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Congratulations to my Winning friends

Congratulations to friends of Patrick Davis Consulting on their victories on Election Day:

Congressman-elect Kevin Cramer, North Dakota

Congressman-elect Steve Daines, Montana

Attorney General-elect Tim Fox, Montana

Governor Jack Dalrymple and Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley, North Dakota

Congressman Mike Coffman, Colorado 06

State Senator Dan Lederman, South Dakota

Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen, South Dakota

State Represenative Amy Stephens, Colorado

LR120 “Parental Notification” in Montana

Strong Utah PAC

Senator Orrin Hatch, Utah

Mia Love and Orrin Hatch running as fiscal hawks…

Hatch Releases Report Detailing Threat of $4.4 Trillion Public Pension Debt

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: January 10:  U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today released a comprehensive report, State and Local Government Defined Benefit Pension Plans: The Pension Debt Crisis that Threatens America, outlining the financial risks of the nation’s $4.4 trillion public pension debt and its negative impact on the American economy.

“This report highlights the fiscal threat posed by public pension programs in states across America. Today, public pension debt stands at an alarming $4.4 trillion with outstanding state and local municipal debt at nearly $3 trillion,” said Hatch. “The public pension crisis plaguing our nation demands a real solution.  Over the coming weeks, I will be putting forward ideas to reform public pension programs in a meaningful way that doesn’t leave taxpayers on the hook.”

The Hatch report provides an in-depth analysis of how the unfunded pension liabilities of state and local governments jeopardize the fiscal solvency of states and municipalities as well as the nation’s long-term fiscal health, including the U.S. credit rating.

According to the report, over the past two years, there has been an unprecedented level of state legislative activity involving changes to defined pension benefits, with 40 states implementing 48 new reform laws. To date, however, state and local pension plans remain dangerously underfunded. Today, pension debt stands at $4.4 trillion with outstanding state and local municipal bond debt at another $2.9 trillion. The report further noted that 31 states have funding ratios lower than 80 percent – the indicator of a sound pension plan. To date, 11 states are projected to have exhausted all of their pension assets by 2020.

The Hatch report recommends that any pension reform action taken by Congress achieve three goals: 1) affordability and cost certainty for taxpayers; 2) retirement income security for public employees; and 3) prevent federal bailout of states. More…

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Hatch Warns Bernanke of Fed Treading Too Far Into Fiscal Policy

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: January 10: U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today called on U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to preserve the Federal Reserve’s independence and refrain from advising on fiscal policy and suggesting ways to think about how to use taxpayer resources, which is the responsibility of Congress. In a letter to Bernanke, Hatch criticized a Federal Reserve recent white paper that offered recommendations to Congress on how to use taxpayer resources to address issues in the ailing housing market, for treading “too far into fiscal policy advice and advocacy.”

“I worry that the unveiling of your staff’s housing white paper, to ‘provide a framework for thinking’ treads too far into fiscal policy, and runs the risk of being perceived as advocacy for particular policy options.  I am sure that the Fed would not appreciate a white paper from Congress outlining how to think about and execute monetary policy,” wrote Hatch. “The Fed often blurred the distinction between monetary policy and fiscal policy during the financial crisis, and it is time to move back toward a clearer distinction between the two.  Public dissemination of your staff’s recent housing white paper is a move in the wrong direction.” More…

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In Letter to Treasury, Hatch Requests Information on “Extraordinary Measures” It Can Take Before Debt Limit Reached

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: January 12: In a letter today, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, called on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to provide detailed information regarding the extraordinary measures it will have to take to ensure that the nation’s debt remains at or below the limit. Hatch’s letter comes on the heels of the Obama Administration’s request to Congress today to raise the nation’s debt limit.
Last year, during the debt ceiling debate, Hatch wrote to the eight members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSCO), the group charged with monitoring the financial stability of the nation, asking for detailed information about how much money the Treasury Department has and requested a detailed contingency plan if the nation would ever default or face a downgrade of its credit rating. The Treasury Department did not fully provide Hatch with the information he requested. More…

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Hatch Outraged at White House Decision to Circumvent Senate, Appoint Regulatory Chief

January 4: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “This is a very grave decision by this heavy-handed, autocratic White House.  Circumventing the Senate and tossing out decades of precedent to appoint an unaccountable czar to appease its liberal base is beneath the Office of the President.  The legislative branch exists as a check and a balance on the Executive.  By opening this door, the White House is saying it can appoint any person at any time to any position it chooses without the advice and consent of the Senate.  This is not how our Republic was designed to function. The American people deserve to be treated with more respect than this White House is affording them with this blatant power grab.  Senators of both parties should be deeply troubled the President’s actions today – actions which will come back to haunt them. ” More…

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Hatch on President Circumventing Senate on National Labor Relations Board

January 4: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Today, the White House doubled down on its assault on the Constitution’s separation of powers – circumventing the people’s representatives in Congress – by not only appointing a new regulatory czar, but also new bureaucrats to the National Labor Relations Board to placate its big labor allies.  The President put his own political future and the radical views of his far-left base ahead of constitutional government. The President will have to answer to the American people for this power grab.” More…

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Hatch, 34 Colleagues Lay Case for Why Partisan Health Law Should Fall in Brief to Supreme Court

January 6: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a current member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined 34 Senate colleagues in filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the constitutional challenge to last year’s health law.  This brief argues that, if the Court finds the insurance mandate unconstitutional, it cannot be severed from the rest of the statute and that the entire law must be struck down in its entirety.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to consider several key issues in this case is welcome news for the American people and for the U.S. Constitution,” Hatch said.  “I have long argued that the federal government cannot force Americans to purchase something they do not want.  This partisan federal takeover of our health care system rests on an unconstitutional foundation and, as we argue in this brief to the Supreme Court, the entire law should fall.”

Hatch was the first Senator publicly to argue, in September 2009, that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to require that Americans purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty. Last year and again this year, Hatch introduced the American Liberty Restoration Act (S. 19) which would repeal the unconstitutional individual insurance mandate being challenged in this lawsuit. Twenty-two Senators have so
far co-sponsored the bill, which is endorsed by groups such as NFIB and the National Retail Federation.  More…

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Hatch Statement on the President’s Political Decision to Change Immigration Rules

January 6: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “We are a proud nation of immigrants and also a country that respects the rule of law,” Hatch said. “Unfortunately, the President has opted to change long-standing immigration policy to score cheap political points and reward those who have come to our great country illegally. We need a President who is interested in working with Congress to find a comprehensive immigration solution that respects the rule of law, not a President solely focused on what policies best appeal to his political base.” More…

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Hatch, Chaffetz Call for Army Corps of Engineers to Approve Permitting for Road Connecting Sevier and Emery Counties

January 9: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): In the letter, Hatch and Chaffetz note that because it involves federal lands, a comprehensive review process must be complete. However, the letter notes that “Both the BLM and the USFS have completed these review processes.” Additionally, the letter states that “The Forest Supervisor for the Fishlake National Forest and the Richfield Field Office Manager for the BLM each issued favorable Records of Decision in 2006, making Forest Service and BLM rights-of-way 100 percent ready for project implementation.”

To read the full letter, please click HERE. More…

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Hatch, Others Denounce Salazar’s Decision to Ban Uranium Mining in Northern Arizona

January 9: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Today’s announcement by the Interior Department shows how much this Administration just doesn’t get it,” said Senator Orrin Hatch. “Mining this land poses no environmental threat and is expected to create thousands of jobs, but the Administration continues to pander to extremist environmentalists who oppose one of the cleanest sources of energy we have. I wish I could say today’s announcement comes as a surprise but sadly it’s just another sign that the Obama Administration is one of the most anti-American energy presidencies in history.”  More…

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Hatch Releases Report Detailing Threat of $4.4 Trillion Public Pension Debt

January 10: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today released a comprehensive report , State and Local Government Defined Benefit Pension Plans: The Pension Debt Crisis that Threatens America, outlining the financial risks of the nation’s $4.4 trillion public pension debt and its negative impact on the American economy.

“This report highlights the fiscal threat posed by public pension programs in states across America. Today, public pension debt stands at an alarming $4.4 trillion with outstanding state and local municipal debt at nearly $3 trillion,” said Hatch. “The public pension crisis plaguing our nation demands a real solution.  Over the coming weeks, I will be putting forward ideas to reform public pension programs in a meaningful way that doesn’t leave taxpayers on the hook.” More…

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Hatch Warns Bernanke of Fed Treading too Far Into Fiscal Policy

January 10: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “I worry that the unveiling of your staff’s housing white paper, to ‘provide a framework for thinking’ treads too far into fiscal policy, and runs the risk of being perceived as advocacy for particular policy options. I am sure that the Fed would not appreciate a white paper from Congress outlining how to think about and execute monetary policy,” wrote Hatch. “The Fed often blurred the distinction between monetary policy and fiscal policy during the financial crisis, and it is time to move back toward a clearer distinction between the two. Public dissemination of your staff’s recent housing white paper is a move in the wrong direction.” More…

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America’s Broken Tax System Needs An Overhaul In 2012

January 6: News: Hatch for Utah: Parades, parties and other festivities ushered in the arrival of 2012 in Utah and across the nation. Unfortunately, the New Year will be no cause for celebration unless we address the old problems left over from 2011 — our $15 trillion-plus national debt and runaway government spending.

During the past year, three things have become increasingly clear to me and other fiscal conservatives. First, the deficits being run up by this Administration and its spendthrift congressional allies are unsustainable; second, spending is at a historically high level and is stoking these deficits; and third, the tax hikes this President would like to impose would put tax revenues at near-historic peaks.

That is why during this year, as the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, I will continue to lead in the battle to balance the federal budget. Hardworking Utah families must live within their means, and they expect their government to do the same.

To achieve this, we must reduce deficits and debt through spending cuts. We also must act separately to promote tax reform. If we mix the two efforts, we run the risk of paving the way for a back-door tax hike, much as our President has tried to do. He would rather raise taxes and keep on spending, unfettered by any fiscal restraints. That is akin to tossing an anchor to someone who is drowning.

Indeed, a consensus has emerged that tax reform, done properly, is imperative if we are to get America’s fiscal house in order. That is why I will continue the fight this year to reform our nation’s broken tax system. In doing so, I will use the same three criteria former President Ronald Reagan laid out when he put tax reform on the table in 1984: fairness, growth and simplicity.

“Fair” is not an adjective that anyone could truthfully use to describe our current tax system, not when 51 percent of American households pay no federal income tax. As it now stands, our system encourages too many Americans to push for more government spending without any concomitant obligation to pay for that spending through income taxes. When fewer and fewer people are responsible for paying for more government, where will be the interest in reducing the size of government? Everyone should have some skin in the game, even if it is only a few dollars. More…

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Sen. Orrin Hatch Focuses On Three Priorities In The New Year

January 9: News: Hatch for Utah: Our nation is at a fork in the road.

On the left is the status quo of the past three years that brought us record high debt and deficits, the highest unemployment in decades and government intrusion into the lives of Americans like we’ve never seen before.

On the right, we have a path that restores America’s prosperity, strengthens our economy to ensure good paying jobs for current and future generations of Utahns and guarantees our country will remain the leader of the free world.

I’ve always chosen the path to the right, and as Congress comes back into session in the coming weeks, I wanted to share with you my priorities for the new year.

First and foremost is reining in runaway government spending. Our national debt is more than $15 trillion, up 42 percent from three years ago. The spending under this White House, including its ineffective trillion dollar stimulus, have only done one thing—added to our nation’s unsustainable debt.

