Students Ask Questions of the Registered Political Parties in Utah

Sam Slighting
Brigham Young University
Religious Liberties v. Anti-discrimination

“In recent years, there has been a tension between anti-discrimination laws and the protection of religious liberty. What would your party do to address this tension and ensure that people are not discriminated against based on their religious beliefs?”

Republican Party: We believe the passage of SB 296 (ANTI-DISCRIMINATION AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AMENDMENTS) is the proper framework for addressing religious freedom and non-discrimination. This legislation invited a spirit of compromise and a desire for various advocacy groups on this issue to work together.

Independent American Party: Our party would treat as unconstitutional those laws which restrict the right of free thought where accompanying actions (or in-actions) are not in themselves violating another’s rights.

Constitution: So long as the free exercise of one’s religion does not cause harm to, nor abridge the rights of another, there should be no curtailment on the free exercise of religion, neither publicly nor privately. And taking offense or having one’s feelings hurt does not constitute having one’s rights violated. (“Rights” are to be understood as those which all people may enjoy simultaneously, without them having to be provided at the expense of another.) This religious liberty should be construed to include the right to free association, and should not be abridged by any other organization or entity which a person attends or in which a person has enrolment (i.e. schools). Notwithstanding, no religious liberty nor antidiscrimination law should be considered as abridging the rights of any private organization or entity to determine its own criteria and terms of membership therein. No anti-discrimination law should be passed if it abridges the above defined rights (including, but not limited to, privacy) of any person.

Democratic: We recognize issues on both sides and see room to work together. One example of this spirit of collaboration was the bipartisan 2015 LGBT nondiscrimination bill passed here in Utah that protects job and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill also offers protections to religious groups, showing it is possible to uphold the rights of our citizens without discriminating against the rights or beliefs of others.

Libertarian: We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion. For voluntary dealings among private entities, parties should be free to choose with whom they trade and set whatever trade terms are mutually agreeable. Government meddling in local markets distorts the natural feedback between consumers and entrepreneurs.

Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Members of private organizations retain their rights to set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate, and individuals are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts, and other free-market solutions.

Hali McDonald
Weber State University
Cost of Higher Education

“A University education is more and more necessary to succeed in the world these days, but I worry about the amount of debt I might have to acquire to get through my degree. What sort of programs would your party promote to make it easier for students to get through college with the least amount of debt possible and repay the debt accumulated most efficiently?”

Libertarian: Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and his running mate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, believe nothing is more important to our future as a country than educating our next generations. The federal Department of Education imposes national standards and requirements that are costly, overly bureaucratic, and actually compromise our ability to provide students with a good education. And federal subsidies compromise our ability to provide students with an affordable education.

Governors Johnson and Weld believe that the key to restoring education excellence in the U.S. lies in innovation, freedom, and flexibility that Washington, D.C. cannot provide. Massive open online courses, like the edX project, offer one way to make higher education more accessible.

Republican: Senator Mike Lee hosted his 2016 Utah Solutions Summit on 8/31/16. This year the Utah Solutions Summit focused on how “disruptive innovation” – in government, educational institutions, and the business world – is the key to fostering the collaborative partnerships needed to create a healthy and productive workforce prepared for success. The summit focused on the cost of a higher education. We support putting all options on the table to drive down higher education costs to a more affordable level.

Independent American Party: The party does not endorse or promote any government programs for paying student tuition. The exception to this is those programs which are benefits which entice participation in public service, such as veterans’ educational programs or educational loan forgiveness for certain teachers. The solution to this problem is not to be found in government programs. In fact, government programs are largely responsible for the dramatic rise in tuition over the past 30 years. There is a direct correlation between the increase of availability of student loans and grants and the rise in tuition in colleges and universities.

A large part of the solution is to be found in educational programs which are alternatives to the traditional in-residence university experience. There are numerous means now available through the internet for a person to obtain the education necessary to succeed in the world. It is important that we break up establishment monopolies on “accreditation”, “certifications”, and such and instead recognize that formal, traditional educational programs are not exclusive in producing educated, capable graduates. We should be looking to the natural solutions to be found in a truly free educational services market rather than government dominated programs encumbered by bureaucracy, inefficiency, and waste.

