Real Women Run Training

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I recently joined the Organizing Committee of a fantastic organization called Real Women Run.  Real Women Run is a non-partisan collaborative initiative aiming to empower women to participate in civic leadership through elected public office, engagement on public issues, serving on boards, commissions, or participating in campaigns.  Partners include the YWCA Utah, Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, Salt Lake Community College, Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah Valley University, Walker Institute of Politics at Weber State University, Vision 2020, AAUW, League of Women Voters of Utah. 

Part of their efforts include training for women interested in leadership in the public sphere.  The recent training on January 17 included a dynamite opening session with Mayors from around the state.  Pictured above is the “Mayors Cup” panel, which included from the left in front, Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini, Perry Mayor Karen Cronin, Former Kaysville Mayor Neka Roundy, and Vernal Mayor Sonja Norton.  It was fascinating to learn from their experiences and perspective.  A favorite quote from the morning came from Mayor Seghini who is frequently asked why she decided to run for Mayor.  Her response:  “Because I knew I’d do the best job.”  Well said.  

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Other panels included discussions on the impact on families when running for office, how faith is encompassed in the decision to run and serve in public office, and issue-based advocacy as a springboard for public involvement.   I served on the faith based panel, see above, representing the LDS faith, along with House colleagues Rep. Patrice Arent (representing the Jewish faith) and Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (representing the Espiscopalian faith).  I loved hearing how commitment to faith enhanced and inspired each of us in our journey in public office.  

My husband, John, served on the family impact panel, see below, along with Jenny Wilson, daughter of former SLC Mayor Ted Wilson, Morgan Lyon Cotti, daughter of former Utah Representative Nancy Lyon, and Bluffdale City Councilwoman Heather Pehrson.   

The entire training was fantastic and if you’re interested in getting involved, at any level, now or in the future, please look into this organization and get involved.  The next training will be on Saturday, March 28, and I’d love to see you there!  Contact me if you need more information.  

 

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Balanced Budget Amendment

Senator John Kasich, Ohio

This past week Representative Kraig Powell hosted an intimate meeting of Utah legislators with Ohio Governor John Kasich where the Balanced Budget Amendment was discussed.  Gov. Kasich can be seen on the right at the head of far end of the table.  Rep. Powell is to the left.  There are many compelling arguments for supporting the Convention for Proposing Amendments and it is certainly something we will continue to discuss as a legislature, especially as we will be voting on bills this session dealing with this issue.  An excellent explanation of why a Balanced Budget Amendment is important and how it would help rein in America’s $18 trillion debt comes from the www.balancedbudgetforever.com website.  It is copied below.  I’m interested to hear from you as to how you feel about the issue of US debt, how to curb the spending and balance the budget, and is the time right for Utah to support a resolution calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment and a Convention for Proposing Amendments to the Constitution if Congress continues to fail to act on this important issue.  More extensive information can be found on the website above.

It takes 34 states to call for an Article V Convention and 38 states to ratify a constitutional amendment. Approximately 24 states have resolutions calling for an Article V Convention to enact a balanced budget amendment. Since Ohio passed its balanced budget amendment in 2013, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan and Louisiana have passed similar resolutions.

Kasich has been working with advocates for a balanced budget amendment in hopes of keeping the momentum strong this year in other states. Recently, Congress has taken note of the growing momentum for a balanced budget requirement and passed an amendment by Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers that creates a system for the House to track, document and count incoming Article V Constitutional Convention petitions from the states.

While a member of Congress, Kasich supported a federal balanced budget amendment and, as chair of the House Budget Committee, successfully led efforts to balance the federal budget in fiscal years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001, the first balanced budgets since 1969. Kasich inherited an historic $8 billion budget shortfall upon taking office as governor in 2011 but worked with the General Assembly to overcome it without a tax increase and without drastic cuts to state services. Instead, Ohio tackled key reforms in key programs like Medicaid, reining in spending while improving the quality of care to vulnerable Ohioans.

For more information, please visit our website at: www.BalancedBudgetForever.com 

 

 

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Utah State Prison Tour

As part of the monthly Utah Department of Heritage and Arts Multicultural Commission, which occasionally travels to different sites for their meetings, I was able to attend a tour of the Utah State Prison.  One of the items of focus for the Commission is the ethnic minority incarcerated population.

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We were privileged to hear from a panel of offenders, each of whom shared a little of their background and experiences which led them to a prison sentence.  Most interesting was the age at which they all felt their life experiences began to “turn bad” on them.  It was around age 10-11.  This has important implications for outreach and prevention efforts for substance use, gangs, and academic engagement.  Additionally, we saw a musical/dance presentation by ethnic groups within the offenders representing Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.  Ties to the outside, including family and cultural groups, can be a significant factor in successful rehabilitation and it was great to see the prison supportive of those positive connections in their environment.