That’s why I’ve long championed a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which would put meaningful constitutional restraints on the power of Washington to spend beyond its means. Only by addressing the real causes of our budget crisis can we restore some fiscal sanity to Washington. In 2012, I’m going to continue to push for a balanced budget amendment as I have every year in the Senate. I’ll also keep fighting against those in Washington who continue to push the failed borrow-and-spend economic policies. More…

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Hatch Receives Perfect Score From Nation’s Top Grassroots Organization Committed To Smaller Government And Free Enterprise

January 10: News: Hatch for Utah: Sen. Orrin Hatch was recognized today by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) a renowned national grassroots organization committed to smaller government and free enterprise, as one of only five United States Senators to receive a perfect 100-percent score on key economic votes cast during the first session of the 112th Congress. He joined Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) in receiving this prestigious A+ rating.

Some of the noted votes dealt with such issues as the 2012 appropriations bills, the budget, the repeal of ObamaCare, and ending ethanol subsidies.

“The 112th Congress is dealing with some of the most critical economic issues of many generations,” stated Hatch. “We must set our country on a better course of fiscal responsibility, less government, and above all else stop the insatiable spending that has defined Washington for far too long. I am working diligently to address these issues so that free enterprise can flourish and government will not be the answer to every challenge we face.”

To read more in-depth about this scorecard and how Members voted you can access it at http:///www.americansforprosperity.org/scorecard. More…

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2011’s Luckiest Candidates

National Journal: HotLine On Call: Julie Sobel: August 1: 4. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah: Hatch was another GOP senator in danger of a serious tea party challenge, particularly in the wake of former Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, losing the nomination at Utah’s 2010 convention. But specifically, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, appeared likely to mount a credible challenge from the right — until he suddenly announced he wouldn’t enter the race after all. Hatch’s well-stocked campaign coffers likely played a role in his would-be opponent’s decision.

Hatch is far from out of the woods — state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who has a compelling personal story and could command both tea party and establishment support, has said he is leaning toward a run and will announce in the new year. But for now, we’ll count Hatch as lucky for Chaffetz taking a pass on the race, and for Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, deciding to run for the House again after floating the idea of entering the Senate race. More…

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FEULNER: Congress’ performance in 2011

Washington Times: January 2: It’s hardly news that the American people are fedup with Congress. Public disapproval of the legislative branch is practically as old as the country itself, but lawmakers seemed to reach a new low in 2011.

One Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed that 1 out of 3 Americans considered the first session of the 112th Congress to be “below average”; another 42 percent said it was “one of the worst” in the institution’s 222-year history. A poll by CNN, meanwhile, found that only 41 percent think their representative should be re-elected – the first time that figure had dropped below 50 percent.

Is this distrust deserved? Let’s review some of the issues Congresshandled in 2011.

We’ll start with the positives:

1) A Balanced-Budget Amendment. This is the first shot in a long war to limit the size of government while making it virtually impossible to raise taxes to balance the budget.

The Senate recently had the opportunity to vote on a Balanced-Budget Amendment sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, one that would exempt Social Security despite the fact that this fast-growing entitlement is playing a huge role in our burgeoning national debt.

Mr. Udall’s proposal even threw in some class warfare. It would have enshrined the following provision in the U.S. Constitution: “Congressshall not pass any bill that provides a net reduction in individual income taxes for those with incomes over $1 million.” But it was soundly defeated with votes from both parties.

In the House, a version supported by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, also crashed and burned. Its major problem: It would have made it easier for Congress to resort to higher taxes to help balance the budget – or try to balance it, that is. Anyone who knows history can tell you that higher taxes inevitably lead to higher spending.

A stronger, sounder bill certainly would be a good thing. In the Senate, Sens. Orrin G. Hatch and Mike Lee, both Utah Republicans, sponsored one that sidestepped the pitfalls of the Udall-Goodlatte approach. (It was voted down as well.) But avoiding a tax-hiking Balanced-Budget Amendment definitely counts as a congressional positive. More…

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Would LDS Church influence Romney if president?

Salt Lake Tribune: January 1: Switzerland still welcomes tourists and investors from abroad, but no longer welcomes foreign missionaries. New employment rules that went into effect at the start of the new year ban religions from sending even unpaid missionaries to the small corner of Europe.

Thirteen members of Congress who are Mormon sent a letter to the Swiss ambassador, objecting to the ban and pleading for an exception.

“We respectfully request that senior leaders of the LDS Church be given the opportunity to discuss this matter at the highest levels of the Swiss government,” the letter, sent in late 2010, reads.

The Swiss ambassador sent a respectful, yet perfunctory, letter in response, and while some meetings took place, the rules went forward.

“To me that was very disappointing, and that battle may not be over yet,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

But for some, the fact that Mormon lawmakers waged the battle at all is troubling and they point to it as evidence that if elected president, Mitt Romney may use his post to promote his faith and protect its interests. More…

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$10 Million Campaign to Support Employee Rights Act

National Journal: Influence Alley: Andrew Joseph: January 5: Flip to page A5 of today’s New York Times and you’ll see a full-page color ad likening the rights of American union members to those of North Koreans. “In North Korea, people don’t get real change,” the ad states, along with a picture of the late Kim Jong Il and his successor Kim Jong Un. “American union members don’t either.”

The ad is part of a $10 million campaign by the Center for Union Facts in support of theEmployee Rights Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Today’s NYT ad trumpets a bill provision that would give union employees a secret-ballot vote every three years on whether they want to continue to be represented by their current union.

The campaign, which launched with some radio spots last year but is getting into high gear this year, will also include ads on cable TV starting next week. Right now, it is a purely informational effort, said CUF executive director Rick Berman, but he didn’t rule out future lobbying.

“This country needs to update labor laws to give employees more democratic rights on the job,” Berman told the Alley. More…

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Hatch or Liljenquist? Hillyard hasn’t decided

Salt Lake Tribune: January 6: State Sen. Lyle Hillyard hasn’t decided who he’ll endorse for the U.S. Senate race in Utah this year.

He said he considers both current Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, friends.

“I vacillate back and forth, but I will make a decision,” Hillyard said Thursday. “My key thing will be if anyone else comes out of the woodwork. … I know there’s been other people mentioned – people that I know well that I think would do a good job, as well.”

Hillyard, R-Logan, said having to choose between Hatch and Liljenquist, though, will be a tough decision.

“I’ve always supported Orrin Hatch, but Dan Liljenquist is a very good, close personal friend,” he said. “In fact, he was my vice chair for two years doing budgets. So I really have worked closely with him and always been impressed with his ability and the remarkable work he did as a senator in the state. So that’s a tough call.”

Liljenquist made it official Wednesday that he will challenge Hatch, who has served for six terms.

“I’m running for the United States Senate because it’s time,” Liljenquist said in a video on his website. “It’s time for a new generation of leaders to step up and take on the challenges of today.”

Hillyard praised Liljenquist for his work reforming the state’s pension system, and said he was “just really getting going” on Medicaid.

But Hillyard also complimented Hatch, saying the senator has “proven himself.”

“He’s in some key leadership positions, and I know full well what seniority means in a place like that,” Hillyard said. “You can always guess what somebody else will do based on past performance. … Sen. Hatch has performed. He has done a remarkable job for the state of Utah.”

Hillyard said if he were to support Liljenquist, he would be breaking with tradition. He’s supported Hatch in all his re-election bids.

“Obviously, you’re going to have to make a change sometime,” Hillyard said. “Sen. Hatch is not going to live forever. So the question is, is now the time to make the change?” More…

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Rep. Chris Herrod joins campaign to defeat Orrin Hatch

Salt Lake Tribune: January 6: State Rep. Chris Herrod, a strident opponent of illegal immigration, announced his bid Friday to unseat U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, saying he aims to roll back the socialist federal government.

“I absolutely hate the direction we’re heading. I hate socialism,” said Herrod, R-Provo.

Herrod recounted a semester he spent in the former Communist countries in Eastern Europe and said he “could literally feel the oppression” in those nations. He met his wife on a later trip to the Soviet Union.

“I’m starting to feel that anxiety [again],” Herrod said. “We’re kind of living in the ‘Emperor-has-no-clothes.’ … Everyone knows theres’s something the matter but nobody dares to say anything about it.”

“I truly believe this nation is at a precipice, at a critical juncture and we have one or two election cycles left to be able to change this nation,” Herrod said.

He cited the federal health care reform, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid, the Department of Education, federal subsidies for certain energy technologies and government ownership of banks and auto companies as evidence of American socialism.

Herrod joins former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, who announced his candidacy earlier this week, and talk radio host Tim Aalders in seeking to unseat the six-term incumbent Hatch.

“If I was Senator Hatch, I would be a little bit discouraged now that there is a second serious contender out there, but in the final analysis, I’ve got to believe that Senator Hatch has got to be the favorite to win re-nomination,” said Michael Lyons, a political science professor at Utah State University.

“You could say that Senator Hatch is an icon and it’s actually frightening to jump into an election against somebody of that stature. But I do have a different emphasis and I feel a sense of urgency,” Herrod said. “I would hope people would be willing to vote for me because of who I am. Not a vote against Senator Hatch.” More…

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Sen. Orrin Hatch focuses on three priorities in the new year

Deseret News: Sen. Hatch: January 8: Our nation is at a fork in the road.

On the left is the status quo of the past three years that brought us record high debt and deficits, the highest unemployment in decades and government intrusion into the lives of Americans like we’ve never seen before.

On the right, we have a path that restores America’s prosperity, strengthens our economy to ensure good paying jobs for current and future generations of Utahns and guarantees our country will remain the leader of the free world.

I’ve always chosen the path to the right, and as Congress comes back into session in the coming weeks, I wanted to share with you my priorities for the new year.

First and foremost is reining in runaway government spending. Our national debt is more than $15 trillion, up 42 percent from three years ago. The spending under this White House, including its ineffective trillion dollar stimulus, have only done one thing — added to our nation’s unsustainable debt.

That’s why I’ve long championed a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which would put meaningful constitutional restraints on the power of Washington to spend beyond its means. Only by addressing the real causes of our budget crisis can we restore some fiscal sanity to Washington. In 2012, I’m going to continue to push for a balanced budget amendment as I have every year in the Senate. I’ll also keep fighting against those in Washington who continue to push the failed borrow-and-spend economic policies.

As the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, trade and tax policy, I will be pursuing comprehensive reforms to restore our nation’s fiscal integrity and promote economic growth.

Using President Reagan’s criteria of fairness, growth and simplicity, tax reform that lowers rates is absolutely necessary to move America forward and is a critical priority of mine. Utah families should be able to keep more of their hard-earned money, and small businesses should be able to invest more in themselves and create jobs. More…

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Latinos praise, Hatch questions Obama’s proposition

AP: KSL: January 8: Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, denounced Obama’s decision to go around Congress and use his executive power to change immigration rules.

The president, he said, has opted to change a long-standing immigration policy to score cheap political points and reward those who have come to the country illegally.

“We need a president who is interested in working with Congress to find a comprehensive immigration solution that respects the rule of law, not a president solely focused on what policies best appeal to his political base,” he said.  More…

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Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Own Geothermal “Solyndra” Scandal

New American: William Jasper: January 10: Like many other Republicans, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah’s senior Senator, has been a vocal critic of President Obama’s support for Solyndra, the bankrupt California solar panel manufacturer. Once a prime showpiece of “green energy” and one of the top technology darlings of the Obama administration, Solyndra failed spectacularly last year — after having been lavished with $535 million in federal loan guarantees, as well as a $25-million tax break from the state of California.

Sen. Orrin Hatch can be seen here calling Obama’s support for Solyndra a “disgrace” on a September 22, 2011 program with Fox News commentator Greta Van Susteren.

