CONGRATULATIONS! You earned two victories!
Action Utah members, you deserve to celebrate — your hard work and community advocacy has paid off both on the national stage and right here in Utah! We called you to action, and you responded. These are wins to remember — wins where persistence and consistent action mattered. Our part in these victories was the accumulation of hundreds of individual actions — small and large — taken by our members across the state. Every action counts, and this week we proved once again that together our actions add up to become a powerful tool that can make a real impact on issues like these:
1. Health Care: As you have all probably heard, Paul Ryan’s bad American Health Care Act died in negotiations last week in Congress after going from bad to worse as the White House and Ryan tried to court a growing number of dissenting GOP congresspeople. Opposition to the AHCA by huge numbers of constituents from across the nation is what first gave congressional representatives pause instead of blindly rushing to pass bad health care legislation. Will the health care debate be back? Absolutely. So let’s keep contacting our Members of Congress to share our health care stories and tell them what we’d like to see in future health care reform.
2. Bipartisanship: All throughout and also after the legislative session, we called you to action time after time to speak out against HB 11: State Boards and Commissions Amendments, an egregious bill that eliminated bipartisanship from 29 state boards, some of which make decisions on partisan issues. The bill would have cemented one-party rule and should not be tolerated by either party, no matter which holds a majority in Utah. Bipartisanship is a key tenant to democracy, providing for multiple and diverse perspectives that are good for policy making and for legitimizing democratic government. Although Governor Herbert requested this bill, he also heard the public outcry and understood the bad public perception that HB 11 had earned as an overt grab for absolute power in the executive branch. On Friday he vetoed the bill. Let’s thank him for listening!
Scroll down to find these actions and plenty more that you can take on the state and federal level this week.
- Hinkley Institute of Politics: “How did Utah Women Fare in the State Legislative Session?” Tues, March 28, 12:30-2:00p, Hinkley Institute of Politics, Room 102, SLC. Join panelists Rep. Becky Edwards and Rep. Chavez-Houck for a discussion moderated by former legislator, Holly Richardson. Hosted by Utah Women’s Coalition.
- “Trump: The Unprecedented President” – Wed, March 29, 6:00p, Rice Eccles Stadium, Varsity Room, SLC. Tim Chambless, Associate Professor/Lecturer in the University of Utah’s Department of Political Science, and Academic Outreach Coordinator for the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, will explain the 2016 presidential election in its historical context, raise fundamental questions about the uniqueness of this election, and provide answers to the many questions still being pondered by millions in the U.S. and internationally.
- Chris Stewart Town Hall – Fri, March 31, 7:00p, West High School, SLC – Due to Friday’s debate on the American Health Care Act, Rep. Stewart postponed his town hall meeting until this week – same place, same time. Action Utah will still be sending a team of constituents to engage their congressman, providing them with plenty of information and a strategy for having the most effective town hall experience. If you’d like to join our town hall team, please contact us.
Action Utah is excited to be working with terrific community leaders like Holly Richardson, Pat Jones and others to bring you three meetings this Spring in Salt Lake County and Utah County covering topics like:
- How to become a candidate for local, county, state or federal office
- How to become a delegate
- How to find your voice as a candidate or activist
- How to get involved in Action Utah as a volunteer
Stay tuned for more details to come, plus follow up workshops to help train candidates and delegates in Utah.
1. Say “thank you” to your state legislators. All too often we are quick to contact our legislators with our opinions, criticism and requests to pass, oppose or fund a certain bill. But how often do we stop to thank our legislators for their hard work, for the good fight they put up for a good bill whether it passed or not, for their vote on an issue dear to us or for their stance opposing a bad bill?
Our state legislators are part time elected officials who take time out of their everyday lives each year to propose, debate and vote on all the laws in the state. Thanking them not only makes them feel good and gives them credit they deserve, it also helps us develop good relationships with them so that when your next request to pass or oppose a bill comes down the line it has more power.
- Call, text or email your state representative and state senator to thank them for the work they did this legislative session. Find out who your two state legislators are and how to contact them by clicking here.
