Retire Hatch? No. Hire Dan.

This is going to be a bit of a wordy blog post, so I’ll summarize at the top: Utah delegate selection is Thursday, March 15th, 2012. The delegate selection process is the best way to get Dan Liljenquist, a candidate I am very excited about, elected to US Senate. If you’re in Utah, please consider making time to attend your caucus and either run for delegate or select a delegate for Dan. You can find your neighborhood caucus at the Utah GOP website

Because I live in Utah and because we have a candidate selection coming up and because that selection involves Orrin Hatch, I wanted to say something.

First of all, I don’t think Orrin Hatch has been a particularly bad Senator for the state of Utah. He’s been a fairly reliable vote for the right and, from what I hear, he’s a decent sort of guy. I have a “thing” against career politicians and, at 36 years, I think Senator Hatch meets that definition, but I’m not on a mission to take the guy down.

For me, the “Hatch election” has nothing to do with Orrin Hatch. It has everything to do with Dan Liljenquist.

I met Dan back in 2010, long before he decided to run for Senate. Holly Richardson, a Twitter friend, introduced us with a view toward taking some of Dan’s work and turning into visuals or videos that he could use for presentations. It was then that I learned about Dan’s incredible political career which, at that time, was hardly even 2 years long.

Dan was elected in 2008 and asked to be placed “where the money is”, so he got dumped into the “Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations” committee, which was about as boring a place as possible. Except that “retirement” meant pensions and the Utah pension fund was (like nearly all pension funds) a heavily invested fund. Which means when the stock market collapsed in 2008-2009, so did our pension fund.

This wasn’t just “a problem”. This was a life changing, program ending, budget apocalypse type of problem. And Dan got to deal with it. Whee.

But what happened next was remarkable. Dan started with the concept “We will keep the promises we’ve already made to our retirees”. This is important to me because, although it seems like a lot of conservatives are fine with hanging people out to dry, people have lived their lives based on these promises. Maybe some retirees can manage, but for others, their pension is all they have. They’re not about to go start a new career to pick up some extra cash. Dan made it a priority to see that the promises made were kept.

Then, he did an exhaustive study of our pension system. He discovered that there were a number of loopholes including “double dipping” (where someone retires early, takes a 6 month break and can then be re-hired, usually at a similar salary) in our pension process and that the defined benefit program was simply unsustainable. His reforms (which were passed with bi-partisan support) saved the Utah state retirement system and most of our budget.

This was the work I was going to try to help visualize (before life got in the way, as it does) because the Utah plan had been so successful, Dan was being invited to mentor other states on how to save their pension systems.

It is this kind of fiscal reform that Dan is passionate about. When we spoke, it was like talking to my wonkiest friends about where the “real” problems are in federal finance, what kinds of reforms can actually be made and take hold without hanging those who genuinely need the program out to dry. Dan has a passion for fiscal reform and sustainability. In that way, I believe Dan Liljenquist could be a Paul Ryan for the US Senate.

This is why I support Dan Liljenquist over Orrin Hatch. I hate that politics makes us bash one to elect the other (and I haven’t been very happy with the Hatch campaign’s attacks on Dan), but there it is.

The easiest way to elect Dan Liljenquist is through the delegate selection process. Utah has neighborhood caucuses on Thursday, March 15th (you can find where yours will be held here). There, caucus attendees will select delegates for the state convention. At the convention, these delegates will vote to select primary nominees. Dan needs delegates to vote for him in order to run for Senate. If you live in Utah, please attend the caucus to vote for (or be) a Dan Liljenquist delegate.

14 comments

  1. Brett says:

    He sounds like a decent guy, but I think it’s too politically dangerous for us Utahns to have two freshman Senators in Congress. Hatch, regardless of anything else he’s done, has kept Hill Air Force base open in spite of threats of closure. Mike Lee and (if chosen) Dan Liljenquist won’t have that kind of clout if the issue of base closure comes up in the near future.