Constitution: There is no provision in the Constitution for the national government to be involved in education at all. Not financially, not directing or designing educational curriculum (at any level, K-12, trade schools, or higher education), not any involvement whatsoever. Nothing in the Constitution could be construed to allow money to be taken from taxpayers to redistribute to students for their benefit, either as direct grants of payment, through taxpayer guaranteed loans, or any other process. Education is something a student seeks on their own accord, using their own reasons and resources for the purpose they decide. If they deem the effort desirable based upon their own analysis, they are free to pursue it and pay for the benefits they hope to obtain. In addition, there are numerous non-traditional approaches to education available to students which are often available at lower cost than “traditional” higher education. Many students obtain both the education they desire and graduate debt-free through thrift, hard work, and obtaining scholarships offered through private sources. Debt and education need not be synonymous expectations.

There was a time when it was not difficult for a student to “work his way” through school. Now, for a myriad of reasons, they can mostly be condensed into the “governmental involvement” category. It has become much more difficult for a person to pay his own way without borrowing. Two things are immediately obvious:

Firstly, there is no provision in the Constitution for the Federal Government to be involved in education. Therefore, the Federal Government should not be involved in financing in any way the costs of education for any sector of the population. The end effect of giving government guaranteed or financed loans to students is to make them dependent upon the government.

Secondly, government control or meddling in the education system, be it of whatever description it may, always and ultimately increases the costs to the students. Eliminating governmental involvement in education would drastically reduce the cost of education.

Democratic: President Obama’s push for two free years of community college is a step in the right direction. Our middle class was created by having one of the best public K-12 education systems in the world and higher education that was affordable. Over generations, higher education has become out of reach for many. Our economic strength as a nation will depend on having the best-educated workforce, which means we need leaders who support measures to make college more affordable for Utahns and their families.

Ezekial Lee
Weber State University
Terrorism

“On Sept 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks on American soil disturbed the post-Cold War era, sending the United States into a new series of wars in countries which often sponsored terrorism. Since then, we have seen the rise of additional extremist groups, like ISIL, which have only further disrupted the stability of the Middle East. What should be the role of the United States in fighting terrorism at home and abroad?”

Constitution: The national government has the responsibility to protect the States against invasion (see United States Constitution Article IV, Section 4). The first priority is to secure the nation’s borders. They must interdict at our borders those seeking to enter the country illegally. It is extremely foolish of the nation to have porous borders when we have been told we are in a generational war on terror, and Americans are targets. There is no power delegated to the United States Government to “police” the grievances of the nations of the world. Our current policy of unending military adventurism not only violates the original intent of the American Founders, it fosters animosity in nations throughout the world as we meddle in their affairs. This creates “blowback” from the aggrieved nations, making the United States and our citizens a target.

Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the United States Constitution delegated the war-making power of the nation to the congress. That power may not be constitutionally re-delegated to anyone else; not the executive, not a supranational body, not through treaty, etc. Congress has the sole power to take this nation to war. Their decision process is to be deliberative, and solemnly exercised, and only for just purposes in defense of American’s life, liberty, and property. The founders never intended for America’s considerable war-making powers to be exercised in pre-emptive wars throughout the world. We are, in large measure, creating our own enemies as we pick winners and losers in fights that are not ours. John Quincy Adams succinctly captured the philosophy with this statement: “America has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to which she clings . . . . She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

America is currently engaged in an undeclared war with an ill-defined enemy (terrorism), a war which threatens to be never ending, and is doubtless un-winnable because we have no clearly identifiable enemy. In dealing with this situation, we need to accomplish three things:
Firstly, there would be substantially less “terrorism” to fight if the United States government didn’t actively support by many means, either directly or indirectly, the terrorist groups we purport to fight. Eliminating our support of such groups, whether such support passes as foreign aid or by whatever means it is given, would weaken their capability for harm and eliminate much of the problem.
Secondly, If we lived by the words of Thomas Jefferson: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none…,” and ceased our never-ending meddling and interference in the internal affairs of other nations, we would regain in the eyes of the nations of the world much of the respect we have lost due to our miscreant behavior, and we would at the same time eliminate much of the resentment and reason for such terrorist activity in the first place.
Thirdly, the United States, should maintain a strong military to protect our own nation from external threats, and tighten borders to control access, but we need not be the world’s policeman.
Independent American Party: The Federal Government should minimize its war-making footprint here at home and should, abroad, pursue policies of peace and minimization of involvement in the internal affairs of other nations. The Federal Government should step back from its policy of treating our homeland as a war zone. This policy has terribly harmed civil rights and the security of citizens while achieving only negligible perceptible benefits. The propaganda surrounding the threat of terror has instilled in the American people a paranoia largely out of proportion to the actual danger. Statistically, an American citizen is 177 times more likely to die in an auto accident than from a terrorist attack, and 6 times more likely to die at the hands of our own police.