And a costly disgrace it is, one that Republicans are eager to turn into a political albatross around President Obama’s neck in this election year. However, Sen. Hatch, who also stands for reelection in 2012, has his own Solyndra albatross to contend with. And unlike President Obama, Sen. Hatch has the added embarrassment of having a failed, federally financed “green” showcase facility named after him. In gratitude for his unstinting support, Utah-based Raser Technologies named its major geothermal plant in his honor. Sen. Hatch was on hand for the company’s 2008 groundbreaking ceremony for “The Hatch Plant,” another federally financed model of “clean” energy which has filed for bankruptcy.

A company press release on May 9, 2008, entitled, “Orrin Hatch Helps Raser Technologies Break Ground for Utah Geothermal Power Project” delivers kudos to the helpful solon:

Raser Technologies, Inc. (NYSE Arca: RZ) announced today that they held a groundbreaking ceremony for beginning the construction phase of the first geothermal power plant built in Utah in 20 years. Senator Orrin Hatch participated in the groundbreaking ceremony in Beaver County, Utah, along with many other state and county government officials. The planned geothermal power plant is anticipated to produce up to 11 megawatts (MW) of clean renewable energy this year.

Hatch, like many politicians, has tried to have it both ways concerning the supposed crisis of global warming, sometimes expressing skepticism over the claims of the Al Gore extremists, at other times embracing the green label in the name of fighting the alleged dangers of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Raser Technologies press release continues:

Commenting at the groundbreaking ceremony, Senator Hatch said, “Today marks a turning point in our energy future. I believe geothermal power will play an increasingly significant role in our nation’s renewable energy plan. New geothermal technology, combined with Raser’s innovative development strategy, can unlock this nation’s vast reserves of geothermal power. If our goal is to reduce greenhouse gases, then increasing our renewable energy production is a must. Utah has one of our nation’s largest geothermal resources, and I’m pleased Raser is setting the pattern for our future with today’s groundbreaking.”

On his own Senate web page, Hatch provides this press release with his comments at the same May 9, 2008 Raser geothermal groundbreaking event:

I want to thank Raser Technologies for inviting me to participate in today’s event. It was an honor for me to help turn over the earth for the first new geothermal plant in Utah in 20 years. Raser Tech is a company that has consistently pushed the envelope to develop, and bring to market, some of our nation’s most advanced concepts in clean energy, and I congratulate this Utah business for being first out of the gate to use the latest technology to convert the earth’s natural heat into the world’s cleanest energy. More…

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UPDATE:US Sen Hatch Plans Bill To Restructure State, Local Public Pensions

Wall Street Journal: January 10: A senior Republican lawmaker Tuesday called for broad reforms to state and local government public pensions, saying existing programs are a threat to the nation’s long-term fiscal health.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), in a report highlighting more than $4 trillion in public pension obligations, said defined-benefit plans–the norm for public pensions–are untenable.

“Defined-benefit pension plans will never be financially sound enough over the long term for use by state and local governments,” Hatch’s report said. A new structure is necessary to make the plans affordable, provide retirement income and avoid a federal bailout, Hatch said.

With a defined-benefit plan–standard for public pensions–an employer pays its employee a specific benefit for life starting at retirement. Benefits in a defined-contribution plan, by comparison, depend on company or employee contributions to a retirement account.

Hatch is the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over public pension issues. Democrats control the Senate.

States and local governments nationwide have targeted public pensions for cost-cutting after pension funds struggled through the recession, budget cuts and a backlash against public employee compensation.

Over the past two years, 40 state legislatures enacted significant revisions to at least one state retirement plan, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“While these laws represent improvement, they leave the basic defined benefit pension structure in place, and, therefore, underfunded pension plans will continue to be a problem for state and local governments,” Hatch’s report said.

Past federal efforts to weigh in on state and local pension matters have gained little traction.

But Hatch said he is concerned that shortfalls at the state or local level could have wide-ranging repercussions, including a potential federal bailout, an impact on the federal government’s credit rating and greater federal spending on antipoverty programs.

No state or locality has asked for a federal-government bailout for a pension plan, according to the Pew Center on the States. The nonprofit group also noted that there is no backstop for public plans akin to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., a federal agency that protects pension benefits in private-sector defined benefit plans.

Hatch said he would “over the coming weeks” outline ideas to reform public pension programs. More…

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Hatch’s seniority

Salt Lake Tribune: January 11: Does a group of non-Utah tea-party folks really expect us to cut off our nose to spite our face? (“National tea-party group makes its ‘retire Hatch’ campaign a priority,” Tribune, Jan. 6) After the 2012 election, Sen. Orrin Hatch will be one of the most powerful senators in Washington and will control budget and finance under Senate rules. A newbie would start at the bottom.

This rare opportunity for Utah would be squandered by those with outsider political action committee money. Hatch has the guts, experience and, finally, the power to do what Utah voters want and need him to do, if we don’t mess it up.

Dan Liljenquist, Hatch’s opponent for the GOP nomination, is a good guy, but Hatch is our best bet.

Stan Rosenzweig

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US Sen Hatch Asks Treasury To Detail Debt Limit Plans

Wall Street Journa;: January 11: U.S. Sen Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) Thursday asked the Treasury Department to detail steps it will take to stay under the debt limit after the White House notified Congress the government was approaching the $15.194 trillion ceiling.

The White House move gives Congress 15 days to “disapprove” of an increase or it will automatically adjust up another $1.2 trillion. Even if Congress disapproves, President Barack Obama can veto the measure and the increase will take place.

The White House had delayed formal notification to give Congress time to return to Washington after the holidays.

In the meantime, Treasury is taking so-called extraordinary measures to keep under the legal limit.

“Please provide me with information about your intended use of extraordinary measures to ensure that debt remains at or below the limit and that Treasury will have sufficient operating cash to meet all due obligations in the near future,” Hatch wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Already, Treasury is limiting investments its exchange stabilization fund, a reserve account related to foreign exchange holdings. Treasury next plans to curtail investments in certain federal pensions.

Hatch, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, also asked Treasury to detail obligations over the next 30 days to the Social Security Trust Funds, “along with plans by Treasury to make certain that there will be no threats to timely payments by Treasury to Social Security beneficiaries, the Social Security Trust Funds, and our troops.”

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Dan Liljenquist

Dan Liljenquist announces candidacy for US Senate

January 2: Blog: Media: Dan Liljenquist: Today, Dan Liljenquist formally launched his campaign to be Utah’s next Republican U.S. Senator.

“It’s time for real reforms to come out of Washington. An entire generation of politicians have pulled power and money to D.C., abusing the original intent of the Constitution and resulting in crushing debt, over-regulation and an erosion of our God-given rights,” he said. “This country desperately wants leadership, while all we’ve seen for decades are members of Congress who are either unwilling or incapable of providing it.”

Liljenquist is running for the U.S. Senate in part because he is willing and capable of addressing this country’s single largest problem: $15 trillion in debt. As a new state senator in 2008, he was told his ideas to reform pensions and entitlements were too much, too fast. But he forged ahead, drafting legislation and creating coalitions to enact reforms that will save the state billions of dollars going forward.

Those reforms have become model legislation all across the country, and for his efforts he was named a “Public Official of the Year” by Governing Magazine in 2011 and has been called a “policy pioneer” by the Wall Street Journal.

“Washington, D.C., is broken,” he said, “and some of our own Republican lawmakers share in the blame. It’s time for new conservative ideas from those who have the energy to see them through.”

“We have an amazing campaign team that is already building momentum across the state. I am delighted by the outpouring of support that has already come our way,” Liljenquist said. More…

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Dan Liljenquist announces key campaign staff positions

January 11: Blog: Media: Dan Liljenquist: U.S. Senate candidate Dan Liljenquist has named Rusty Cannon as his finance chairman. On Tuesday, January 10, Cannon resigned his seat as chair of the Davis County Republican Party to aide Liljenquist.

“It is exciting to have someone of Rusty’s caliber join us. He is both well-connected and well-regarded throughout the state,” said Liljenquist. “Running an effective campaign means having enough money to get our message out, and Rusty is key to that. He has spent his career in the financial sector and brings the determination and enthusiasm we need.” Liljenquist said.

Cannon was the president and chief investment officer at RKC Capital LLC until December. He was previously a financial advisor at Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch and has spent 15 years managing money in the financial service industry.

“The upcoming election is an election of a lifetime and vitally important to getting our country back on the right track. I am putting all of my time and energy into making sure Dan Liljenquist is the next Senator for Utah.” said Cannon in his resignation letter. More…

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Liljenquist: voters are fatigued with Hatch

Cache Valley Daily: January 7: Former State Senator Dan Liljenquist says he is extremely pleased with the outpouring of support he has received since announcing that he would challenge fellow Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch in the 2012 election. Liljenquist resigned his state senate seat last week where he says he was instrumental in bringing about pension and entitlement reform.

On KVNU’s For the People program Thursday, Liljenquist says he is running because he feels there is a serious need for new leadership.

“While there’s not the anger that there was in the Bob Bennett race, there is a fatigue, and that fatigue is felt everywhere,” Liljenquist said. “When Orrin Hatch ran in 1976 he ran on a platform that was ‘what do you call an 18 year Senator? You call him home.'”

Liljenqist says although Hatch is a statesman he has been in the Senate too long and after 36 years it is time to go home. Liljenquist says he felt compelled to get involved because of the uncontrolled spending going on in Washington. More…

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Liljenquist Will Challenge Hatch

National Journal: Hotline: OnCall: January 4: Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is getting his first official primary challenger, as state Sen. Dan Liljenquist has announced that he will run against the longtime senator.

“I’m running for the United States Senate because it’s time,” Liljenquist says in a video released on Tuesday. “It’s time for a new generation of leaders to step up and take on the challenges of today.”

Liljenquist sat down with Hotline On Call last November. He’s a 37-year-old rising star in Utah politics who has built a reputation around entitlement spending, an issue he references in his announcement video.

“It’s time for us to live within our means as a country and to balance our budget. It’s time to tackle the entitlement spending that threatens us all,” he says.

Hatch spent 2011 bracing for a challenge from the right as he reached out to tea party activists and even recruited one to join his team as a paid staffer. Most observers expected Rep. Jason Chaffetzto challenge Hatch, but he surprisingly passed on a bid last year.

Hatch’s campaign extended a rather rough welcome to Liljenquist on Wednesday.

“It is perplexing to me why a state Senator who hasn’t even finished his first term of service in the state and running on the platform of entitlement reform would want to challenge Senator Hatch,” said Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen. “Senator Hatch will be in the best position as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, to ensure these critical reforms happen and will be instrumental in getting our nation’s fiscal house in order. Dan Liljenquist’s mantra on entitlement reforms would be little more than a flimsy campaign promise made by someone who would be positioned on a committee that has no influence over fiscal policy.” More…

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Davis County chooses Weiler to replace Liljenquist

Salt Lake Tribune: January 10: Davis County delegates elected Todd Weiler to replace outgoing state Sen. Dan Liljenquist in a special election held at South Davis Junior High School on Tuesday night.

The vote, which was administered by Davis County Republican Party officials, lasted seven rounds before Weiler prevailed with 57.6 percent of the vote.

Weiler was about as succinct as one could be in his victory speech.

“I’m very humbled by this,” Weiler said. “I pledge to do my very best for you. Now please go home and get your kids to bed.”

Randy Shumway was the runner-up, capturing 42.4 percent of the vote.

The vacancy in Senate District 23 happened when Liljenquist announced he was challenging Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, for the seat he’s held since being elected in 1976.

