"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Monday, June 8, 2020

2020 Candidates for Governor: Thomas Wright

Thomas Wright:

Thomas Wright held multiple Zoom meetings and answered whatever questions were brought up.  He also gave his personal cell number and asked people to call with any additional questions.

Greater transparency in health care costs.

HB332: special needs scholarship.  Would NOT have vetoed this bill.  Better for the student to specialize in their need.  Better for everyone.  Disappointing there are so many people fighting against sped kids getting what they need.

Access vs costs: Affordable Care Act: affordability is the problem, not the access.

When you take the money from the feds it comes with string?
Eliminating strings and let teachers teach.  we need to teach free market economics.  Common Core wasn't a good thing.
Kids need to understand the principles of America and not defect to Bernie Sanders.  Going to need a lot of people's help to make it.

Mobile phone: 801-652-5700 Thomas

3 main things from Dad: stay hungry and stay humble, and don't forget the 3rd H and that's Hustle. This is your state.  I would just be leading this state under your direction.

What would you do to support local control in education?  Do you support having one set of standards and one set of tests?  What is the role of the feds in education and how do we maintain local control if the feds require a single set of standards and testing?
Do not believe the feds should be mandating the way we educate our kids.  We, as parents, know what's best for our children.  HB332 or any other avenue that we deem appropriate: home, charter, private, we know what's best for our kids and we should be able to custom tailor education.  Do not believe in one set of standards and one set of tests.  I want an educated child that is reaching their god-given potential.  Teaching to standardized tests is just wrong.

SB54: has not been good for the state of UT. 1. Signatures favors those who have money or who can raise money. 2. Doesn't connect voters to candidates. 3. Creates winners by plurality: less than a majority of the vote.  Will repeal and replace SB54 with a better election system: we can improve it and modernize it.  Need to fix it.  Need to look at the whole system.  Have to explain, as a candidate, how this whole thing works and it's very difficult for people to fix.

ERA: fan of equal pay for equal work.  Not a supporter.  Too many unintended consequences.

Para mutual horse racing?  Don't know what this is.

COVID-19: Anything different.  Don't want to be an armchair qb.  Need to rally around each other.  Do want more testing (Op Ed).  Outlined a 4 step process.  1. Need at risk population: stay as far away from infection 2. mass testing. ramp up testing in an unprecedented way. It's improving, but you can return society to a more normal state, and all people to self-quarantine.  3. Need as much personal protective equipment for health care workers.  4. Make contingency plans for hospitalization: plan for that capacity.

State is holding local municipalities hostage for moderate income housing.  They determine what moderate is, based on an average in Utah county?
Plans for housing.  Affordable housing crisis in this state: huge problem.  It's more than just housing--we have families in too tight of quarters or living in grandma's basement.  Have behavioral health challenges and then kids don't meet their potential in school.  As governor: I will NEVER mandate from the state level that requires local municipalities to change their zoning or land use ordinances to force them to have affordable housing.  Don't like it when the feds do that to the state and the state does that to the locals...
We have a not in my backyard mentality.  We need to de-stigmatize the concept of affordable housing, the best we can.  Need to do what Anderegg did (SB34 2018): state government won't mandate, but we're going to provide 25 things you can do to decide what you want to do.  How did that work?  when we first got it, we thought it was a bill with no teeth, but we were already doing 3 or 4 things in the bill and then we learned more things that other cities were doing.  We've built big box retailers in our cities, and we don't use big box retailers like we used to.  We required so much parking that we don't need anymore.  Inspired the land owner to create apartments. It can happen that single-family homes can be reduced and increase cost for those homes by taking up the land with apartments.  Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.  But looking at density can make a difference.

Stay at home orders: Utah has 13 deaths.  I think Gov. Herbert's approach to let counties decide is the right answer.  Provide that local control.  where there are rural counties without a huge problem, they don't need a statewide mandate.  It's tricky because there are people who think that without the statewide mandate, you put people at risk.  But then you have rural counties that think they're handling it.  I believe citizens will do the right thing when they are asked to do it; and we need to respect that liberty and freedom of the individual.  I think if you get to that point, then maybe you have to look at it.