  2. David Goates says:

    There is absolutely no reason to continue with aged Senators when viable alternatives for their replacement exist. Dan is a wonderful replacement for Orrin Hatch, and Mike Lee is having a tremendous impact on the conversation as usual in Washington. You cannot expect change when you keep re-electing the same old guard. We got it right in 2010 by replacing Bennett with Lee, and we’ll get it right in 2012 by replacing Hatch with Liljenquist. I encourage everyone to join in support of Liljenquist at the caucuses on Thursday night. Hatch is 78 years old, he’s served for 36 years (almost half his lifetime). Why he and Bennett couldn’t go out like statesmen by retiring gracefully is beyond my powers of reason. Now Hatch, like Bennett, will have to be summarily dismissed by the nominating convention delegates, but that starts on Thursday night by electing delegates for Liljenquist. I’m in, and I hope you’ll join us.

  3. Matt says:

    @Brett Remember the last time we had two freshman senators from Utah? Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch were plenty capable in their day.

  4. Catherine says:

    I am soo excited to go to my caucus meeting!(My first!) And to vote for any delegate that supports Dan Liljenquist, or even be a delegate myself! I am just thrilled by this process and by the opportunity to support such a stunning individual as Sen Dan! Dan is an amazing asset for the state of Utah. We are so lucky!

  5. Drew Armstrong says:

    I am going to be so happy to vote for Dan in 6 years. Lee is not ready to be our senior senator. People keep saying Garn and Hatch were fine as greenies… Not true… It was 36 years ago! Do you remember? I don’t but my parents were involved then and they are VERY anti going back to a couple of brand new senators. In a system where seniority makes a difference… (I do not like the system but we have it and we are not going to get rid of it ourselves) we deal with it… The way we deal with it without hurting our state is we keep Hatch in place for the next 6 years. I know his family well. He and they would like him home… Lee is not ready… and he knows it. This is the wrong time. Dan sounds like a great guy but the timing is wrong. How I wish we could trade Dan for Lee….

  6. Speckk says:

    While I agree that we shouldn’t hang public workers out to dry, some states and communities have over hired, over promised and even made corrupt retirement payouts while in office. Such community funds will need to cap pension payments at a reasonable sum, like $100k. This may be necessary since many public & private pension systems are gamed to benefit executives and leave the public holding the bag.

    This personally affects me because my father was a minor professor in California, and the State Teachers Retirement fund rightfully bragged that they won in the CA supreme court when virtually insolvent Sacramento forcefully tried to “borrow” from their separate pension fund. I suspect former UC regents & presidents draw $200k -800k from that same fund.

  7. Sarah says:

    Senator Hatch is not on the Armed Services Committee–Rob Bishop is. That is who has been doing the real fighting to protect Hill Air Force Base.

    But looking at the big picture–how long will we wait to send people to Washington with the passion to FIX the mess we’re in? Does the deficit have to be $20 trillion? A vote for Orrin is a vote for the status quo, a slow but accelerating drift to the left.

    We in Utah haven’t had a clear choice in a while, but this election is crystal clear–we vote to continue a corrupt, pork barrel system (of which Orrin has risen to the top–he has learned how to play the game and is a great pork-barrel spender), or we vote to change it. If you vote for Orrin, you give up the right to complain about our spending-crazy Congress, because you voted for it.

    Let’s send someone, in Senator Liljenquist’s words, who has to live in this country for the next 40 years (and deal with the immense debt we have created), and who has proven that he has the brains, talents, and passion to CHANGE THINGS.

  8. umm says:

    Ummm…Sarah. Bishop is NOT on Armed Services. He WAS, but gave it up to go on Rules. Try to keep up.

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  11. [...] in runaway spending are unassailable. In state legislative policy circles, he’s known as the “Paul Ryan of Utah” — after the courageous and wonky Wisconsin Republican congressman who’s forcing [...]

  12. [...] in runaway spending are unassailable. In state legislative policy circles, he’s known as the “Paul Ryan of Utah” — after the courageous and wonky Wisconsin Republican congressman who’s forcing [...]

  13. [...] in runaway spending are unassailable. In state legislative policy circles, he’s known as the “Paul Ryan of Utah” — after the courageous and wonky Wisconsin Republican congressman who’s forcing [...]

  14. [...] in runaway spending are unassailable. In state legislative policy circles, he’s known as the “Paul Ryan of Utah” — after the courageous and wonky Wisconsin Republican congressman who’s forcing kick-the-can [...]

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