In his time in the Legislature, Liljenquist was known for taking on pension reform and Medicaid reform. He was elected in 2008 after defeating Ron Mortensen — a candidate in Thursday’s special election who was eliminated in the third round — in a primary. More…

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Mia Love (candidate for Congress)

2012 Crystal Ball

Utah Pulse: January 3: 2012 is here and we asked our insiders to make some “fearless predictions” for the next year.

We had some interesting prognostications. Most of those who weighed in said Mitt Romney would be the GOP nominee in 2012, but they were split on whether he would win the White House or Barack Obama would get another term.

In local races, the consensus picks were Orrin Hatch to win another term in Washington, along with Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz. In Utah’s 4th Congressional District, our insiders were split on whether Mia Love or Stephen Sandstrom would get the GOP nomination, while very few said Carl Wimmer would triumph. If our predictions are any indication, the race between the eventual GOP nominee and Democrat Jim Matheson will be a tight one.

Other trends that emerged from our predictions – Gary Herbert should win another term and Democrat Ben McAdams seems to be the favorite to win Salt Lake County Mayor.

Here are some of the best predictions from our panel:

Romney will receive the GOP nomination and will select Condoleeza Rice for a VP. Obama will pick Hillary Clinton for his new VP and what a race!

Mia Love wins Utah’s new congressional seat and helps dispel myths about Utah as a bigoted state, perpetuated by at least two of opponents in the Republican primary.

Mia Love becomes the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.

Facebookers will have nothing to talk about after either Romney or Ron Paul loses. Hatch directly responsible for unemployment spiking on April 22nd. Jim Matheson grows a mustache in an attempt to court Herriman voters. Gary Herbert takes sole credit for Utah being #1 in “Jell-O consumption”… and for being #1 in “having the most cities with ‘fork’ in the title”… and for being #1 in “best snow on earth”… and for being #1 in “per capita baby-makin!”  More…

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Love launches congressional bid as budget hawk

Salt Lake Tribune: January 5: Mayor Mia Love formally launched her bid for Congress on Thursday, promising to cut taxes, balance the budget and ensure children today have a shot at the American dream.

To do that, Love said she would draw on her experience as mayor, where she erased a $3.5 million budget shortfall, saving the city of some 18,000 residents from bankruptcy — experience she said sets her apart from other Republican contenders.

And, she said, she believes she is the candidate with the best shot to force Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson into retirement.

“We are no longer going to allow politicians to kick the can down the road,” she said. “We are no longer going to allow this out-of-control spending. We are no longer going to stand for it.”

Love, who filed for the office last month, has some heavy hitters in her corner. In addition to a number of tea-party activists who attended her announcement, she said she has received campaign contributions from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the leading Republican budget hawk.

Love joins a field of Republican contenders in the new 4th Congressional District that includes Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem; attorney Jay Cobb; and Rep. Carl Wimmer, who formally resigned from the Legislature on Thursday. His resignation is effective Jan. 9.

“I think the 4th District is by far the most compelling race in Utah for 2012,” said Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. “It’s a fascinating convention fight that I think is almost guaranteed a primary, and the winner has to go against the most formidable Democrat in Matheson.” More…

Hatch on President’s Announcement to Reorganize Federal Agencies

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: January 13: “Eliminating wasteful government programs and reducing spending is a laudable goal and one we should all work to achieve. After three years in the White House presiding over the largest expansion of government in generations, the timing of this announcement and the failure to consult Congress raise questions about the President’s commitment to a real reorganization and reduction in the size of the federal government.

“What’s disconcerting is that the President has again chosen not to work with Congress – even after I specifically asked the Obama Administration to fully brief Congress if it chose to reorganize our trade agencies.  The White House needs to remember that Congress has responsibilities to the American people that it represents. As the lead Republican on the Finance Committee, I will discuss this matter with my colleagues and will expect a full accounting by the Administration in short order.” More…

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HATCH STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: January 24: “This speech was a profound disappointment, because we’ve heard this speech and these empty promises before.  The state of our union is strong, because of the hard-working people of our great country, not the President’s failed economic policies of more government, more taxes, more spending, and more debt.  The American people have soundly rejected the President’s class-warfare economics that have sought to divide – not unite – our country during difficult times that have left the middle class footing the bill.

“The only person the President can blame for our sluggish economy, for the stalemate with Congress, and for our massive debt is himself. This White House has shown an arrogance of power and a belief that Washington knows best since the President took office three years ago.  In fact, instead of making the tough choices to take on the greatest challenge facing our nation today, this Administration has done more to solve Europe’s debt crisis than it has done to tackle our own.  While the President talks about bringing more American energy online, he’s already shut off domestic production, including the Keystone XL pipeline, a promising, shovel-ready project that would employ tens of thousands of American workers.” More…

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In Speech, Hatch Outlines Opposition to Debt Ceiling Increase

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: January 26:  In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, outlined his opposition to the President’s request to increase the debt limit by $1.2 trillion, pushing the national debt to nearly $16.4 trillion.

“We are on the edge of the cliff.  And it is time to carefully, but deliberately, take a few big steps back. Rates may be low today, but they can turn on a dime.  And, when they do, the outsized federal government that we currently have will suddenly be exposed as unaffordable.  And when that day comes, our creditors can go on strike as quickly as they have in Europe,” said Hatch.

“Last summer we got a taste of what is to come when we received the first downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt in history from a major credit rating agency,” Hatch continued. “Americans can never be allowed to forget that this downgrade occurred under, and because of, this Administration’s fiscal stewardship. We cannot risk what are likely to be further downgrades in the near future by raising the debt limit.”

“It is time to resist the siren song of cheap credit and put our focus back on the job at hand, which is to allow the private sector to create jobs and to get rid of the $1-trillion-plus deficits of the Obama Presidency; to get rid of our mountain of debt that surpasses the size of our entire economy; and to bring the size of our federal government back down to historical norms,” concluded Hatch. More…

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Hatch Statement on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 13: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): Almost a half-century ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial and spoke eloquently about his dream – his vision of a day when our “nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ ” We have made tremendous strides as a people and a nation since then, but we still have some distance to go in our quest to more fully guarantee the unalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for every American.

As we gather on Monday to celebrate the life and enduring legacy of this great man, may we all reflect on the tremendous sacrifices and remarkable contributions he made to ensure the availability of freedom, justice, and equal opportunity for every American. And may we all commit anew to serve all the human family, especially those who are suffering, downtrodden or other otherwise distressed, that the day may come that Doctor King spoke about when “we will all be able to join hands and sing … ‘Free at last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’ ”

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Hatch on President’s Announcement to Reorganize Federal Agencies

January 13: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Eliminating wasteful government programs and reducing spending is a laudable goal and one we should all work to achieve.  After three years in the White House presiding over the largest expansion of government in generations, the timing of this announcement and the failure to consult Congress raise questions about the President’s commitment to a real reorganization and reduction in the size of the federal government.

“What’s disconcerting is that the President has again chosen not to work with Congress – even after I specifically asked the Obama Administration to fully brief Congress if it chose to reorganize our trade agencies.  The White House needs to remember that Congress has responsibilities to the American people that it represents. As the lead Republican on the Finance Committee, I will discuss this matter with my colleagues and will expect a full accounting by the Administration in short order.” More…

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Hatch Statement on the PROTECT IP Act

January 18: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Our Founding Fathers understood that protecting people’s ideas is essential to a robust and healthy democracy. With the advent of the Internet, intellectual property theft is a real and growing problem that everyone acknowledges must be combated.

“After listening to the concerns on both sides of the debate over the PROTECT IP Act, it is simply not ready for prime time and both sides must continue working together to find a better path forward. Despite the concerns about the unintended consequences of this legislation, the Senate remains on a path to consider this bill next week. Rushing something with such potential for far-reaching consequences is something I cannot support and that’s why I will not only vote against moving the bill forward next week but also remove my cosponsorship of the bill. Given the legitimate vocal concerns, it is imperative that we take a step back to allow everyone to come together and find a reasonable solution.” More…

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Hatch: President’s Decision to Reject Keystone Pipeline Shows He “Favors Playing Politics Over Passing Good Policy”

January 18: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Today’s announcement shows yet another failure in leadership from a White House intent on paying back their political allies at the expense of hard-working Americans. The President could have helped create thousands of jobs across the country, but instead made it clear yet again that he favors playing politics over passing good policy. Unlike the President’s failed trillion dollar stimulus, this is a shovel-ready, private-sector project that will spur job-creation now and in the future, and sadly is just another example of how this White House is one of the most anti-American-energy Administrations in our nation’s history.” More…

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Hatch, Johanns Push Back On Administration Decision on Birth Control Insurance Rule

January 20: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Today’s decision by the Obama Administration shows once again that in their mind, politics will always trump the Constitution,” Hatch said. “The problem is not that religious institutions do not have enough time to comply, it’s that they’re forced to comply at all. Unfortunately, this Administration has shown a complete lack of regard for our central constitutional commitment to religious liberty.”

“Forcing religious institutions to violate a cornerstone of their faith by providing contraceptives in their health care plans completely defies the Constitution,” said Johanns. “The President promised to uphold life and conscience protections in the health care law, but rather than live up to his word, he has regrettably chosen to punt on implementation of the controversial mandate until after the elections. I will do everything I can in the next year to ensure that the conscience rights of these churches, charities, hospitals and other religious organizations are protected.” More…

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Hatch Statement on National March for Life

January 23: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Today is a day to join together and stand up for the most vulnerable among us. The March for Life represents the millions of Americans who fight to protect the right to life announced in the Declaration of Independence and protected by our Constitution, and the participants of this yearly event are witnesses to this noble cause.

“Yesterday was the 39 th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision , one of the greatest moral and legal tragedies in American history. As we look back today at this historically egregious case of judicial activism, let us never forget those who have no voice for themselves but who are represented by the millions of voices who fight for life each and every day.”

NOTE: Hatch also authored an editorial regarding the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which can be read HERE.

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Hatch Statement on 1,000 Days Since Senate Democrats Passed a Budget

January 23: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Only in Washington would Democrats keep trying to spend taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars while failing to even propose their own fiscal blueprint. After 1,000 days without a budget from Senate Democrats, Utahns aren’t getting the leadership or the fiscal restraint that they rightly are demanding. The only way we can leave a stronger America for our children and grandchildren is if we get serious about cutting spending, and that starts with passing a budget and following it. Utah families are forced to live by their budgets, and Washington must learn to do the same.”

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Hatch Statement on the President’s State of the Union Address

January 25: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Real effective tax reform is long-past due and is something both political parties agree must happen.  We must reform our tax code in a way that generates economic growth and prosperity by generating more taxpayers – not higher taxes.  Unfortunately, despite the President’s rhetoric of fairness, the reality is his tax hikes would hit small businesses on the chin at a time when they should be investing in creating jobs.

“Our future must be built on the foundation of hard-work, equal opportunity, and free enterprise that our country was founded upon.  For the future of our country, this is a lesson this President needs to learn.” More…

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Hatch, 21 Others Write to President Obama to Increase American Energy Resources

January 25: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): In the letter, the Senators wrote that they “believe the federal government should take commonsense steps here at home to safeguard Americans by removing the unnecessary obstacles placed in the way of energy development on lands and waters owned by taxpayers.” They noted that “our country holds within its borders extensive traditional energy resources that could sustain our energy needs for decades to come,” and that “[a]ccording to a recent Congressional Research Service report, the United States’ combined recoverable oil, natural gas, and coal resources is the largest in the world.” More…

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Hatch Leads Fight Against Raising the Debt Limit

January 26: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, outlined his opposition to the President’s request to increase the debt limit by $1.2 trillion, pushing the national debt to nearly $16.4 trillion.