There is great danger to freedom when the military power of the national government is turned inward toward its citizens rather than pointed outwardly as the Constitution contemplates. The principles underlying Posse Comitatus are skirted and disregarded by the establishment of large and powerful agencies which are a substantial part of military efforts and whose stage of action is significantly within the confines of our own nation.

The Federal government’s “War on Terror” has been an enormous mistake, costly in lives, treasure, reputation, and relations. Our efforts to protect our citizens should be concentrated in national defensive efforts instead of plainly offensive wars of conquest and domination. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our large military presence in the world have made us many enemies and have made our people less, not more safe.

Republican: We cannot nation-build in that region because those nation’s boundaries are artificial and not based on their traditional ethnic, religious, and family ties which go back thousands of years. A Trump administration foreign policy will be based on President Reagan’s Peace Through Strength Doctrine.
Democratic: The United States has long been a leader in international diplomacy, and under President Obama this has continued. We must first seek diplomatic solutions to crises. We must also work closely with our allies to defeat extremist groups. This can be done through information sharing with our allies and other means. Donald Trump has spoken about turning his back on our NATO allies, when we should be strengthening them.

Libertarian: The objective of both our foreign policy and our military should be straightforward: To protect us from harm and to allow us to exercise our freedoms. Looking back over the past couple of decades, it is difficult to see how the wars we have waged, the interventions we have conducted, the lives sacrificed, and the trillions of tax dollars we have spent on the other side of the globe have made us safer. If anything, our meddling in the affairs of other nations has made us less safe.

Many senior military and foreign policy analysts have concluded that the rise of ISIS can actually be traced back to instability created by our meddling in the affairs of others. This is because the last several administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have used our military resources to pursue undemocratic regime changes, embark on impossible nation-building exercises, and to establish the United States as the policeman of the world.

This imperialistic foreign policy makes it easier for ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other violent extremists to recruit new members. We need to build a strong military. But we should not use our military strength to try to solve the world’s problems. Doing so creates new enemies and perpetual war. Besides, we have enough problems to solve right here at home. As President, Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to cut off the funding on which finance violent extremist armies depend. He will repair relationships with our allies. And he will only send our brave soldiers to war when clearly authorized by Congress after meaningful, transparent deliberation and debate.

The idea that we can defeat terrorism by simply putting more boots on the ground or dropping more bombs ignores the reality that this expensive tactic simply hasn’t worked. In fact, it’s made the situation worse.

Darian Hackney
Utah Valley University
The Environment

“Living in Utah, I care about a healthy environment. What solutions do you propose to improve air quality in Utah, particularly during winter inversions along the Wasatch front?”

Democratic: The Most important way to improve our environment is by having all of us individually doing our own part. Whether you use public transportation or less energy, we need to ensure harmful pollutants don’t get into the atmosphere. On a statewide level, we support forward-thinking approaches to public infrastructure that prioritizes energy efficiency and offers transit alternatives for Utahns. We also support the development of clean energy alternatives. Finally, we need to enforce the rule we have in place to prevent unlawful polluting of our waters and air.

Independent American Party: Restrictions on activities which contribute to the air quality problem are justified because it affects our rights to breathe clean air. However, those restrictions must be balanced with their negative effects on the economy and the lives of our people. Solutions such as increased emissions standards for both autos and businesses, development of mass transit, restrictions on wood stoves, etc. are all viable options. Determining which and how must be determined by proper research and analysis by competent professionals. This information then becomes a centerpiece of public debate over solutions. Because this issue may so directly affect all citizens the solution must be one which the public is fully supportive of.

Republican: We support a comprehensive strategy to improve air quality because there is not just one solution. We should encourage mass transit, tele-commuting, smarter traffic signaling and road design, as well as more alternative fuel vehicles.