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We were also able to tour the prison infirmary, which holds 18 beds, and treats a population of just over 4000.  They are significantly understaffed and deal with all the medical problems a small city of adults who have comorbidities and health concerns related to poor chronic health and substance use.  We visited several dormitory style units in the buildings that are probably first on the list of those needing refurbishment or rebuilding.  The prison move continues to be discussed and being able to visit with Warden Crowther of the Utah State Prison helped me understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in a potential move.

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Women in Government

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Early in January I was sworn in as the Utah State Director of the Women in Government organization, a national non-partisan group working towards all women legislators (a body of 1,785 nationwide) effecting good state policy.  I was able to attend a training conference in  Florida where the focus was on innovative ways to strengthen policies regarding economic stability, higher education, child well-being measures via KIDS COUNT policy reports, and energy diversity.  We also met in breakout sessions with our respective regions: West, Midwest, South, and East. Identified as high priority items for future discussions included healthcare cost containment, job creation, transportation infrastructure, and higher education programs for working adults.  I’m pleased to have this opportunity to serve in this capacity and provide resources, quality data, and training opportunities to the ten women in the Utah State House and six women in the Utah State Senate.

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Education Town Hall

2015 brings a new year with all sorts of possibilities and opportunities for learning and growth.  I’ve had several experiences this month that have added to my understanding on important issues.  I’ll address each of these in separate posts.  The first was an Education Town Hall.

Education Town Hall

Several of my legislative colleagues and I hosted an Education Town Hall at Bountiful City Hall on Jan. 15.  We had almost 150 people turn out to share their ideas and concerns about education in Davis County.  Joining Sen. Stuart Adams, Sen. Todd Weiler, Rep. Ray Ward, and Rep. Tim Hawkes were Davis Superintendent Bryan Bowles, Davis School Board members Larry Smith and Julie Tanner, and State School Board member Laura Belnap.

Education Town Hall Jan. 2015

The main issues discussed were:

A.  Importance of local control of both curriculum and implementation of standards and testing.

B.  Use of technology in classrooms, including one-to-one devices.

C.  Student testing — frequency, cost, results validity, also safety of saved student information.

D.  Class size, school funding formula, teacher salary.

E.  State school board selection.

F.  Teacher workload, performance pay, grading.

G.  School grading.

H. Ways parents can impact quality of the school system for their children.

These are all important issues and I appreciate the many parents, grandparents, teachers, and even a few students, who made time to attend the Town Hall.  As is always the case I learned a lot from the individual experiences and perspectives shared.  This legislative session I’m very pleased to begin serving on the Public Education Appropriations Committee and to delve into the funding structure for K-12 education.  A primer on Public Education Funding was prepared by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst.  It is informative, especially for those who want to see what has happened to the tax effort going to Utah students through the years.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s that time of year where candidates are gearing up for the County and State party Conventions.  While I am running for re-election, I do not have a Republican opponent and as a result I have become the Republican candidate for the Utah State House, District 20, in the general election in November.

However, at the Caucus night held last week delegates were elected to get to know and vote on candidates in County and State wide races.  I respect and welcome the involvement of those delegates and appreciate their efforts to represent their neighbors in this important process.  Even though as the Republican nominee I will not be up for a vote by County delegates at this years Davis County Republican Convention I still value the opportunity to meet and hear from the delegates in my area.

To that end, I’m pleased to invite County Delegates for Legislative District 20 to attend any or all of the following events.  I look forward to the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your concerns and ideas.

 

Saturday, March 29, “Pancakes and Politics”

8:00-9:30 am, my home, 1121 Eaglewood Loop, North Salt Lake

 

Tuesday, April 1, “Pizza and Politics”

7:00-8:30 pm, my home, 1121 Eaglewood Loop, North Salt Lake

 

Monday, April 7, “Family Night at the Capitol”

7:00-8:30 pm, meet at the Utah State Capitol Rotunda

You bring your family and I’ll provide the tour and family night treats.

 

Please contact me at utahbecky@gmail.com or 801-808-0805 with any questions or concerns.

Thank you to those who are serving as a delegate representing your neighborhood!

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End of Session Newsletter

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about legislation, appropriations, and policy process, all in one place:  Week Seven — End of the Legislative Session Newsletter.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting an in-depth analysis of the Top Ten legislative issues for the 2014 session, one issue at a time.  Check back tomorrow for the first item on the docket:  Air Quality.

 

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Day 45 — Playing favorites

My favorite constituent spends the last night of the legislative session with me up at the Capitol.

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Day 44 — Goodnight moon

Catching moonlight at the beginning and end of your work day tells you one thing…..it’s the last week of the session.  Enough said.

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Newsletters

Hello! Just in case you missed the last two newsletters, you can see them here:

Week Five

Week Six

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