“We are on the edge of the cliff. And it is time to carefully, but deliberately, take a few big steps back. Rates may be low today, but they can turn on a dime. And, when they do, the outsized federal government that we currently have will suddenly be exposed as unaffordable. And when that day comes, our creditors can go on strike as quickly as they have in Europe,” said Hatch.

“Last summer we got a taste of what is to come when we received the first downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt in history from a major credit rating agency,” Hatch continued. “Americans can never be allowed to forget that this downgrade occurred under, and because of, this Administration’s fiscal stewardship. We cannot risk what are likely to be further downgrades in the near future by raising the debt limit.” More…

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Grassroots, Economic Conservative Leaders Outline Importance Of Hatch Senate Finance Committee Chairmanship

January 19: News: Hatch for Utah:  In a letter to Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a group of limited-government, economic and grassroots conservative leaders outlined the importance of Hatch taking over as the next Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in 2013, writing that with Hatch “…at the helm of the Finance Committee our future will be one of freedom, economic growth and a restoration of limited government.”

Those signing the letter include the Presidents of National Tax Limitation Committee, National Taxpayers Union, Let Freedom Ring, 60 Plus Association, American Family Institution, past President of the NRA and ACU, David Keene and former governor of Virginia, Jim Gilmore.

The letter said, “Should Republicans win back the Senate in 2012, and you become Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, we are confident that you will use that committee to secure the most conservative reforms of the Nation’s tax and spending policies in a generation. Your understanding of the need for fundamental tax reform, the repeal of ObamaCare and reforms of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, make us confident that with you at the helm of the Finance Committee our future will be one of freedom, economic growth and a restoration of limited government.” More…

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NRA Sets The Record Straight On Senator Orrin Hatch’s Support Of Our 2nd Amendment Rights

January 20: News: Hatch for Utah: The Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute For Legislative Action writes Senator Hatch:

Dear Senator Hatch:

Recently, your Second Amendment record has been subject to outrageous and false attacks. I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight. Certain groups are not only unjustly blaming you for the passage of anti-gun legislation; they’re also attacking you for your role in defending gun owners’ rights during most of the critical legislative debates on this issue over the past 25 years.

Perhaps the most outrageous claims are that in the negotiations on the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (also known as “FOPA,” or as “McClure-Volkmer,” after its Senate and House sponsors), you argued in favor of ATF’s positions and against those of the late, great progun leader, Sen. Jim McClure of Idaho. According to the leaders of the NRA’s lobbying team at the time, this is patently false.

One of those leaders is current NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who puts it plainly: “Without Senator Hatch, we would not have had McClure-Volkmer.” Another is the NRA’s current Director of Federal Affairs, James J. Baker, who also unequivocally states: “I sat through all the negotiations with Senator Jim McClure, Congressman Harold Volkmer, Senator Orrin Hatch, and the U.S. Treasury Department, and never once did I see a representative of any other ‘gun groups.'”

hi truth, your leadership was critical to the passage of FOP A. And FOP A was critical to the fate of gun ownership in America, because among its most important reforms were those that protected firearms dealers from abusive enforcement tactics of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. More…

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Roe V. Wade: A Constitutional And Moral Tragedy

January 20: News: Hatch for Utah: Some anniversaries should not have to be celebrated because the events they mark should not have occurred. January 22, 2012, the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, is one of them. That decision is one of the greatest moral and legal tragedies in American history.

It is a moral tragedy in multiple ways, and they all stem from one inescapable fact. Every abortion kills a living human being. No word game, subject change, or political spin can change that fact. There have been nearly 50 million abortions since 1973 and, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, the “decline in abortion incidence has stalled.” More babies in America lose their lives to abortion every two days than American service members have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.

As President Ronald Reagan wrote on Roe’s 10th anniversary, the question is not when human life begins, but what is the value of human life? That remains the question today. Our Declaration of Independence says that every individual is created and given rights by God. The federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars each year on programs to help the poor, elderly, sick, or disabled. Why? It is nothing less than moral schizophrenia to say that the very same people who should be helped today could have been killed before they were born. More…

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New Defense Cuts Highlight The Need For Hatch’s Experience

January 26: News: Hatch for Utah: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced today that as part of his strategy for defense department reductions, he will be asking Congress for approval for a new BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure ) process putting Hill Air Force Base once again in an uncertain position.

“Secretary Panetta’s announcement today underscores the need to keep Senator Hatch in office working for our state and using the clout and positions he has attained in Congress for Utah,” stated Dave Hansen, campaign chairman for the Hatch Election Committee. “We have been down this road before and Senator Hatch worked tirelessly, against huge odds, to keep Hill Air Force open and operating as one of the most efficient and productive military installations in our arsenal.

“His work on Hill and Utah’s other military bases has been recognized from the Generals he regularly meets with, to the employees who work every day in Utah’s defense industry. With the future of so many jobs and a premier air force base uncertain—it would be foolish to lose one of Utah’s greatest defense champions.

“Utah will need the seniority and influence of Senator Hatch to protect the tens of thousands of Air Force jobs that are vital to Utah’s economy. Unfortunately, Democrats will play politics with the base closure decisions and will favor the bases in the larger, blue states which bring them votes. Senator Hatch is uniquely positioned to fight off the liberal establishment and keep the Air Force Base in Utah where it belongs.

“BRAC rounds are comprised of the highest political stakes. It would be tragic to go through another BRAC round without the hard work, tenacity, and unwavering advocacy and influence of Senator Hatch in Congress to ensure Utah’s interests are represented at the highest levels.”

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Tea Party organization to financially back efforts to unseat Hatch

KSL: January 13:  It’s no secret that a national tea party organization wants to dump Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

But who FreedomWorks believes is best suited to beat the six-term senator remains up in the air, even though two candidates have stepped up to the plate.

The Dick Armey-led political action committee launched its “Retire Orrin Hatch” campaign last June at the state GOP convention. Saying it expected to “heavily invest” in the race, it began searching for a “fiscal conservative” to run against Hatch.

So far, it has spent about $75,000 in Utah, said Russ Walker, FreedomWorks vice president of political and grass-roots campaigns. And it plans to put in a lot more.

“We’re prepared to spend what we think is necessary,” Walker said. “We’ll spend a significant amount of money on this race. It will be a good chunk of change.”

To date, two conservative Republicans — former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist and state Rep. Chris Herrod— have jumped into the fray and are vying for FreedomWorks’ affection.

“It will be interesting to see how FreedomWorks feels having the two of them in the race,” said Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen.

Walker said it likes Liljenquist and Herrod but has endorsed neither. “Both of these guys would be a great improvement over Orrin Hatch,” he said. More…

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Necessary regulation

Salt Lake Tribune: January 14: I received a message from Sen. Orrin Hatch about how outraged he was over President Barack Obama’s recess appointment of someone to head the new federal consumer protection agency. Hatch has his priorities all wrong. As our elected senator, sworn to protect the interests of the American people, he should be outraged over the following:

• The lack of federal regulation that failed to regulate the banking industry, resulting in many Americans obtaining mortgages they could not repay and causing the failure of our housing industry and economy;

• The federal government’s failure to properly regulate offshore oil drilling, resulting in many Gulf of Mexico fishermen not being able to make a living and many resorts closing; and

• The lack of proper coal mining regulation, causing miners to lose their lives and families to lose husbands and fathers.

One lesson from the federal government’s inadequate industry regulation is that we cannot rely upon any industry to regulate itself. As long as profit is the primary motive, industry will always sacrifice the well-being of Americans.

Americans need protection from industry’s unbridled quest for profit. That must come from the federal government.

Richard S. Melenson

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Utah’s caucus system: Repair or replace?

Salt Lake Tribune: January 15: The delegates will once again have ultimate power in 2012. Among other races, they, not the public, will get to decide whether Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is the right candidate for the Republican nomination. Delegates will likewise decide whether Rep. Jim Matheson is Democratic enough to have the party’s nomination.

Members of the public will have to wait for the delegates to do their work before knowing whom they can vote for. But voters who want more say in the system might want to start by showing up at their neighborhood caucus meetings in March. They then can have the opportunity to join the two-tenths of one percent of the voting population and have the power to decide who is on the ballot. If they are Republican, they will likely be deciding who gets the seat.

For those hoping to see a change to system, those meetings may be the first step.

“Really, the way people can make an impact, if they don’t like what is happening in their party, is they have to come to the caucus meetings. They have to do it. They can’t just sit back and say, ‘oh whatever.’ It’s a Tuesday night or a Thursday night for the Republicans this year, they have to get off the couch and go down to the caucus and be heard. That is critical,” Lockhart said. “If people want to make changes in the parties, that is where they have to be.”

Without the delegates demanding a change in the system, it appears no change will ever come.

“I’ve had a lot of members, different party people over the years, that have said look, we know we should change it, it skews everything, but we can’t. We are in power because of the delegates. To stick a stick in the delegates’ eye, we may never get back here. So it’s kind of like asking the presidential candidates to change Iowa or New Hampshire,” Jowers said. “It is just not something they can do, no matter what they think about it.” More…

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The Club’s bad investments

The Hill: January 16: You would think Chocola would learn from his own experience that picking the most conservative candidate doesn’t always work, but since taking the helm of the Club, he has only doubled down on a strategy that makes it harder for Republicans to keep their majority in the House and take the majority back in the Senate.

Take Chocola’s home state of Indiana, for example. Dick Lugar, should he get through his primary, will easily win reelection. If Chocola successfully knocks off Lugar with his hand-picked candidate, Richard Mourdock, that Senate seat becomes wide open. Indeed, Chocola’s old nemesis, Joe Donnelly, would have a better-than-even chance of winning the seat against Mourdock. He has no chance against Dick Lugar.

Chocola’s organization is also taking on Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah). Hatch is chairman of the powerful Finance Committee and a dedicated conservative. He also should be spending his campaign war chest helping other Republican candidates, but he can’t. And he can’t because of Chris Chocola, whose organization is spending millions of dollars trying to knock Hatch off in a primary battle.

More frustrating is what Chocola is doing on the House side.  More…

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Once hot, Tea Party goes cold

The Hill: January 17: The Tea Party is falling to pieces.

In presidential, House and Senate races, the Tea Party is struggling to float viable and effective candidates, unify its base and dictate the terms of national discourse on the economy.

It is a harsh comedown for a movement that two years ago sent dozens of its members to Congress, revolutionized conservative grassroots organizing and forced both parties to make the national debt and federal spending their top policy concerns.

In congressional races, where Tea Party candidates were leading the pack in 2010, they are struggling against establishment Republicans in 2012 primary races.

The Tea Party candidate is running behind more centrist Republicans in the open Senate races in Texas and Nebraska. In Indiana and Maine, Tea Party figures hoping to challenge centrist incumbents are straining to gain ground. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) was spared a Tea Party challenge from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), and former state lawmaker and Tea Party candidate Dan Liljenquist seems a long shot to overtake Hatch. More…

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Hatch’s seniority

Salt Lake Tribune: January 17: In “Hatch’s seniority” (Forum, Jan. 11), Stan Rosenzweig argued that we should re-elect Sen. Orrin Hatch because “After the 2012 election, Sen. Orrin Hatch will be one of the most powerful senators in Washington and will control budget and finance under Senate rules.”

Another take might be that Hatch has been in the upper echelon of the Senate’s Committee on Finance for a considerable time, and thus he has been a significant part of creating our national fiscal disaster (which has been developing for years).

Clearly, our nation’s finances are out of control, so Hatch’s ongoing input and influence on that committee would seem to favor his removal, something simply accomplished by not re-electing him.

Ross Morgan

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Hatch latest to reverse support of piracy bill

The Hill: Hillicon: Brendan Sasso: January 18: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) joined Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in dropping his support for the Protect IP Act amid a massive Web protest of the bill.