- Not sure what to thank them for? Find a bill you like here on this list of Action Utah’s prioritized bills from the 2017 session and check it to see if your legislator sponsored, co-sponsored or voted for the bill. Thank them accordingly.
2. Thank Governor Herbert for vetoing HB 11: State Boards and Commissions Amendments. We called you to action over and over again to help block one-party rule in the executive branch. HB 11 would have eliminated the bipartisan requirement for appointments to 29 boards, doing away with a diversity of perspectives that is good policy making and legitimization of democratic government. Governor Herbert heard our voices and realized that the public perception of a grab for absolute power was a good enough reason to veto the bill.
- Call Governor Herbert to thank him for vetoing HB 11: State Boards and Commissions Amendments. Call (801) 538-1000 or write a note through this online form.
1. Stand up for affordable housing in the national budget. After fighting hard for affordable housing in the state of Utah, we at Action Utah were greatly dismayed to see the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) slashed by $6 billion in Trump’s proposed budget, including major cuts to build, operate and repair public housing for low-income and homeless Americans, and successful programs specifically set up to house homeless vets, elderly people, people with disabilities and Native Americans. These programs save lives, and cuts will negatively impact communities across the country, including right here in Utah. In fact, the Community Development Block Program has already proposed spending over half a million dollars of HUD funding for projects in Salt Lake City alone, from community improvements to computer literacy programs for youth.
- Contact your Members of Congress (MoC’s) to ask them to defend HUD and its valuable and successful programs, which save lives and improve our nation’s communities across the country and right here in Utah.
- Ask your MoC’s to save “HOME”, an investment partnerships program that provides block grants for local communities to build affordable housing. Under Trump’s budget, HOME will be cut entirely. Please ask your MoC’s to allocate at least $1.8 billion for this critical program.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
Rep. Rob Bishop (Congressional District 1): 202-225-0453 (DC) // 801-625-0107 (Ogden)
Rep. Chris Stewart (Congressional District 2): 202-225-9730 (DC) // 801-364-5550 (SLC) // 435-627-1500 (St. George)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Congressional District 3): (202) 225-7751 (DC) // (801) 851-2500 (UT)
Rep. Mia Love (Congressional District 4): (202) 225-3011 (DC) // 801-996-8729 (West Jordan)
Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Check here.
2. Defend health care. Yes, last week was a big victory for health care, but it is not the end of the health care debate. The Affordable Care Act remains imperfect and needs revisions. Partisan posturing continues to stand in the way of a bipartisan approach to finding the best solutions that increase cost efficiency without reducing coverage. That means there may be more bad health care legislation on the horizon. Your Members of Congress (MoC’s) need to hear from you about why health care matters, how the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid has impacted you or your loved ones and what services you want to see protected and even expanded.
- Tell your MoC’s your personal health care story – Personal stories humanize policy and put faces and names to the programs that improve lives and save lives. If you have a personal health care story, make sure your U.S. Representative and two Senators hear from you today and often about how they can protect key health care services for their constituents and make health care better instead of worse.
3. Join our Chris Stewart Town Hall Team. On Friday evening in Salt Lake City, Representative Stewart will become the first member of the Utah delegation to face his constituents in person since the raucous town hall with Representative Chaffetz in Cottonwood Heights last month. While other legislators have ducked in-person meetings with constituents by holding tele-townhalls and private meetings only, Rep. Stewart has openly stated that he believes constituents have a right to be heard and to vent any anger. We applaud Stewart’s willingness to meet with constituents and encourage constituents to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with their congressman.
- Join the Action Utah Town Hall Team – At Action Utah, we believe in the power of civil discourse. We’re sending a team of member constituents armed with key information and thoughtful strategy to ask informed questions and get the most out of their town hall experience. If you’d like to join our Town Hall Team and get strategy tips for the meeting, please contact us.
Keep up the good work!
We know that many of you have never been politically involved before and are now taking action for the first time in your lives. Whether you’re taking action once a day or once a month, your actions matter. Making activism a part of your daily or weekly or monthly routine is a great way to keep informed and engaged and making a difference on issues that matter to you. Whatever level of engagement you are at, keep up the good work!
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah