Ladies and Gentlemen, we are facing the toughest challenge of our lifetimes – restoring faith and trust in our government. If we fail at this challenge, every other issue we have been discussing won’t matter.
As I get to know my fellow candidates, I see six other people running for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, each who would make an excellent representative for the People of Utah. But if I were out there with you, I would recognize the one candidate who is clearly out of place – and that candidate would be me.
That’s because I am not a polished career politician who is merely taking the next step on the political ladder. Nor am I someone who has spent a lifetime preparing to serve (I’ve already spent a lifetime serving my country, as did my father and his father before him). And am I not a wealthy business owner who is looking for another challenge in my life. In fact, I have not sought in the past, nor will I seek in the future any political office other than the office I’m seeking now – a seat in United States Congress.
I’m simply the candidate we’ve been demanding for many years – someone just like each of you – someone who is struggling paycheck to paycheck, a paycheck that is being plundered by an out-of-control government to provide for those who refuse to lift a finger, let alone struggle. I’m someone who is scrimping to save for my children’s education… someone who is sacrificing now to have a comfortable retirement and never be a burden to my children and grandchildren – and more importantly, who will never have to rely on government handouts.
I am the candidate who is not following the template of what a candidate must do in order to be elected to public office. I am not spending time in Washington seeking endorsements of current or past career politicians – some of the very career politicians mind you, who got us into this mess in the first place – endorsements given in exchange for assurances to current Congressional leadership that, despite promises I make to Utah families and small businesses, I can be counted on to abandon them and toe the Congressional line. Therefore, if Congressional leaders are looking to vet candidates who will fall in line and agree to “pie in the sky” compromises only to be let down time and time again, you are looking at the wrong candidate.
Because I will NEVER vote in favor of increasing taxes on Utah families and small businesses. I will NEVER vote in favor of a budget that is not balanced, but instead fraught with more reckless deficit spending, I will NEVER vote in favor of a “just this one last time” increase in the debt ceiling, and I will NEVER agree to unanimous consent on legislation important to the American people because we want to be home for Christmas.
I am not the candidate who accepts the same old conventional political wisdom that, in order to be elected, I must prove to the State and National Party that I am effective at raising large contributions from special interests, lobbyists, and wealthy donors who are certainly NOT in the habit of contributing out of the kindness in their hearts without a return on their investment. And I am fundamentally opposed to separating like-minded Utahns and grassroots supporters from large amounts of their hard-earned money, especially when my sole purpose in running for office in the first place, is to help Utah families and small businesses keep more of the money they earn.
I AM the candidate who believes that, in order to restore faith and trust in government, he must represent by example.
First, I believe that a representative should NEVER serve in Congress with the intention of benefitting financially. For example, Congressional salaries are now about three times the income of average Americans. Many candidates promise to support legislation to reduce Congressional salaries and benefits. That’s fine if you can get the other 434 representatives to agree… figure the odds.
Now, in addition to being a retired Navy officer, I’m currently employed and earn a pretty good living as an airline pilot with United Airlines. Though I’m limited to my union negotiated salary (about half the salary of a Congressman), it’s adequate to support my family. And like most Utahns in our depressed economy, I’m happy just to have a job. If elected to Congress, I promise that I will contribute every penny of my Congressional salary more than I would have made that year with my current employer, to my two favorite charities – the Wounded Warrior Project, and Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Secondly, I find it troubling to learn that many members of Congress have positioned themselves to receive two or even more taxpayer funded federal pensions resulting from national public or military service (and this doesn’t include pensions they may also receive from serving State or local political office). I believe that NO ONE should receive more than one taxpayer-funded pension. I will submit legislation to put an end to the federally funded Congressional defined benefit pension plan in favor of a 401(k) plan much like most receive in the private sector, with a provision that federal matching funds be forfeited by representatives who choose an alternate taxpayer funded pension.
Regardless of any proposed legislation, I promise that I personally will NEVER accept a taxpayer-funded pension resulting from Congressional service, but will instead opt in to the retirement benefits I earned over 26 years of military service and will receive upon reaching age 60.
Third, Congressional representatives and their families receive superior, fully paid medical benefits for life. I promise that I will NEVER accept medical benefits that are superior to those I now purchase and receive through my employer (Blue Cross/Blue Shield), or as a result of my military service (Tricare for Life), or that are mandated to Utahns by the government (ObamaCare).
Fourth, Congressional representatives have no restrictions on personal financial investments made utilizing information learned while conducting their legislative duties (insider trading). I promise that I will NEVER make any financial investments while a member of Congress, and I will support legislation that prohibits members of Congress from utilizing information in financial trading or investing not available to the public.
Finally, I promise that I will NEVER propose or support legislation aimed at citizens and the private sector that does not have equal or greater regulatory or enforcement action on the federal government and members of Congress.
It is said that a candidate for public office must “NEVER say NEVER,” lest their political career end much sooner than expected. Well, since I have already committed to a target of two, but absolutely no more than three two-year terms, and since I have promised that I will NEVER seek further political office, any political future for me has already been defined. Therefore, I have used the word “NEVER” many times over the course of this writing and have absolutely no excuse for breaking a promise.
So, if the day ever comes that I bow to political pressure and break a promise to the People of Utah, that day will be my last in Congress – the People of Utah will immediately have my resignation. And that is a promise.