I had the pleasure of attending two political conventions last week. One of which was the Republicans on Tuesday and the Democrats on Friday evening. It is great to see the political process work at the grassroots level in the county. One thing I observed disturbed me though, and this is what I feel was the preferential treatment of one political candidate over the others.
On April 13 at the Republican convention there was an agenda for the evening and a schedule of when the various candidates would speak and also an appointed time to elect delegates. The county chairman deviated from this agenda and let a second congressional candidate, John Swallow, speak out of turn. The reason stated at the meeting was he had to fly somewhere. I just assumed he had an emergency or was dealing with a personal matter. This was not the case, he flew to another county convention, this one in San Juan County.
Being a politician must be a scheduling nightmare, but I think in this particular case the scheduling was done for and around the candidate giving him an unfair advantage over the other candidates. On this night there were two county conventions and also a governor's candidate debate up north. The candidates had to make a choice concerning which convention they would attend and where they would send their representative.
Gov. Olene Walker chose to attend the Emery County Republican Convention as did other governor's candidates, Fred Lampropoulos, John Huntsman, Jr. and the other candidates were represented as well. In the second congressional district race, David Wilde attended for the entire evening as did Jeff Durrant, the representative from the Tim Bridgewater campaign. Gov. Walker spoke last at the convention and I know her time is just as important as Mr. Swallow's time. This whole incident is hard for me to swallow.
I feel Swallow should have chosen on this evening which convention he would attend and he should not have been allowed the privilege of speaking out of turn at one convention so that he might have time to get to the other. This was disturbing to me, because I feel he should have been treated as all the other candidates who stayed at the convention and spoke at their appointed times.
I would like to contrast this to the Democratic Convention. Right from the very beginning we understood that all of the candidates present would be leaving the Emery County Democratic Convention after they spoke to attend the Carbon County convention which had been arranged at a later time to allow all of the Democratic candidates to do so. Rep. Jim Matheson, Sen. Mike Dmitrich, Rep. Brad King, Paul Van Dam's representative, Greg Skortas, and others spoke and then left to attend the Carbon convention. Scott Matheson Jr. also attended the Emery County Democratic Convention.
Everything was above board and everyone was given the same advantage to be able to attend both conventions.
I know the political season can get very ugly as candidates pit themselves against each other and try to convince us who we should vote for. While I'm at it, I might as well get another matter I was recently annoyed with out in the open. The Emery County Progress received a letter to the editor signed by local Republican party leaders which stated their case on how they felt about the job Rep. Jim Matheson has done in Congress. We later found out this letter was not generated by our local Republican party leaders, but had come from the campaign headquarters of John Swallow and our people had signed their name to it. I was disturbed by this, I took the matter at face value that the local Republican leaders had written the letter. We later learned that this letter was also sent to a number of other newspapers with local signatures and the same letter.
I do not like the newspaper to be used by people. I try to maintain a balance and be as fair and impartial as I am capable. I do have a personal opinion, which I do not voice, nor will I, my choices will be made at the polls when we have the opportunity to vote. I hate being duped, I know I am far too trusting, but my philosophy has always been to trust until the object of my trust proves to not be trustworthy.
I feel local Republicans who signed that letter owe me and the citizens of Emery County an apology.