Friday, 16 March 2012

To Caucus Or NOT To Caucus...

Alright!  I'll tell you, I'm NOT a republican.  I have been a registered Democrat since I became a registered voter.  Through my desire to try and find change for my family, and community I changed my registration and am now "Unaffiliated".  I was too ill to attend the Democratic Caucus on Tuesday evening.  Thursday evening approached much faster than I had anticipated, and attending the meeting was something I found myself truly dreading. 

We, (my nine year old daughter and myself) arrived at Kearns High School approximately 30 minutes before the meeting was to begin and entered a packed parking lot, eventually making our way back out of the parking lot to find a space on the side of the road.  Having signed up the night before I knew which district I was located in and found my place in the many lines formed for the different districts.  After "signing in" we eventually found our way up the stairs, around the corner, and tucked away in a back corner classroom normally used for World History.  It was strange sitting in a room filled with people that I knew as a child, Rod Bushman (a former Stake President when I was a little girl), and several members from the LDS ward I had attended when a child.  (Which I would be attending now IF I did go to church).  Waiting patiently as the minutes dragged by to 20 past the start of the meeting... the Chairman finally walked in.  The meeting was opened with a prayer as requested by Rod Bushman, which I found odd, seeing as this was a government meeting, not a church meeting, but whatever.  (My daughter pinched me during the prayer and even chuckled... which I pretended to not notice).  Following the prayer we recited the Pledge of Allegiance together, which was a pleasant experience. 

The first action was picking a new Chair and Vice Chair for the District.  The current Chairman stated he felt it was most appropriate to "give" the Chairman an automatic State Delegate position as a form of "payment" for their service.  It was discussed but not voted on at that point.  What do you know, the current Chairman remained the Chairman for the upcoming term... no wonder he proposed the Delegate position "gift".  Second motion of business was picking a Secretary/Treasurer.  One gentleman in the back of the room was very loud, obnoxious and quite involved in the discussion while picking the Chair and Vice Chair.  He was immediately nominated for Secretary and by unanimous decision he was moved into the position despite his lack of desire.  (Honestly I think everyone wanted him so busy writing he would have no time to open his mouth).

Bring on the position of State Delegates.  The District I live in had grown to the number that it now allowed two Delegates.  Two members in the class room volunteered their service in addition to the Chairman who REALLY wanted this position.  One of the two new candidates lives down the street from me, and I have known him since I was in my early teens.  I asked how they each intended to vote for if they were placed in the position of Delegate, the question was immediately turned back to me "Who would YOU want me to vote for?".  My response- "Anyone other than Hatch".  People snickered, some agreed and one was outraged that I would propose such an idea.  I explained that after 20 years it is far past time for change and that I can not support a man who would vote "Yea" for NDAA.  I wish my camera had been on to capture everyone's face.  The inquisitor immediately backed off.  All three candidates state that they would contact the people who provided their email/phone information and discuss voting options.  (Mind you I did sign this document and provide my information so we will see just how much they plan to follow up
with this "campaign promise".  Everyone voted EXCEPT me as I am not a "registered Republican".  Oddly enough the standing Chairman did NOT get his gift of a State Delegate position. 

By this time my daughter had grown overly bored and irritable so I handed her my lovely Cruela DeVille notebook to enjoy as the group discussed County Delegates.  State Representative Eric Hutchings then found his way into our classroom, taking a seat at the back of the room and observing.  After similar discussion of "I'll vote how you want me to vote" four names were written on the board for voting.  The Chairman was able to take one of these positions, which he was disappointed with- voicing his dismay that he didn't get a State Delegate position.   
Now that all motions of business had been attended to, the Chairman handed the remaining time (which was only a few minutes) over to Eric Hutchings.  Eric introduced his wife Stacy and then opened the room up for questions.  The Chairman said "what can you tell us about that bill, what do you call it HB 303 or something about sex ed."  I laughed and said "HB 363 the Abstinence Only Bill?".  "Yeah that one".  (Now I'm thinking GREAT these people are the ones choosing who our representatives are).  Eric explained that there were things he liked and dis-liked with the bill.  He liked that it allowed the schools to no longer teach about masturbation, homo-sexuality and contraception.  He didn't like that if a student approached a teacher asking questions about these topics that it opened them up for the ability to discuss.  I cut Mr. Hutchings off a bit rudely and said "No disrespect sir, but Abstinence Only doesn't work.  I come from a very staunch Mormon household where we were given Abstinence ONLY and two of the daughters were pregnant in their teens and unwed, so for MY family this bill
is NOT an option.  Why not just allow the "Opt Out" to remain and give those of us who want our families educated our option to do so?"  He responded with "I hate that they call it the Abstinence Only Bill, that is NOT what it is.  The actual name is 'Abstinence Is The BEST Way To Not Catch a STD or Get Pregnant Bill'.  I told him that we all can agree that Abstinence is the best but that there still needs to be education available for those who wish to participate.  I felt bad for my poor daughter stuck in a room full of men and women who kept saying "SEX", "fornicate", "masturbation" and "homosexual".  Funny thing is that it didn't get a reaction out of her at all.  Guess I must be doing something right- I don't want her to think sex is a dirty or evil thing.  Nor do I want her to feel that it is something we shouldn't be discussing.  For her to not be affected by the open discussion of such sensitive topics is FABULOUS!

 Mr. Hutchings was then asked about what else he has been doing up at the State Capitol.  "I have been working on a special project for about 5 years now that I am very excited about.   CIP - Child Identity Protection."  He explained that the number one victim of identity theft occurring is children, and that until now there was no way to protect them.  Being the busy body that I am I asked him,
"Was this your idea?".  He laughed and looked at his wife and explained how CIP came to be:  "We were in the hospital filling out paperwork after our last child was born and I was handed the form to apply for a social security number.  I thought to myself, she's only a few days old and doesn't need to apply for a car loan, so we will just wait for this.  The nurse then explained that it was 'required' to complete and they could not allow the baby to leave the hospital until the social security number application had been completed."  Mr. Hutchings went on to explain that he was outraged by this, but when he verified it was accurate he then went on a mission to see what he could do to protect her from identity theft.  What he found was there was really nothing out there to protect children's identity, but only to protect someone who already has an established credit history.  Over the last five years Eric worked with the Attorney General, and Trans Union Credit Bureau to develop the program C.I.P. so that a parent or guardian could have their child's credit "locked" until their 17th birthday.  The clock struck 15 past 9 PM and it was past time to go.  I bid the Republicans farewell (actually I grabbed my daughters hand and practically ran out of the room), and headed for home, with a bit of a head-ache I made it through my first Caucus Meeting, and yes... I lived to tell the tale.

1 comment:

  1. Sidenote, all photographs above were taken 3/15/12 during our visit to Kearns High School for the GOP Caucus. EVEN THE TORTURE DEVICES! (Courtesy of the World History Classroom)