Constitution: The national government has no power delegated to it to intervene in the weather patterns of Utah. Interestingly, not long after the United States obtained this geographical region from Mexico at the conclusion of the Mexican War through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo, the nation sent an expedition out to the Great Basin to explore and document it. This expedition was called The Stansbury Expedition. In its 1850 report, it noted the inversion phenomenon we continue to experience today under certain meteorological conditions. This 1850 report notes what was experienced in the pre-industrial era of Utah, when a small number of Mormons, Native Americans, and transients were here. Most today fail to admit that its root cause is geology and meteorology. Until the mountains are removed and air flow is enhanced we will continue to experience inversions and hazy valleys. Regardless, the national government has no constitutional authority for intervention. And it is unlikely Utah will solve the problem, even if it mandates that the populations in the valleys be reduced to pre-1850 levels.

The poor air quality in the Wasatch Front valleys during the winter inversions is a problem Utah has lived with for many decades. Steps have been taken which should have, in some measure, alleviated the problem. The light rail system and other public transit facilities have doubtlessly helped, but any gains realized have likely been lost by the increase in population.

Any controls or restrictions on driving, or burning of wood, or on other “polluting” activities that are put in to effect should most certainly be limited to the areas where the air quality is a serious problem, and should be in effect only during the worst of the season. Exemptions should exist for those who have no alternative sources of heat. There should be no federal or interstate involvement whatsoever in dealing with this problem. Any attempted solution should be entirely within the purview of the state or affected counties.

Libertarian: Governor Johnson believes the Environmental Protection Agency, when focused on its true mission, plays an important role in keeping the environment and citizens safe. Johnson does not, however, believe the government should be engaging in social and economic engineering for the purpose of creating winners and losers in what should be a robust free market. Preventing a polluter from harming our water or air is one thing. Having politicians in Washington, D.C., acting on behalf of high powered lobbyists, determining the future of clean energy innovation is another.

In a healthy economy that allows the market to function unimpeded, consumers, innovators, and personal choices will do more to bring about environmental protection and restoration than will government regulations driven by special interests. Too often, when Washington, D.C. gets involved, the winners are those with the political clout to write the rules of the game, and the losers are the people and businesses actually trying to innovate. Policies favoring roads over rails and bike paths, and bans on direct sales of clean-operating vehicles, are local examples of corporate welfare that promote wasteful and polluting behavior.

Alex Numez
University of Utah
Immigration

“There are currently an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. What should US policy be to deal with these individuals?”

Libertarian: Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.

Governors Johnson and Weld believe that, instead of appealing to emotions and demonizing immigrants, we should focus on creating a more efficient system of providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment, and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society.

Republican: We should have a firm but fair policy on dealing with undocumented immigrants, but first we must secure our borders. Any resolution to this issue must also include commitments from the countries of origins of the undocumented immigrants to improve the standard of living in their countries and provide a social safety net. This will lessen the demand of those citizens to leave their countries.

Independent American Party: Americans, as any nation, have a right to protect and control their borders. However, there are many concerns – economic, moral, and legal – which must be taken into account regarding those who are already here. The first consideration is the effect upon the American citizens, both positive and negative, of the continued presence of these migrants. The duration of peaceful, upstanding residence as well as contribution to the American economy and society need to be weighed in. As part of the vetting process migrants should be screened for their support of American fundamental values of freedom. The detriment to migrants should they be deported must factor in also.

Constitution: Article I, Section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution delegates the responsibility of naturalization to the congress. Article IV, Section 4 requires the national government to protect the States against invasion. There is no “right of migration” that exists between nations. The 1648 Westphalia Treaty established the principle of a nation’s sovereignty within its borders, including the right to determine the rules of governance within their borders. A nation that cannot or will not maintain the integrity of its borders cannot and will not remain a sovereign nation. We must begin vigorously enforcing our current immigration laws. The United States must secure its borders and regain its ability to allow entrance into the country under terms determined by our lawful constitutional systems. The nation must establish and strictly carry out a vetting process that welcomes immigrants on terms determined by law. Screening should include such things as intentions, threats, diseases, criminal history, etc. We do not have to take everyone, but everyone who comes should have a desire to become, wholeheartedly, an American. Originally, under the immigration laws created in 1790 and 1795 would-be Americans, after a long “proving process,” were required to renounce all previously loyalties, and demonstrate themselves of good character.

