April 22, 2023 – Orem, Utah
I arrived at Convention 2 ½ hours early to get credentialed and help distribute flyers providing information and promoting certain desired outcomes to the arriving delegates. I was shocked when I was told, after allowing my drivers license to be scanned, I wasn’t in the database as a delegate, so I was sent to the HELP DESK. After rounding the corner, I stood in a line for 20 minutes before I made the desk. Once there, I waited for another 10 minutes and was told there was no one from my county to help me. Eventually I was led away from the HELP DESK to a dark corner where my county secretary was waiting to help. I was eventually found on the database (thank you Weber Party Secretary) and issued my credentials (unfortunately, because of the delay, I was unable to fulfill my earlier volunteer commitments). There are ~5,000 delegates in the whole state, a relatively small database to manage. When I made this observation, I was told by a nice woman, sorry, I am a volunteer. I understood her frustration and reminded her, as a delegate, I was a volunteer as well.
Once in the Convention Hall, I found a seat in my county’s designated section. I was not surprised to find my county’s section as far from the stage as possible (see photo at top). As long as I have been involved with the Party, my county’s designated section has always been as far from the stage (and microphones) as possible. I have reasons to believe why this is true but will save that discussion for another time.
Upon arriving, I immediately tried to locate the microphones. My repeated questions to the convention authorities, regarding where the delegates can speak, were received with blank stares. Eventually I was told there would be 4 microphones, two in the middle of the Convention Hall and two in the back (near our county section). I was ecstatic as I planned on getting to that microphone on a couple of occasions.
When the convention started, there were no microphones in the back. All four were in the middle. I only had half the convention hall to navigate to get to the microphone so I was limited in what debates I could participate in as the lines were longer than the allotted time to speak. My motion to extend debate was of course denied by delegates apparently unwilling to engage in debate, the very purpose of why we were all there.
The convention was stated with a prayer and pledge to the flag followed by a great rendition of our National Anthem. When our guest speaker was announced the delegates went wild. You see, the UTGOP had to go well outside of Utah to find a REAL Republican to address the delegates and he didn’t disappoint. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was on his game, in fact I am sure his address, as delivered, was a Presidential Campaign speech! For almost an hour the Florida Governor demonstrated how his conservative approach to the woke Democrats has worked so well in Florida. It was red meat for the hungry delegates. There wasn’t a better contrast to conservative state leadership than hearing from Governor Cox following Governor DeSantis opening remarks.
Now that most of the delegate’s appetites were met, they were eager to get to business. However, getting to business was unnecessarily delayed by a presiding officer unfamiliar with the procedures we use to conduct our affairs while the Parliamentarian sat there...seemingly unconscious.
Our Party Chair, who ran the meeting, seemed to be announcing a Rodeo rather than conducting a deliberative assembly. I like our Party Chair, and I think he has done a good job for the last 2 years under heavy pressure from the ugly Trans-Republican establishment that governs our state. But this was not his finest hour.
Next, we heard from the candidates running for Party Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. The Chair and Vice Chair ran unopposed. It is hard to believe that a conservative state of over 700,000 registered Republicans couldn’t find more than one person interested in leading the Party. This may be a trend as just a month ago the very same thing happened at my County Convention. Our entire leadership team ran unopposed. Again, it is hard to believe that in a county of 54,000 registered Republicans, not one Republican was willing to put their hat in the ring. Why do you suppose? I will speculate that the Party is losing the interest of conservative voters because most elected Republican’s are unwilling to govern conservatively.
The Vote was next but even that simple concept was mutilated. The SCC, as defined in our State Party Constitution, “is the governing body of the Party” (which means it makes decisions) while the Convention Committee, as a standing committee, is a “recommendation only body" (which means it makes no decisions).
The SCC debated and voted to have paper ballots at convention and erroneously “recommended” to the Convention Committee to get it done. This was the highest form of negligence by our SCC who conceded their authority by “recommending” rather than “directing” the Convention Committee. So, the Convention Committee ignored the SCC and made the decision to go with electronic voting, using your own device to log onto a foreign country’s server to vote. THE TAIL CONTINUES TO WAG THE DOG. Rather than getting clear instructions on the vote from the SCC, Delegates were forced into a debate on how to vote...
During this fiasco, many delegates fought to use paper ballots and even had sequentially numbered ballots pre-printed for the occasion. They secured ballot boxes and enough volunteers to conduct the election. They even agreed to work with the Convention Committee in conducting the election. In a massive display of ignorance, a majority of delegates supported online voting using your own device to log onto a foreign server in order to vote. In fairness, the Convention Committee also provided a way to vote using a connection available to cast your vote without using your own device (how I exercised my vote). However, I discovered later that if I wanted to confirm my vote was recorded accurately, I still had to log onto a foreign server to do so. I refused. The last time this was tried at an SCC meeting, our phones were hacked, and it resulted in a lawsuit against the vendor and the Party.
After the vote for party leadership, came the agenda item to change our State Party Constitution. This was another disaster as it was not properly vetted before coming before the delegates. You see, the Party has “lifers,” WITHOUT TERM LIMITS, conducting the affairs of the Constitution & Bylaw (C&B) committee whose purpose is to screen proposals submitted by the State Central Committee (SCC) for consideration. Again, as defined in our State Party Constitution, the SCC “is the governing body of the Party” while the C&B, as a standing committee, is a “recommendation only body.” Therefore, C&B makes no decisions, only recommendations to the SCC. Well, apparently that doesn’t matter to the “lifers” on C&B because the only constitutional amendment considered at convention was authored by one of its members, without direction from the SCC, and, as I said, it was a disaster. The delegates smelled blood in the water. This attempt was a county problem seeking a state solution by changing our constitution and it was concocted behind the closed doors of the C&B committee. The delegates correctly shut it down.
Next, the delegates considered the two resolutions on the agenda. One of which was properly submitted but not properly noticed. The party admitted it was responsible for it failing to make the agenda and the Chair, somewhere between announcing bull riding and barrel racing, said the Party emailed it out after the official agenda was properly noticed so it’s OK to consider it. Again, the Parliamentarian...was seemingly unconscious.
The resolution in support of the original Utah Flag, to continue to be displayed at all Party functions and events, passed overwhelmingly. This resolution was a strong message to our Republican Majority State Legislators, who wasted time and money on creating a new flag even though ~70% of Utah voters were against it!
The resolution in support of directing the State Legislature to rescind SB-54 was also overwhelmingly passed. Again, this was a strong message to our Republican Majority State Legislators who voted to unconstitutionally change the way Republicans get on the ballot.
The newly elected Party leadership and those politicians who had the microphone all professed an allegiance to our conservative values and principles as outlined in our Party Platform. As Republicans, we will all be better off when these folks put their proverbial money where their mouth is...and govern conservatively. We’ll see...