something political parties usually support. But we don’t believe the state’s attorney general should be running in a partisan election, currying favor with one party over the other. Certainly, the state school board should be nonpartisan. And county commissioners and other county elected officials don’t need to be partisan either.
This year, only 3rd Congressional District voters can vote for a United Utah Party candidate. But next year, we will run candidates for various offices across the state. Utahns will have another choice — a better choice. We won’t have to choose between an extreme Republican and an extreme Democrat. We will be able to choose a candidate who will find pragmatic solutions and bring government back to the citizens. That choice will exist because of the newly formed United Utah Party.
Richard Davis is the chair of the United Utah Party.