Sanctuary cities: Rule of law.  I believe in compassion for all people, and sanctuary city model is not working.  I think there are better ways.  Need a border.  When you talk about it honestly, you can seem like you lack compassion.  I think the more honest approach is the more compassionate approach.  

League of Cities and Towns interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrygd0S8SyA

2A: unabashed supporter of 2nd amendment.  Right to bear arms.  Will never make decisions just based on optics when it comes to the 2nd amendment.  Teach my kids gun safety.  Hunter, outdoorsman.

Suicides: How to address?
How do you feel we should best address suicides in Utah. Every suicide is a tragedy and every life lost is horrific. But I have seen suicide numbers in our state be used to justify everything under the sun. Most recently a bill was passed for schools to perform mental health screenings on children. This was sold as a bill to "prevent suicides" and you voted for the bill. We also heard the bill to provide school breakfast justified with potential suicide. How much does this type of emotional blackmail factor into your decision making? Does the fear of a "Governor in favor of suicide" headline stop you from voting against the crowd sometimes?
Suicide is so tragic and so sad, and to read that Utah is number 1 in the suicide of our young people is heartbreaking.  As governor, I won't be afraid to talk about it.  Because if there's anyone out there that we can reach.  We have taken positive steps with the SafeUT App.  Steve Eliason has taken this on. Doing a great job on this.
I won't politicize this issue.  But we do have a mental health crisis in Utah, and an opioid epidemic in part because of that.  No one chooses to have diabetes or mental health issues.  Need to talk in candid terms.  Need to solve our mental health care professional shortage.  

April 10, 2020: 
Utahns Against Common Core: We're all very curious about some of your positions.  1 main things. 1. Ending Common Core, get rid of it, never internationally benchmarked, always problems.  The only way to get rid of it, is to do it from the bottom up. anytime we're tied to the feds, we're going to have problems.  Several years ago sat down with Stuart Adams, Dave Lifferths and Ben Leischman: bill to get off of fed dollars: too many strings.  How much is Utah on the hook for, if we cut off all the federal requirements?  It only puts at risk the Title 1 and Special Ed money with dollars.  
We've tried pretty much everything in this country with public ed except freedom: NCLB and CC.  Those programs don't work, because education isn't a one-size-fits-all.  Parents here should be able to choose.
There is a way to wean off the federal dollars.  We've had plenty of years of surplus and we've put things into a rainy day fund or spent it on other priorities.  The biggest priority should be the public ed system.  When you are in a plane that's been hijacked, you have to wean (descend) gradually.  The regs are coming primarily from the federal government.  What is the plan, to incrementally take less and less federal money.

Q: If we stop all federal regulations, the only amount at risk is that 2-2.5%.  
1 of the reasons I wanted Rob Bishop was his DC influence.  If there's anyone who can go to DC and get waivers, esp in the Trump administration, I have no doubt that there's no one more qualified to do that then Rob Bishop.
Rob Bishop: I'm still fighting NCLB.  I was listening on a call i wasn't supposed to be, where they were mocking Utah and how they were going to force us to do it.  Credit to Supt Harrington and Margaret Dayton.  Opposed to CC: it's an effort to centralize education.  Appreciative of the low amount of money.  But we have to be prepared as a state, in case the feds fight back.
Wednesday, I talked to a lot of people about education.  All of them were saying things that were astonishing and made me upset, but it fits in.  I think Obama's vision of federalizing all of education.  Congress never voted on that, I thought it was back-burner, but I'm realizing that we are implementing all those ideas, without authorizing.  I'm concerned with standards and assessments right now.  I'm concerned with pre-school standards which are controlled and authorized by workforce services, which means parents have less control over preschool than the regular education system.  What will be required will be on the state level and the governor's office to push back on the ed community who think these new ideas are just facilitators and progressive ideas.  Not a fan of technology in every classroom.  It's a tool NOT THE FUTURE of education.  Someone who's willing to take on the State Office of Ed and the State Board and make sure they are not trying to undercut.  It may be incremental.  But if we have an 8 year commitment and an 8 year goal to actually wean education away from the feds and put money into it to be willing to back up those plans.  

It's not just the money, but it's how we state statutes that have been implemented. 