“After listening to the concerns on both sides of the debate over the PROTECT IP Act, it is simply not ready for prime time and both sides must continue working together to find a better path forward,” Hatch said.

“Rushing something with such potential for far-reaching consequences is something I cannot support and that’s why I will not only vote against moving the bill forward next week but also remove my cosponsorship of the bill. Given the legitimate vocal concerns, it is imperative that we take a step back to allow everyone to come together and find a reasonable solution.” More…

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Roe v. Wade: A Constitutional and Moral Abortion Tragedy

Life News: Sen. Hatch: January 22: President Reagan wrote in his essay: “We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life – the unborn – without diminishing the value of all human life.”  Make no mistake about it; the end result of an activist judiciary that rejected our most cherished constitutional principles is the loss of 50 million innocent lives.  In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court used judicially tragic means to achieve a morally tragic end.  By highjacking the Constitution and creating this so-called right to abortion, the Supreme Court attacked not only the value of human life itself, but also the liberty of all Americans.  I hope that this decision has few anniversaries left.  More…

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Utah Legislature is Now in Session

KCSG: January 23: State lawmakers opened the 2012 Utah Legislature on Monday with prayers, patriotic songs and advice from legislative leaders.

“Be bold. Brave. Be able to say when this session is over that you did your very best,” House Speaker Becky Lockhart told her colleagues in the 75-member body.

Proceedings in the Senate got under way with prayer, then music from the Osmond family, including one song written by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. More…

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Super PACs set sights on 2012 congressional races

USA Today: January 24: Outside political groups, already big players in this year’s GOP presidential battle, have started to train their firepower on Senate and House races. Third-party organizations, including political parties and super PACs that can raise and spend unlimited corporate and union money, have pumped nearly $9 million into last-minute advertising and other independent spending to support or oppose congressional candidates in this election cycle, Federal Election Commission records show.

In Utah, FreedomWorks for America — a Washington super PAC aligned with the small-government Tea Party movement — is working to oust six-term GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch and is spending money to recruit and train activists to oppose his renomination at the state’s Republican convention this spring. More…

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Outside Group Launches TV Ad Supporting Orrin Hatch

Roll Call: January 25 1: A third-party group is airing a TV ad in Utah supporting Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is being challenged for re-election by a fellow Republican.

Freedom Path, a 501(c)(4), is spending about $100,000 on the ad, which is running for three weeks on broadcast and cable, according to a source with knowledge of the buy.

While other conservative outside groups hammer Hatch from the right, this ad touts Hatch’s attempt to repeal health care reform.

“Utah’s Orrin Hatch has sponsored a bill to repeal it,” the ad’s announcer says. “Declaring Obamacare unconstitutional, Senator Hatch has personally signed a brief to have the courts nullify it. Orrin Hatch, leading the conservative charge to repeal Obamacare. Tell to him to keep fighting for our shared values.”

A previous ad, aired last summer, tied Hatch to fellow Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who is affiliated with the tea party and upset Hatch’s former Senate colleague, Bob Bennett, in 2010.

Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee have authored the Balanced Budget Amendment — legislation forcing Congress and the president to balance the budget every year and stop spending money we don’t have,” the previous ad’s announcer said. “Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee— Utah conservatives leading the fight to stop runaway spending.”

According to its website, Freedom Path “is committed to promoting causes that strictly recognize the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all Americans in the greatest political document ever conceived — the United States Constitution.”

State Sen. Dan Liljenquist officially entered the race for the Republican nomination earlier this month and is likely Hatch’s biggest threat. Outside groups, including the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, have also been targeting Hatch for months and were in search of a conservative alternative to the six-term incumbent. More…

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Hatch’s seniority

Salt Lake Tribune: January 26: I’m so tired of hearing how important Sen. Orrin Hatch’s seniority is. It’s the only semi-legitimate argument he has left as to why we need to re-elect him again.

All I hear from Hatch’s supporters is how important it is to have a senior member in the Senate. If that’s the case, then let’s take that logic, flip it on its head and look at the long-term picture.

If we have a wave of incoming freshmen senators over the next several years, as many experts project, then, given the importance of seniority, would it not be beneficial to Utah to have a newly elected senator on the front end of that wave as opposed to the back end? I cannot imagine that if Hatch were to win this time that he would run for an eighth term in six years, when he would be 84.

Based on the seniority argument, it would be more beneficial for Utah to elect a new senator in 2012 rather than 2018.

John Huntinghouse

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Dan Liljenquist

Hundreds of volunteers flock to Liljenquist campaign

January 18: Blog: Media: Dan Liljenquist: “Political candidates are only as good as the supporters around them, and I think it’s telling that hundreds of Utahns have come aboard so quickly. They are donating both their time and money to the cause of restoring fiscal sanity to the federal government,” Liljenquist said.

Liljenquist has seen rapidly growing support as he traveled the state since he announced his candidacy, making 51 stops in just over a week. His kick-off event at the Little America on Saturday packed two rooms with supporters. Liljenquist is continuing to his travels this week with public meetings in Garland, Spanish Fork, Fillmore, Cedar City, and St. George.

“Dan is just the type of person we need in Washington right now,” said Jordan Hess, a volunteer from Salt Lake City. “Not only does he understand the issues we face, he knows how to solve them. It’s time we had people in DC who will roll up their sleeves and get to work. Dan will do that.”

“The people of the state of Utah are responding positively to our message of fiscal leadership, self-reliance and a return to our moral roots,” Liljenquist said. “This is the type of support money cannot buy.”

Liljenquist was named the 2011 Legislator of the Year by non-partisan Governing Magazine for his work on pension and Medicaid reform. His reforms are considered model legislation across the nation. He recently resigned from the Utah Senate to run for federal office.

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I oppose SOPA and PIPA

January 18: Blog: Media: Dan Liljenquist: I want to be clear: I oppose SOPA and PIPA. The current versions violate the Constitutional provisions of due process and free speech. I find it unfortunate that Orrin Hatch has decided to co-sponsor PIPA. Hatch’s stance has been clear for years, however, as he has advocated destroying computers as a way to “teach somebody about copyrights” as far back as 2003. As I have traveled the state over the last several months, the clear and consistent message from the citizens of Utah is firm opposition to both of these bills.

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Utah’s Caucus System Works

January 19: Blog: Media: Dan Liljenquist: It was disappointing today to hear that Orrin Hatch has decided to attack Utah’s caucus system. It is a system he has embraced for 36 years and the very system that allowed him – with no name recognition and very little money – to run and win in 1976.

This is a repost of a blog I wrote and posted last May.

There have been recent press reports about a potential move to eliminate Utah’s caucus/convention system. I support Utah’s existing caucus/convention system, and will oppose any attempts to alter it. Political parties should be able to choose the process for selecting their party’s nominees for elected office. Utah’s caucus/convention system has served the state very well.

Utah is the best managed state in the nation – that is not by accident. I believe it is because the populace is MORE involved in vetting candidates for public office than other states – and that goes directly back to the caucus/convention system.

Our system allows delegates to be elected who take their role seriously and then get to work to get to know the candidates. By and large they make educated decisions. Party delegates ARE engaged because they know they have an important role in the process. Our elections are about educating voters and winning over the people that live in your neighborhoods – not based on who can pay for the most campaign staff, TV ads, mail pieces or billboards.

Utah’s caucus/convention system allows people like me, without much name recognition or millions of dollars to fund a campaign to be able to run for public office. It gives me as a candidate the opportunity to meet and connect with delegates and to earn their support. It is truly the epitome of this representative republic of ours. More…

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Liljenquist Finds Support in More Than 600 Campaign Volunteers

KCPW: January 17: (KCPW News) Former Utah Senator Dan Liljenquist has no shortage of help running his campaign for U.S. Senate. The campaign revealed today it’s assembled more than 600 volunteers in the ten days since he announced his bid. As KCPW’s Whittney Evans reports, volunteers say it’s his energy and accomplishments as a freshman senator that’s helped him outpace other successful campaigns. More…

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Rolly: Who’s stalking Dan Liljenquist and Holly Richardson?

Salt Lake Tribune: January 20: I wrote last November about a man based in Tallahassee, Fla., making public-records requests to the Utah Legislature for email and cellphone correspondences of then-Sen. Dan Liljenquist and then-Rep. Holly Richardson.

Liljenquist has since resigned from the State Senate to challenge U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch for the Republican nomination this year. Richardson has resigned to work on Liljenquist’s campaign.

At the time, Hatch’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, told me the Hatch campaign had nothing to do with the request.

But someone sure is interested in these two.

Since my column in November, Chris Ritter’s public-records requests became much more detailed and voluminous. He was joined in the requests by an associate, Amanda Salario, also based in Tallahassee.

Together, they have asked for communications of Liljenquist and Richardson regarding immigration, GRAMA, HB477, Utah’s guest-worker bill, past immigration bills, health insurance for low-income children, redistricting, anything regarding a “plane crash” (Liljenquist survived a plane crash), anything regarding Bain Capital (a former Liljenquist employer), and on and on.

The probe also asked about communications with FreedomWorks, a tea party group that has publicly opposed Hatch.

I emailed Ritter and Salario, asking who they worked for and what their interest was. But they never responded. More…

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Liljenquist stops in Cedar to campaign

Salt Lake Tribune: January 21:  Former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist led a town hall meeting in the Sharwan Smith Center on the Southern Utah University campus Friday afternoon during a campaign stop in his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in this year’s general election.

State Sen. Casey Anderson, R-Cedar City, introduced Liljenquist, saying that as a legislator in the state Senate, he “raised the standard.”

When Liljenquist began his term as a state senator in 2009, there was a mentality that encouraged freshman senators to take their time and not jump head first into the job, Anderson said.

“He changed the whole paradigm.” Anderson said, noting that the first item on Liljenquist’s agenda was to reform the pension system in Utah, and then he tackled Medicaid reform.

“I’m running for the United States Senate because it’s time,” Liljenquist said in his opening comments. “It’s time for a new generation of leaders to step up and take on the challenges of today.”

In 1975, the year Liljenquist was born, the national debt was $475 billion and it is now more than $15 trillion, he said.

It is time, he said, to tackle runaway entitlement spending and put it on a sustainable path, return power to the states, and return to the “conservative, constitutional principles that have made this country the greatest force for good on the earth in the history of mankind.” More…

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Mia Love (candidate for Congress)

Aspiring first black GOP congresswoman: Don’t put me in a box

Daily Caller: January 18: If Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love wins her bid for Congress, she will be the first black Republican congresswoman in history. But don’t try to put her in that box.

Love is running in Utah’s newly created 4th Congressional District. She will face a primary field including state Reps. Stephen Sandstrom and Carl Wimmer on June 26. If she wins, she’ll face Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who remains incredibly popular, in November.

The historical significance that her election would hold is not lost on Love, but she is adamant that she doesn’t want her race or gender to play any role in the contest. That said, she believes standing out in the sea of 435 congressmen would be a useful tool for the conservative cause she champions.

“Utah won’t vote for me because I’m going to stand out, they’ll vote for me because of my policies,” Love said in an interview with The Daily Caller.

“I have worked where the rubber meets the road on the most local levels for almost a decade,” she said. “I have cut spending before, my policies — my fiscal policies — I’ve put them into practice in Saratoga Springs, and have made them work.”

“In Washington we cannot take any chances, we have got to send our best,” Love added. “We’ve got to send people that are going to break through the 435 members of the House. We’ve got to find somebody who’s going to take all of those values that we hold dear and put them on a pedestal and be able to champion that.” More…

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Utah women learn about running for office

Salt Lake Tribune: January 16: Utah has a female problem.