Current socialistic welfare-state policies which reward any and all comers with taxpayer-provided economic benefits must be completely eliminated. Dole-based systems that redistribute the means of Americans through the force of government must be eliminated. Charity is the responsibility of individuals, churches, and private organizations.

Without government-provided economic incentive, the great majority of illegal immigrants will likely self-deport. There must not be an “amnesty” solution. President Reagan tried that as a “one-time” solution to a problem that was supposed to be about half the size it turned out to be, and only encouraged an explosive influx of additional illegals who are certain they will get another “one-time” pass. The current number of illegals is likely millions larger than we are being told, just like it was in Reagan’s time.

The nation also must withdraw from so-called “free-trade” agreements such as NAFTA which have nothing to do with free trade, and everything to do with trade managed by multi-national bureaucracies in violation of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, which delegates to congress the power to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.” These so-called “free-trade” agreements have harmed the workers and displaced them in all of the signatory countries.

If people from other nations feel like the United States has a desirable environment, they must seek to implement the conditions and circumstances in their home countries which will allow them to enjoy those conditions and circumstances within their own nation.

First and foremost we need to enforce our current immigration laws. The borders need to be tightened up to prevent the problem from worsening. Those who are here illegally now and who commit serious crimes need to be jailed or deported immediately. Others who are here illegally should be given a fixed time period in which to “get legal” or go home, or alternatively, face deportation and possible confiscation of property. Welfare, medical care, education, voting rights, and other benefits (unconstitutional to start with) should not be given to those who are here illegally. Those who are here illegally should not be granted citizenship, nor should their children be considered citizens by birth, since their parents are not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” as stated in the fourteenth amendment. (This is why children of foreign diplomats born in this country are not given citizenship…. because their parents are not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”)

Democratic: We need to deliver meaningful action to modernize America’s immigration system while upholding human dignity, supporting our economy, providing for our nation’s defense, and keeping families together. We support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants currently in our country who don’t have criminal records. Passing comprehensive immigration reform will secure our borders, grow our economy, and reduce our deficits. Passing immigration reform isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.

James Carver
Dixie State University
Health Care

“As a college student, I am concerned about both access to and the cost of health care. What is the best path forward for our country when it comes to affordable health care?”

Constitution: Notwithstanding the foolish meanderings of the Roberts court on the so-called Obamacare travesty, there is no Constitutional authority for the United States government to be involved in healthcare or medicine. In his ruling, Roberts opined that since the Constitution grants the national government the power to tax, it may therefore tax anything and everything for whatever purpose it decides, including healthcare. If that is the case, the Constitution has been eliminated and no longer exists. No more “few and defined” enumerated powers! Under Roberts’ ruling that form of government has been replaced by an amorphous leviathan waiting to devour its next conquest. This position violates all logic, reason, and intelligence. The Constitution granted the national government the power to tax in fulfilment of the powers delegated to it, and no more! The “Father of the Constitution,” James Madison said: “Does it follow, because [a] power is given to congress, that it is absolute and unlimited? . . . The exercise of the power must be consistent with the object of the delegation.”

America had the best medical and healthcare system in the world until the government became involved in medicine. The federal government began administering Medicare in 1966, and the problems (and costs) associated with medical care have skyrocketed ever since. The system is broken because of government intervention.

The solution is to completely remove the national government from all aspects of healthcare and medicine, not “repeal and replace” as some suggest. Medicine and healthcare are personal choices. If someone engages a medical practitioner to help with a health issue, the matter is between the patient and practitioner and whomever else they chose to bring into the equation.

The best path forward for our country when it comes to affordable health care (better termed “medical care”) would be to totally end government involvement in the medical industry, and the closely intertwined health and accident insurance industry, and let a free market prevail. This would include the repeal of “Obamacare” and anything like it.

Government regulation and subsidy constitutes a threat to both the quality and availability of patient-oriented health care and treatment. Hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers should be accountable to patients – not to politicians, insurance bureaucrats, or HMO Administrators.

The Federal government has no Constitutional provision to regulate or restrict the freedom of the people to have access to medical care, supplies or treatments. We advocate, therefore, the elimination of the federal Food and Drug Administration, as it has been the federal agency primarily responsible for prohibiting beneficial products, treatments, and technologies here in the United States that are freely available in much of the rest of the civilized world. We affirm freedom of choice of practitioner and treatment for all citizens for their health care. We support the right of patients to seek through the courts redress of their grievances against insurers, healthcare providers, manufacturers and/or HMO’s.