Money is backward.  The money comes in from tax dollars, and then it goes to the USOE (full of subversives).  The fastest way to do it would be to give all funds to go to the schools on a pro-rata basis, and they might hire a third party company to help with book-keeping, then let them with the school community council, and then they make the decisions on the principal, and we'll help set teacher salaries, so it becomes the board for that school.  Then when they want to hire the district or the state office for services the school says they need.

Describing what inefficient organizations do.  They have allocations to business units from the top down and there's no transparency, but they never really know how much it's costing.  There's so much potential for fraud.

Special interest groups in the state have a lot of influence on standards and policies.  How do you  see your role to make sure that those are not overtaken by special interest groups instead of Utah's families?
Good intentions get filtered through some of the interest groups.  If there are groups with questionable backgrounds, if there are resources given to teachers with close ties to Planned Parenthood, and we need to push back on that from the bully pulpit of the governor's office.  When I was meeting with folks, there's not a wholistic approach to it.  You have the State Board, UEA, Legislature, and the challenge is that governor's have no statutory authority (to appoint charter board only).  The govenors have used bully pulpit, and budget.  I want to go to state board meetings and listen, and use the bully pulpit to draw awareness to these programs.  The most important thing the governor can do in 2021 is who we appoint. If you get the same people in office, you get the same bureaucrats in those same positions and the same power on the special interest groups.
What we have to do at first is to just yell and scream.  Rob says he yells very well.

Gubenatorial candidates don't have that much authority.  I'm into the consolidation of power.  How do we unentangle the state from the feds.  What I see, is that every year, I see about 200 ed bills every session.  And they pass them, and 150 go through and they're all well-intended.  Then it takes the school districts about a year to implement, and then they "fix" it again.  And we end up with so much red tape.  We want to create a big picture agenda for where we want to move education.  This happens because so many of these bills are sponsored by the state office bureaucrats.

If you clearly communicate what you're doing and you have the buy-in of leadership, then I have no problem with veto.  We have this big picture of education.  Don't want a negative campaign.  

Obama's big vision was to fundamentally transform the purpose of education. What we've missed in the CC debate, he's been successful.  the way they're training teachers and using assessments and using technology.  Obama nationalized education when he encouraged all the assessment companies to switch from facts to training kids to think emotionally.  

Rob would like to make the state board more of a funnel of monies, not setting policy.  We need to alert other governors to what is really going on out there.  As long as I'm there, I'm going to push this entire issue.

State School Board appointed by the governor: Not opposed to that.  But right out of the gate, attend state board meeting and try to create a big picture of public education.  If we find that the governance system is holding us back from what citizens want, then we need to have that conversation.  We don't want to centralize.  We want to have a big picture agenda, but if that's not working, then we'll use the governor's office to reform governance in education.
If we have a state board of education and we can't do any other forms of education and if they are going to have power, then they have to have some sort of check on them and have them elected.  Not sure you need one.

Have you read any of Sen. Ann Milner's bills?  Yes on the Board of Regents.  I've worked closely with Ann Milner, so I've carefully followed higher education.  

Generally, what is your use of veto power?  One of the most important and powerful parts of the executive branch.  I don't think you use it as a weapon.  You have to communicate your vision and values.  I have no problem using the veto power if they are not in line with Utah's values and not in line with the vision.  

Governor's pushing through the conversion therapy rule.  There were a lot of lies being told by the side in favor of the change and lot of misleading statements.  I thought it was a problem that they went around the legislature.
I don't like anything done by administrative rule and going around the legislature.  When we're in office, we will undo all the executive orders and start at zero.  We need to put things in place so that there are more legislative representation.  Don't like it done via administrative rule instead of the legislature.

SB54: Sen. Lee is endorsing Jon Huntsman.  
In 2011, I was elected to be the state party chair, and Count My Vote became a big thing.  CMV was planning on getting rid completely of convention via the ballot initiative.  We felt there were unintended consequences because of plurality.  In 2014, they promised they would fix it.  And now it's been 6 years, and there's been zero modifications to it.  Not good election law.  We now have been through it.  We didn't want to gather signatures.  I didn't want to.  It's already hard to beat the establishment candidates without it.  I don't think there's a campaign who is holding more townhalls, etc.  We are all in for caucus/convention.  
  1. it favors those who have a lot of money or can raise a lot of money.  that shouldn't be the case.
  2. it doesn't connect you to voters
  3. the plurality at the primary is a problem
If we didn't do signatures, we wouldn't be able to advance.  If you advance the Wright Bishop ticket through the primary because we are already on the ballot, we can win.  For 7 years, everyone in the party has been trying to get rid of SB54.  They may win the battle but lose the war.  The reason Jon Huntsman can't get signatures is that Wright Bishop team got them first.

