Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blogger call with Dan Liljenquist, candidate for U.S. Senate


I've posted previously about my support for former State Senator Dan Liljenquist, who is challenging Senator Orrin Hatch for his seat on the United States Senate. Last Saturday at our state republican convention, Senator Liljenquist got enough votes to push Senator Hatch into his first ever primary. Or as I like to say it, Senator Hatch did not get enough votes to avoid a primary for the first time since he was elected 36 years ago. This is major. It really shows that Dan is a viable candidate with great ideas.

Today I got a chance to participate in a blogger call with Dan. I asked him two questions, and I would like to share his answers with you.

Senator Liljenquist is well known in Utah for his ground breaking work on state pension and Medicaid reforms. I have family members, both state retirees, who say they won't consider voting for him because of the pension reforms. I asked Dan specifically about firefighter pensions. A family member has expressed concern that his pension, earned as a firefighter, was changed or lost, because firefighters' money, which was to be separate from the rest of state pension money, was caught up with regular state pensions and in effect "stolen" from them. Here is the answer:

For current state retirees (current as in retired before July 1, 2011) nothing was changed. The existing money for firefighters was left in place. In addition, fire insurance tax paid by homeowners is still directed only to the firefighters. This means they still have and receive money separate from other state employees. I consider this to be fair, because firefighters risk their lives on a regular basis.

The second question I asked Dan has to do with Supreme Court nominees. Last week I saw a Today show interview with Senator Hatch which didn't sit well. He mentioned "hearing" that Hilary Clinton may be a future Supreme Court nominee, and went on to express his admiration for her and said how much she had done for Democrats. He said he likes her. I am not a Hilary Clinton fan and do not believe she would do the job in the way the country needs. I asked Dan about Supreme Court nominees and his take on the process. I really liked his answer:

"Congress has a role to advise and consent." He expressed the opinion that Senator Hatch has played in to the role Congress has taken up lately, and that is to DEFER to the President. Congress has given up too much power in a lot of ways, and this is one of them. Recent Presidents have chosen nominees, and Congress hasn't done much but go along with them. In relation to the state of the Supreme Court, Senator Liljenquist talked about the issue of the Right to Bear Arms, which came to a vote in the Supreme Court and was narrowly passed by a one vote margin. In his words, this is scary! It shows how liberal the Supreme Court has become, due to Presidential nominees and Congress deferring to them. Senator Liljenquist believes that this is one area where Congress must take back the power that was afforded to them in our Constitution. This is one reason why "It's Time!" for new leadership in Washington.

In this call, Dan also expressed one of his reasons for running for the U.S. Senate. He said, "In the Utah Legislature, we do not have the relationship with Senator Hatch that we should have." In other words, they do not feel the support of Senator Hatch like they should. I was unaware of this fact, but I can't say that it really surprised me. As our Senator from Utah, Senator Hatch should have more of a presence here than he does.

Another important quote from Senator Liljenquist: "I am a States' Rights guy and a 10th Amendment guy." 

As you think about the upcoming primary between Orrin Hatch and Dan Liljenquist, I hope this helps you be more informed before you vote. To find out more about Dan, visit his website by clicking on the link at the top of this post. To make a donation to Dan's campaign (which is really needed to combat the MILLIONS already spent by the Hatch campaign), click on the widget to the right.

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