Democratic: Under President Obama, our nation’s healthcare system has made great strides thanks to the Affordable Care Act. However, improvements must still be made to the availability and cost of healthcare. Utah is ranked 27th in the country with regard to children’s health coverage. We are one of the few states left in the nation that has not yet expanded healthcare coverage to the most needy in our communities. Utahns deserve leaders who prioritize the well¬-being of our families. We must pass Medicaid expansion so our most vulnerable can get the coverage they need. The Affordable Care Act will work only if state legislatures get behind it and stop playing party politics.

Republican: We have now learned that Obamacare is not the answer because it has created health care monopolies and drive up costs significantly. In order for healthcare to be affordable, we must have competition within the cost drivers. It is no accident that higher education costs are skyrocketing, as well as health care costs – government is at the center of both. Competition is the only way to drive down costs to an affordable level.

Independent American Party: The increase in medical assistance programs has been a major factor in the rise of health-care costs. Government should not be involved in providing health-care or assistance except in those instances where such is part of an enticement benefit, such as the military or veterans’ benefits. Government providing health-care to citizens is not supported in the Constitution. That is not what the welfare clause is about.

A truly free market in health-care is the natural solution which will maximize benefits and minimize expenses. The government role in this is to protect the competitive playing field against monopolies and unfair business practices.

Libertarian: We favor a free-market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.

Campaign Finance Laws

“In the past several years, the amount of special interest and corporate money being raised and spent in American election campaigns has skyrocketed. This has raised concerns that our elected officials may be more influenced by these interests than the voters they represent. Should Campaign laws be changed to address those concerns, and if so how?”

Democratic: Yes. There is no question that the 2010 Citizens United decision undermined existing campaign finance laws by flooding corporate interests into Washington. To correct this, we must create election contribution limits for individuals and groups, as well as enhance requirements for campaign disclosure. There are necessary steps for transparency in government.

Libertarian: We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. The marketplace of ideas need not be constrained because of the threat of good ideas defeating bad ones.

We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be free to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We advocate initiative, referendum, recall, and repeal when used as popular checks on government.

We need term limits to bring back democratic representation. We need to balance the advantages of institutional knowledge with the dangers of institutional representation. Gary Johnson is a strong advocate of term limits, and Governor Bill Weld served as national co-chairman of U.S. Term Limits.

Independent American Party: Yes, campaign contributions should be limited to individual citizens (as natural persons) and should be limited to an amount which could reasonably be within the means of most citizens to contribute.

In today’s technological world money in politics translates directly into political speech. It simply costs money to run campaign ads in the various types of mass media. Even contributed money used for other campaign needs, such as transportation costs, salaries, etc, reflects the donors desire to further a political message he supports. Since free speech, especially political speech, is Constitutionally protected it cannot be restricted unless it infringes upon rights of others.

When large amounts of money come from a wealthy few it is as if they use a megaphone for their political speech which drowns out the ordinary voices of the more numerous, but less affluent, contributing citizens. This effectively makes the political speech of the wealthy more valuable than that of the non-wealthy. This violates the principle of equality under the law because the political process is inherently tied to the making of the law. Equality under the law is a right of all citizens and when political speech denies that equality it is just to limit that speech.

Constitution: In recent years, both in Utah and in the United States, campaign finance law reformation has demonstrated how incumbent office-holders manipulate the campaign funding process with phony stipulations that feign to “clean-up” the election funding laws, but what are, in reality, simply “incumbent protection acts” which further assure their ability to retain their office and power as long as they wish to. The solution is found in “we, the people.” It has been said that “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” All of our office-holders take a sacred oath to keep their actions within the limits and bounds established within our constitutions. We, the people, must be eternally vigilant in watching the representatives we elect, and remove from office all who refuse to keep their actions within the bounds they swore they would. Anyone who sells their office, or exercises power on behalf of donors who purchased their largess (at our expense) must be brought to justice before the voice of the people. We must throw the miserable sycophant from office!

The Constitution Party would address the problem of undue and disproportionate influence by monied interests on our campaigns, elections, and elected officers by requiring immediate and full public disclosure of the source(s) of any funding that goes into a campaign, PAC, or Super PAC, whether the donation is done directly or indirectly. With this done, it would become immediately apparent what the motive of the donor is. Failure to fully and promptly disclose this information needs to be accompanied by heavy fines on the donor, and on the recipient, if he knowingly is aware that full disclosure is not being done. Knowingly accepting funds of undisclosed provenance should result in disqualification to run for office in the applicable election.