Can you increase your support?  How much money can you raise?  Greg Hughes is up 16%. 
We all have different strategies.  Greg's name ID poll was done electronically and is a name ID poll and is flawed.  35-50% are still undecided.  An electronic poll that is done online that can be stacked. Our Phase 1 of the campaign was gathering signatures and it does nothing to connect you to voters.  Phase 2: compete in caucus/convention.  Phase 3: take the war chest and build the numbers with primary voters.  When there are 8 people in the field.

2nd Amendment: Unabashed supporters. Gun owner.  Any encroachment on 2A is a non-starter.  I don't believe in doing things that you are creating optics with red flag laws that claim to protect public safety.
Bishop: 2A is an individual right to self defense. needs to be seen as an individual right.

Executive order: When this crisis is over and the world will have changed.  I feel bad for those who have suffered physically and economically.  But it's also a problem for the government.  Everything is being done is being done by executive order.  We will make sure that every executive order is repealed.  And then work with the legislature so that they are involved in that.  Emergency powers under very vague laws.  It takes very special people that once you exercise those laws, to give that power back.  It can't just be downloaded from one branch.  I think we're creeping up to a line where we're getting to a really dangerous place.  I'm very uncomfortable with government in general knowing where we are.  I don't want to live in a surveillance state.  When Obama used his executive orders in the last part of his administration, he used vague areas of the law.  I think we need to narrow what is allowed via executive branch.  Even for Obama, when he was doing his executive orders, the courts did knock him down.  But there was enough gray areas because Congress wasn't specific enough.

General comment on your perspective on health care.  45 years in health insurance industry, and I've watched healthcare system be dismantled and we essentially have a government run health care system.  I know what it looks like to be in a free market system.
The problem with having no insurance wasn't that we didn't have access problems but affordability.  Now with ACA, we have less access as well as less affordability.  People don't know where the money is being spent, we would be getting more efficiency and accountability if we know of where the money is being spent. People need to be able to choose where they can get health care and then we need to understand what costs are associated with the health care provided. Rob: the only thing that can control costs is the marketplace.  Need to start over.  How do we get there?

Pro-life Utah: Most GOP politicians will say they are pro-life.  What does that mean to you?  And if you are elected governor, what would be different after your tenure.
Always been pro-life. Life begins at conception.  Unapologetic about it.  Locally and in state government, to support legislation to define what it is and to outlaw it.  Just have to keep taking that fight to the people who want to work against it.  When do rights begin?  When do human rights begin?  You have to be fighting for the rights of unborn.  Sometimes we take a defensive position on the pro-life.  we need to play offense and be unapologetic.  

How do you overturn Roe v. Wade and what is the state's role?
All i can do is let people know that Utah is unapologetic on where we stand on abortion and you can lead other governors and other states.   I think that the Right to Life March was 2500. That's awesome.  Let's go for 5000 next year.
Rob: Working with the legislature, I would never argue NOT to do something that would make Utah a test case.

Utah tends to be a little bit chicken and we see other conservative states taking a stand.  We'd like to know how courageous are you willing to be on this issue?  One of the frustrations with Family Watch Intl is that oftentimes issues will come up that will impact the gay community, and we find that our leaders listen to Equality Utah and they never listen to Family Watch or reach out.  It seems very lop-sided.  Looking for commitment to listen and champion the pro-family groups, and not give in to the bully tactics in the opposition. 
Rob: Seen environmentalists always had an open door from the Sec. of Interior, etc.  I realize what it means is having an open door that is not open to everyone.  Equality Utah should be able to make their case and have their say but not at the expense of everyone else. We want to make sure when we need to create statutes that don't discriminate against and harm people.  And we don't want to make some people helped by harming "others".

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