Representation in elected positions does not reflect the population. Only seven states have a lower rating in terms of female representation in the state Legislature, and not one woman holds a seat in Congress or a statewide elected office. While women vote more than men and win races at the same rate as men, few women run for office, including appointed and elected boards and commissions.

In an effort to change those statistics, nearly 300 women attended the “Real Women Run: Find Your Voice” leadership training conference at the Miller campus of Salt Lake Community College in Sandy on Saturday. It was an opportunity for diverse women to gather and learn about Utah’s political process.

A panel of six women who won elections in Utah discussed why they jumped into their races and obstacles they faced. Speakers included Mia Love, Dee Dee Corradini, Louenda Downs, Lisa Kirchenheiter, Jackie Biskupski and Karen Shepherd.

Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs who recently announced her candidacy for Utah’s fourth congressional district, drove home two points to successful campaigning and told attendees to focus on their message.

“You are not a victim,” Love said. “Do not put yourself in a box.”

She said the most important thing to do to encourage young women to participate in our political system is to teach them the value of service, not just service in politics, but in all sectors of society. More…

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Mia Love On Track to be First Black Republican Congresswoman

Salt Lake Tribune: January 16: If Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love wins her bid for Congress, she will be the first black Republican congresswoman in history. But don’t try to put her in that box.

Love is running in Utah’s newly created 4th Congressional District. She will face a primary field including state Reps. Stephen Sandstrom and Carl Wimmer on June 26. If she wins, she’ll face Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who remains incredibly popular, in November.

The historical significance that her election would hold is not lost on Love, but she is adamant that she doesn’t want her race or gender to play any role in the contest. That said, she believes standing out in the sea of 435 congressmen would be a useful tool for the conservative cause she champions.

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GOP taps conservative activist to replace Wimmer

Salt Lake Tribune: January 20: McCay, a self-described conservative with a libertarian bent who is the state director for the conservative Washington-based group FreedomWorks, said he plans to focus on education and health-care issues.

“The first thing for me is finding my parking space,” he joked Friday. “Second, I am going to be looking to get involved in education issues. I’m also really interested in getting involved in Medicaid reform. I know those are two kind of divergent issues, but the way Medicaid is increasing its annual costs, it’s one of the largest threats we have to our education spending.”

Herriman Mayor Josh Mills finished second in the voting. Mills had the endorsement and backing of Wimmer, who resigned from the Legislature to run for Congress in Utah’s newly created 4th Congressional District.

McCay was supported by Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, who is also seeking the Republican nomination for the 4th District. Love supporters sought to portray McCay’s victory as a win in a proxy war.

“I think [Love supporters] perceived it that way, but I tried hard not to make it that way,” McCay said. “I certainly think that Mia Love will be a fantastic representative for the state of Utah, but I didn’t intend for this to be a Carl versus Mia symbol.”

McCay has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and spent 2½ years teaching at a private school before earning a law degree from Willamette University in Salem, Ore.

McCay believes his education background was important to delegates in the district and hopes to put that experience to use. He said much of what the state has done to improve education has missed the mark and “would have benefited had there been someone with an education background involved.” More…

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Poll: Salt Lake County Republicans Narrowly Prefer Wimmer over Love

Utah Pulse: January 25: Among those Salt Lake County Republicans who have a preference in the 4th Congressional District race, Carl Wimmer slightly edges Mia Love.

A UtahPolicy.com survey of 2008 and 2010 Republican caucus attendees finds that Carl Wimmer gets 26% while Mia Love gets 20%. Stephen Sandstrom and Jay Cobb each get under 10%, while 43% have not picked a candidate yet. More…

Categories: Utah politics Tags:

Tracking Senator Hatch’s conservative credentials

Weekly Clips from December 15, 2011 to December 29, 2011

 

Hatch: Essential Health Benefits Will Cause Premiums to Rise, Restrict Choices

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: December 16: “There is no question essential health benefits will increase the cost of insurance for almost every American,” said Hatch. “The framework proposed by the Administration takes away the right of individuals to choose the health care plan that best fits their needs.  Unfortunately, the partisan health care law is bending the health care cost curve in the wrong direction with more mandates, regulation, and price controls.  I will carefully scrutinize this process as it moves forward.” More…

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Hatch Statement at Senate Finance Committee Open Executive Session on Treasury, Tax Court, & Social Security Nominations

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: December 16: That said, let me move on to discussing the nominees at hand.  I have chosen to support the nominations of Mary John Miller to be an Under Secretary of the Treasury; Alastair M. Fitzpayne to be a Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury; and Kathleen Kerrigan to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court.

I have chosen, also, to vote against the nomination of Dr. Henry Aaron to be a Member of the Social Security Advisory Board, with Chairmanship of the Board as the ultimate destination.  Dr. Aaron has chosen to spend most of his time and efforts in the past decade or so on health care issues and advocacy.  Indeed, the vast majority of writings that he offered in support of his nomination have to do with health care, not Social Security.  Focusing one’s energies on health care, rather than analyzing Social Security policy, is not a choice to be faulted.  It does, however, give me pause about the extent to which Dr. Aaron has considered Social Security issues and analytical advances in the field over the past decade or more.

Dr. Aaron has written about Social Security more extensively in the past, but having written extensively does not guarantee analytical rigor, or conclusions and prescriptions with which everyone agrees.  And I do not always agree with his prescriptions.

Of course, differing opinions about policy prescriptions or analytical techniques and developments need not preclude voting in favor of a Board nominee.  I generally believe in reasonable deference to the President for nominations involving positions designed to provide advice to the President and his administration.  The Social Security Advisory Board, however, is set up to provide bipartisan advice on Social Security issues to Congress and the Social Security Commissioner, as well as the President.  And the ability of the Board Chair to work toward gathering bipartisan consensus is crucial to the Board functioning as an analytical advice body, as opposed to a body where political division and partisan rhetoric are the norm.

Therefore, it is necessary to consider the nomination of Dr. Aaron, who the President ultimately intends to Chair the Board, from the perspective of bipartisanship.  A nominee for Board Chair must demonstrate an ability to promote and garner bipartisan consensus.  The evidence does not convince me that Dr. Aaron would, as Board Chair, be able to set aside his partisan ideas — and penchant for higher taxes as the solution to entitlement challenges — and manage the Board in a bipartisan fashion that aims at consensus in analysis and conclusions.  More…

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Hatch Statement on Short-Term Senate Deal

US Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom: Ranking Member’s News: December 17: “Though I remain concerned with the continued extension of a temporary payroll tax holiday and its long-term implications for social security, I’m supporting this legislation, because it allows the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward and prevents physicians from getting hit with a 27.4 percent pay cut that could hinder access to quality care for American seniors. For one of the most anti-American-energy Administrations in recent memory, I’m glad this legislation will force the President to make a decision rather than punting on this shovel-ready, private-sector project that will spur job-creation now and in the future. The President can no longer avoid making a tough decision until after the elections.” More…

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Hatch On White House Withdrawal Of Craig Becker Nomination To NLRB; Urges President To Not Bypass Senate With NLRB Recess Appointments

December 15: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Craig Becker wasn’t confirmed by the Senate for valid reasons, and the Obama Administration never should have circumvented the will of the Senate by recess appointing him,” Hatch said. “I would strongly urge the White House against bypassing the Senate and making any recess appointments to the NLRB. Americans deserve to know who these members are, what they stand for, and that they will serve them, not any special interest group.”  More…

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Senate Republicans To President Obama: No More Recess Appointments For NLRB Nominees

December 19: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): In the letter, the Senators write that “Appointments to the NLRB have traditionally been made through prior agreement of both parties to ensure that any group of nominees placed on the board represents an appropriate political and philosophical balance.” The Senators noted that the “controversial recess appointment of NLRB Member Craig Becker is an example of an NLRB nominee having been appointed over the objection of the Senate and the result of that decision has been unending controversy throughout Member Becker’s entire term on the Board and, which has undermined the credibility of the entire NLRB.” More…

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Hatch Statement On Short-Term Senate Deal

December 19: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Though I remain concerned with the continued extension of a temporary payroll tax holiday and its long-term implications for social security, I’m supporting this legislation, because it allows the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward and prevents physicians from getting hit with a 27.4 percent pay cut that could hinder access to quality care for American seniors. For one of the most anti-American-energy Administrations in recent memory, I’m glad this legislation will force the President to make a decision rather than punting on this shovel-ready, private-sector project that will spur job-creation now and in the future. The President can no longer avoid making a tough decision until after the elections.” More…

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Hatch Votes Against Trillion Dollar Spending Bill

December 19: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Our national debt is more than $15 trillion, and unfortunately this bill continues to spend more money that we simply don’t have. Utahns are sick and tired of Washington spending us blind. It’s time to get serious about getting our spending under control so we strengthen the economy for current and future generations of Utahns, and that’s why I opposed this spending bill today.”

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Senate Republicans to President Obama: No More Recess Appointments for NLRB Nominees

December 19: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): In the letter, the Senators write that “Appointments to the NLRB have traditionally been made through prior agreement of both parties to ensure that any group of nominees placed on the board represents an appropriate political and philosophical balance.” The Senators noted that the “controversial recess appointment of NLRB Member Craig Becker is an example of an NLRB nominee having been appointed over the objection of the Senate and the result of that decision has been unending controversy throughout Member Becker’s entire term on the Board and, which has undermined the credibility of the entire NLRB.” More…

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Hatch On House Payroll Tax Extension Vote

December 20: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “The only way to resolve this impasse is for the President to weigh in and force Senate Democrats to reconvene to iron out the differences with the House.”

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Hatch Statement on New BLM Guidelines for Sage Grouse

December 29: News Room: Press Releases: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “Yet again, the BLM is trying to muscle its way into a situation where the State of Utah, private landowners, private industries and other stakeholders have already taken action. This type of one-size-fits-all environmental policy may be good for bureaucrats in Washington but it sure doesn’t work for Utah. Utahns don’t need any more direction from the BLM. The BLM needs to let Utahns continue to do their jobs and for the BLM to stop standing in the way of the economic and recreational opportunities that make Utah great.” More…

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Hatch: I’m not a terrorist

Salt Lake Tribune: Political Cornflakes: December 19: Sen. Orrin Hatch is tried of being forced to go through the full-body scanners at the airport instead of being allowed to go through a regular metal detector. It’s a complaint he has heard from Utahns and one he pressed with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Wednesday.

“Maybe I look like a terrorist, I don’t know, but I don’t think so,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m really very kind and loving.” More…

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Hatch: Obama is a ‘scaredy cat’

POLITICO: December 16: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is so frustrated by President Barack Obama that the senator blurted out Friday morning in a TV interview that the president is a “scaredy cat hiding in some closet in the White House.”

Hatch was criticizing Obama on Fox News for dilly-dallying on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project.

“I mean, my gosh, it makes sense. It is a shovel-ready project, ready to go right now. The pipes are already bought. It just has to be done,” Hatch said. “All we need [is] a president who will step up and start to lead and quit acting like some scaredy cat hiding in some closet in the White House.”

Hatch quickly added, “Maybe that is not — maybe I shouldn’t have said it that way, but that’s the way I feel right now.”

The Utah Republican also said Obama seems to want to “play games” with the controversial proposal.

“His environmental extremists don’t want it, and yet all of his union people, including the Teamsters, do want it because it means 20,000 new highly paid jobs, and it also means an alleviation of some of our dependency on foreign oil,” Hatch said. More…

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Hatch and the rich

Salt Lake Tribune: December 17: Sen. Orrin Hatch needs to explain how it is that a small payroll tax cut given to everyone for one year isn’t helpful to economic or job growth, but a nine-year tax cut for the wealthy is (“Hatch opposes temporary payroll tax cut,” Tribune, Dec. 3).