Further, as there are in many states controls on the number and amount of contributions that can be made to a particular campaign, likewise there should be reasonable controls on the number and amount of contributions that can be made to a PAC, Super PAC, or other such entity.

Republican: We believe full disclosure with no limits is the best approach. Campaign finance has simply driven campaign donations underground and made campaign disclosures less transparent.

James Carver
Dixie State University
Public Lands

“As a student at Dixie State University, I know firsthand one of the most prevalent issues that affect our Southern Utah community is Federal ownership of public lands. The Government owns more than half of the land in Utah and there is speculation of establishing another National Monument in our home. For some in our community, the role the federal government plays is concerning and I am wondering where your party stands on the balance between conserving and developing land. Furthermore, who do you think should be controlling the majority of the land in our state?”

Republican: The state of Utah should manage public lands in Utah for the benefit of Utah and the nation. Period!!!

Democratic: This is rightfully a sensitive issue. Our position would be one of balance. Democrats believe that protecting our environment for future generations is critical. We also recognize that some lands are necessary for natural resource extraction. Utah has a world-renowned natural landscape with five national parks. We do not believe that national land owned by all the American people should necessarily be turned over to the Utah state government to control. The discussion should not be about who owns the land, but how the Bureau of Land Management and other federal and state agencies can work together to meet the needs of the tourism industry, agriculture, mining, and most importantly the future generations of Utahns who will have to live with the decisions our leaders make today.

Libertarian: We call for the abolishment of all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife.

Governors Johnson and Weld believe we need to stand firm to protect our environment for our future generations, especially those designated areas of protection like our National Parks.

Independent American Party: Conservation and development of these lands, as well as the issue of privatization, are issues deserving of vigorous public debate. It is not a decision any elected official is entitled to determine without substantial public support. Because these lands represent an enormous amount of wealth, government officers must be extremely vigilant to protect the public from abuses such as crony-capitalism and other corruptions. Those lands now under federal control should be conveyed to the states they are in. The U.S. Constitution does not support a claim for Federal ownership of these lands.

Constitution: Article I, Section 8, clause 17 defines the sum and substance of lands the Founding Fathers intended the national government to hold. It also defines the terms under which they are to be obtained:

“To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.”

Moreover, we may observe what was done in regards to federal land holdings as States were created as the nation grew westward. Basically, in all of the States east of the mountain west, the federal government retained very small percentages of the land in the eastern and mid-western States. In the west, once the American founders and their magnanimous philosophies of liberty had died, huge tracts of land were retained by the federal government.

In addition, when the founders passed the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 and 1789 they established the “rules of engagement” regarding how a State was to become a State. Regarding the admission of new States, it was stipulated in that ordinance that “such State shall be admitted, by its delegates, into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.”

With the national government currently claiming ownership and control of the lands of the western States, those States were not admitted as States equal to the other States because they had withheld from them the ability to harvest the wealth found within land (agriculture, minerals, timber, energy, etc.). Land is the means of production and distribution. Thereby it is the source of wealth and prosperity. Socialism seeks the ownership or control of the means of production and distribution. The American way includes private ownership and control. It includes the privilege to try, to buy, to sell, and to fail, but we get to choose our own path, not have it dictated from some national bureaucracy.

The United States Constitution and the American Founding Fathers never envisioned that the national government would become the largest land-holder in the nation, owning and controlling one third of the nation’s land mass. The States and the people are to be the holders of the nation’s land—the means of production and distribution—the source of wealth and prosperity. There is no constitutional authority for the national government to claim ownership of America’s lands, and certainly no authority for the nation to expand their control over the land.

Any lands within the state that are currently “owned” or under the control of any branch of the United States Government, or any other government entity (like the UN,) for that matter, beyond that which is strictly and specifically delineated in the Constitution, should be immediately returned to the state in the boundaries of which said land lies. In regaining control of our lands once again, care should be taken to guard against the implementation of any Agenda 21-like restrictions or provisions, and their application to the reclaimed land. Once reclaimed, the disposition or use of the land should be determined by the voice of the people in referendum, or by their duly elected representatives.