Three County Conventions in One Day...
First, Ben Horsley, Davis County Republican Party Chairman, rocked the Woods Cross High School auditorium with almost evangelical passion! He connected with the delegates effectively with his passion and humor as he walked the stage with a handheld microphone addressing the delegates about his experience organizing the convention.
Second, Ben impressed me and the whole audience by introducing, without notes, every person on the stage, including some of us he'd only recently met. We're talking some thirty plus people!!! He must have signed up for one of those late night memory courses. I have trouble remembering all of my kids' names.
Congratulations to Davis County, what a spectacular turnout. With an open Senate Seat (Dan Eastman retired this year) and an open County Commission Seat there was an exceedingly high percentage of county delegates that turned out. And yes, every vote really does count.
Weber County had a bit more calm convention, but they like Davis County, had a full slate of speakers which included the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, two Republican Candidates for State Treasurer... and yours truly... (thanks for the late add by Chairman Matt Bell).
I told the story of how at Box Elder County earlier in the week I introduced myself to a delegate and showed her my flyer... she commented that she recognized my name. I told her that was probably because I had served as State Party Chairman from 1991 to 1995. She said, "no that's not it... but I'm sure I've seen that name on the television." I mentioned to her that my daughter Julianne and son Derek were on the ABC TV show "Dancing with the Stars", at which point the delegate exclaimed, "that's it!!! I love them, they are my favorites." (I think she had a hard time making the connection with me, at least looks wise...by the way, I love them too!). Gary Herbert, our Lt. Governor overheard the conversation and told me I ought to mention the celebrity of my daughter and son at future conventions. So in Weber County I repeated the story and then indicated that I didn't think I should exploit the kids that way... it got a pretty good laugh.
Cute aren't they?
After enjoying a bacon cheese burger at Steph's drive-in in Morgan, I was able to attend the Morgan County Convention. Larry Hatch, the chairman, had a nice group in attendance, small but great stalwarts. Like every convention I've been to in my life... we had an invocation to begin the meeting. It was beautifully thoughtful and reminded me of a rather disappointing experience I had in Summit County earlier this year at a similar event. I related this story to the attendees in Morgan.
We opened our joint caucus meetings in the Park City area with an invocation, followed by a pledge and the business at hand. After the meeting the local reporter asked one of our candidates and others if they were offended by the prayer. Later in the week he called me and asked why we had had a prayer to start our meeting. My response was a pretty surprised, "Huh?" I asked him why he would even consider this a "story". He said, "well, it wasn't even a non-denominational prayer, he used the name of Christ in his prayer." To which I responded, "we have had people of almost every faith give invocations"; in my experience in the State Party we have had Christian and non-Christian invocations. Never, in any of these occasions had anyone expressed a feeling of offense. (I might add that several of the local church leaders, Christian and non-Christian took offense at the article and headline! --
Park Record (Park City, UT) March 28, 2008 Section: News
Today's Headlines -Invoking Christ, local GOP starts its crusade )
My point to the delegates in Morgan wasn't just my disappointment in the press for "making up a story" that was both denigrating in tone but in word; but rather I mostly expressed my great feelings of pride that the Republican Party, without apologies, opens its meetings with a plea to a higher being to help its participants make good decisions as they go about the business of serving the public. I'm very glad that the Bill of Rights guarantees that right and allows us to privately AND publicly recognize that we can all use the help of Him who created us.