The wealthy have been receiving a tax cut for the past nine years, yet studies show that there is no relationship between tax cuts for the wealthy and job growth.

A good portion of our current debt is because of this tax cut. Why would anyone, other than the wealthy, support the continuation of this tax cut?

Tom Day

Salt Lake City

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Payroll deal sails through Senate, 89-10

POLITICO: December 17: “I think we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, and we don’t have any money to pay Peter back,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “That bothers me a lot.” More…

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Keystone Pipeline Faces Uncertain Fate Despite Senate Deal

FOX News: December 17: Republicans hope that in an election year, Obama will side with those pushing for job creation and approve the permit. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told Fox News it would be “crazy” to deny the project just to please “radical” environmentalists. More…

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The Top-10 Utah Political Stories of 2011

Utah Pulse: December 19: 2011 was an eventful year in Utah’s political universe. From the passage and repeal of HB 477 to Rep. Jason Chaffetz deciding not to challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch to the once-a-decade redistricting process. We asked our “political insiders” what they thought were the top-10 stories of 2011.

UtahPolicy.com “political insiders'” choices for the top-10 Utah political stories of 2011
#5After years of deficit, Utah is once again running a budget surplus.

#6Forbes magazine names Utah the “Best State for Business”
#9After a long flirtation with a run, Rep. Jason Chaffetz chooses not to challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch for the GOP nomination in 2012  More…

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Tea Party ‘super PAC’ going after Sen. Orrin Hatch

iWatchNews: December 20: An outside spending group affiliated with the conservative Tea Party movement is targeting long-time Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in 2012 for not being conservative enough.

FreedomWorks for America is a so-called “super PAC,” meaning it can accept unlimited donations from corporations, individuals and labor unions and spend the funds on advertising and other expenditures aimed at electing or defeating a candidate.

On Tuesday, the group reported to the Federal Election Commission that it spent more than $43,000 on expenditures to oppose Hatch, including payments to a Utah communications firm for research, a D.C.-based polling firm, an Oregon-based yard sign manufacturer and a North Carolina online services company.

The group is affiliated with the conservative FreedomWorks 501(c4) nonprofit group, which also spends money on campaign advertising, but is not required to reveal its donors.

Ryan Hecker, a spokesman for the super PAC, told iWatch News the group opposes what it calls Hatch’s support for increased federal government spending and support of the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The organization is required to reveal its donors, but is too new to file a report. The super PAC launched in September and promised a grass roots approach to organizing rather than a massive ad buy. More…

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Orrin, Jim and Rob?

Salt Lake Tribune: December 26: My compliments for the editorial “Victory for terror: Lee and Chaffetz defend liberties” (Our View, Dec. 19), which discussed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and its provision allowing for the detention of American citizens without due process for indefinite periods. That should scare the socks off any thinking individual, and it will if enough news media take up the challenge.

One wonders why Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Jim Matheson and Rob Bishop voted for it. Somebody ought to ask them.

Bart Carter

Highland

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‘New Year’s Resolutions’ for 2012

Utah Pulse: December 27: 2011 is winding down, and we asked our insiders to come up with some “New Year’s Resolutions” for someone or something in Utah politics.

“May Orrin Hatch resolve to just be the solid Senator with wisdom he has been all these years and forget what some are trying to make him out to be.” More…

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Founders of Patrick Henry Caucus moving on

Daily Herald: December 29: “Our goal has been to push the state sovereignty movement and a conservative agenda,” said Herrod, who is expected to run against Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in 2012. “From my perspective we have become a little frustrated because some of the things we have wanted to accomplish we are finding can only be done at a federal level. I think that is why you see three members of the caucus looking at running for the federal delegation and one to be the governor.” More…

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Dan Liljenquist

Liljenquist resigns from Utah Senate, may challenge Hatch

Deseret News: December 15: Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, resigned from the Utah Legislature on Thursday, perhaps paving the way for a run against U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Liljenquist declined Thursday to say whether he planned to challenge the six-term senator, instead saying he will make an official announcement in January.

“I’ve so enjoyed serving the people of south Davis County,” he said. “It’s been a great honor. I’ve worked hard, and we’ve gotten some good things done.”

Liljenquist said he’s hoping the timing of his resignation allows enough time for south Davis County residents “to select a suitable replacement who can hit the ground running” in time for the start of the 2012 legislative session on Jan. 23.

In a letter delivered to Senate President Micheal Waddoups on Thursday afternoon, Liljenquist said his resignation is “effective immediately.”

“I do this with a sense of gratitude and optimism,” the letter states. “Life is short. It’s time to move on.”

Liljenquist said he “tried to bloom where … planted,” and thanked Waddoups for assigning him to work on ethics, business and retirement issues.

“He was involved in a lot of things,” Waddoups said of Liljenquist. “He represented his people up in Davis County well. He’ll be missed. They’ll be hard pressed to replace him.”

In October, Liljenquist was honored as one of the nation’s nine “2011 Public Officials of the Year” by Governing magazine. He was recognized by the magazine for his overhaul of the state’s pension plan to compensate for the loss of more than $6 billion in the economic downturn.

Liljenquist sponsored a number of bills beginning in the 2010 Legislature to avoid having to put $400 million annually into the system for the next 25 years.

Last month, Liljenquist was named “Legislative Entrepreneur of the Year” by FreedomWorks, a national tea party organization based in Washington, D.C.  More…

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Meet Orrin Hatch’s Tea Party threat

Washington Examiner: Joel Gehrke: December 21: “God bless Orrin Hatch for his service to this state,” said state senator Dan Liljenquist, R, who is strongly considering a run against Hatch, in a recent telephone interview. “I was two years old when he was elected and he’s been there a long time representing the state. But elections really are about the future, and I’m looking for leadership on these entitlement issues, the issues I focused on in the Utah legislature: long term spending, the long term trajectory of our budgets, and trying to make sure those issues are tackled before they become disastrous.”

The implicit commentary, that Hatch — a 36-year U.S. Senator — has been in Washington too long, calls to mind Hatch’s original campaign for Senate against an 18-year incumbent, Democrat Frank Moss. “What do you call a Senator who’s served in office for 18 years?” Hatch asked of the incumbent Senator in 1976. “You call him home.”

Liljenquist, who recently received the “Legislative Entrepreneur of the Year Award” from the conservative group Freedomworks, is willing to put a sharp edge on the apparently positive gloss on Hatch’s career. “He’s certainly an institution, but there’s a whole new generation of people getting involved in politics who are saying, ‘where have our leaders been, how did we get here, and who is going to get us out of it?'”

Congress has “driven more and more decisions away from Utah and to the federal government — from 1979 when Sen. Hatch and others voted to establish the federal Department of Education — to as recently as this decade, with the massive expansion of entitlement programs.”

Liljenquist even laid the aspects of Obamacare most detested by the Tea Party at Hatch’s door. “It was this generation of politicians, Republicans and Democrats, that laid out the constitutional argument for individual mandates in the early 90s,” he said, “As states, we deal with the aftermath of these decisions, and in many ways we’re being blackmailed with our own money.”

Were he to run for Senate and win (and he certainly sounds like a candidate), Liljenquist says he would want to lead the charge on entitlement reforms, while emphasizing the need to honor commitments made to seniors dependent on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. “We as a country will not survive unless we put Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security on a sustainable footing,” he said. Liljenquist promised to advocate The Path to Prosperity proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. He allowed, however, that Newt Gingrich’s critique of the plan — that the change in Medicare should not be mandatory — identified an imperfection in Ryan’s plan.

“People in my generation, we need a different deal,” Liljenquist concluded. “I think people in my generation are willing to make that tradeoff. They’d rather have a free country and have the government do a little bit less for them than to be ensnared, entrapped, and crushed by debt. The time for that debate has come, and that’s exactly where I’m interested in stepping up.”

Liljenquist told The Washington Examiner that he will announce his final decision on whether to run in January. More…

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Here’s what Utah’s politicians wished from Santa

Deseret News: December 25: Sen. Orrin Hatch sought nothing for himself this Christmas. He respects the financial and fiscal skills of possible opponent State Sen. Dan Liljenquist so much that he asked Santa to deliver a church mission call to Liljenquist to overhaul the LDS Church retirement system.

Liljenquist’s Christmas request was also quite simple: He just asked Santa to help Hatch “act his age” with a bounteous number of “senior moments” in 2012. More…

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Mia Love for Congress

Rep. Jim Matheson leads all comers in Utah’s new 4th Congressional District, poll shows

Deseret News: December 25:  Incumbency has its privileges, even in a congressional district without an incumbent.

Rep. Jim Matheson leads all challengers, none of whom in these early stages can match his name recognition or likability, in Utah’s recently drawn 4th Congressional District, a new poll shows.

The Democratic six-term congressman quickly established himself as the frontrunner in the new district after jumping a week ago from the 2nd District for the 2012 election. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t in for a tough fight.

“Jim Matheson will have a lot of work to do win,” pollster Dan Jones said. “I believe this is one the Democrats are counting on winning, but it’s going to be a close race at every level.”

The Utah Legislature redrew congressional boundaries this fall to reflect the 2010 census that gave the state a fourth U.S. House seat. Lawmakers carved Matheson’s current district four ways. The new 4th District contains southwestern Salt Lake County, western Utah County and all of Juab and Sanpete counties — all heavily Republican.

“I’ve never let the boundaries of a district define what I’ve done. I try to act in the interest of all of the state of Utah. I think people know that,” Matheson said.

The poll shows Sandstrom and Wimmer in a dead heat for the GOP nomination, with Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love hanging close. State delegates next spring will choose a nominee or send two candidates to a primary election.

“It’s going to be hard fought,” Jones said. “I don’t see any way they can avoid a primary.”

Jones sees Wimmer, Sandstrom and Love as viable primary contenders.

“Any one of the three could win it,” he said.

The Democratic congressman does well — as he has in each of his campaigns over the years — with independent voters, winning at least two-thirds of them against each of the four GOP opponents in the poll.

Love found the numbers encouraging. She said they confirm what she believes, that Utahns are looking for someone new to better serve their interests.

“I just see it as a great opportunity. It’s a clean slate. I get to focus on the things that are important to all of us,” she said. More…

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Mia Love making a run in Utah’s new 4th Congressional District

Salt Lake Tribune: December 22: “I am running for Congress, yes,” Love said Thursday while waiting for furniture to arrive at her campaign digs situated between offices for a dentist and an eye doctor in River City Plaza.

A Republican, Love enters an already crowded GOP field including high-profile candidates Rep. Stephen Sandstrom and Rep. Carl Wimmer, along with lawyer Jay Cobb. And now there’s an incumbent to contend with since Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson last week decided to jump from the 2nd District to the 4th District.

“You can send a whole bunch of Wimmers to Congress. You can send a whole bunch of Sandstroms to Congress. You can only send one me,” Love said.

Being a conservative African-American woman sets Love, 36, apart from the other challengers. “I’m always saying in Washington if you can’t blend in, you might as well stand out,” she said.

But she said that’s not what will get her elected. Rather, Love says, it’s her budget-cutting experience as mayor and focus on limited government and family values that will resonate with voters.

“This is about leadership. It’s not about throwing bombs or throwing messages out there and hope they stick. It’s about tackling problems,” said the first-term mayor who also served six years on the Saratoga Springs City Council.

Love said she is “rapidly” raising money in Utah and from some sources in Washington, though she wouldn’t identify them. She also wouldn’t address how much she thinks she needs to run a competitive campaign. More…

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