Citizen Lobbying in Utah | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
DONATE

January 13, 2010 News » Cover Story

Citizen Lobbying in Utah 

Storm the Hill: City Weekly's guide to citizen lobbying.

Pin It
Favorite
art10231widea.jpg
There’s a saying that government is like a spectator sport: You can yell all you want from the sidelines and throw the occasional beer can at the ump, but it’s not going to change the game. Yet in 2009, in the game of Utah politics, the spectators rushed the field. Utahns got sick of legislators stalling ethics reform, even after multiple scandals, and pushed an ethics-ballot initiative. Now, all of a sudden, the Legislature is drafting its own ethics reform.

But that’s just one red flag the public has thrown at public servants. Including the ethics initiative, there are five citizen initiatives, including one to reinstate progressive taxes, another to establish fair voting districts, and two related to specific ethical topics, such as using campaign money for personal expenses. Each is pushing an agenda the Legislature has typically ignored.

Also noteworthy is who is storming the field—from liberal bloggers to conservative “tea-baggers.” More and more, Utahns are feeling the exhilaration of running onto the field of politics, screaming like maniacs while proverbially tackling their elected umpires for not doing their jobs.

This guide is dedicated to those maniacs who still care enough to write legislators, to testify at committee hearings, and to pull lawmakers off the House or Senate floor to give ’em hell. But this guide is also dedicated to anyone ready to make that first excursion to the Utah Capitol and take the first step at being a citizen lobbyist.

To help in their initial efforts, here are words of advice from veterans of the citizen-lobbying trenches, including rager against waste Claire Geddes, lobbyist for equality Brandie Balken of Equality Utah and jack-of-many-causes, 30-year activist Steve Erickson.

This guide will provide tips and tricks on how to stalk your legislator, from simply finding them to actually talking to them. We also offer bios of a few of those rare political animals on the Hill we call the “happy mediums,” the ones who offer the best shot at providing a sympathetic ear to your cause, and at the very least, will help you navigate the shark waters of state politics. Finally, visit CityWeekly.net throughout the legislative session, which runs Jan. 25 to March 11, 2010, for even more information on your issues of choice, or to simply find an issue to rally around.

So there you have it, John and Jane Q Public. Now, go forth and remind your public servants who’s really calling the shots.

How to Stalk Your Utah Legislators

Tips from Veteran Citizen Lobbyists

Utah Legislators Who Listen


Pin It
Favorite

More by Eric S. Peterson

  • Every Last Drop

    While facing a historic drought, Utah officials don't have a handle on how much water slips through their fingers.
    • Jul 28, 2021
  • More »

Latest in Cover Story

  • Shall We dance

    Utah's January film festivals press ahead through uncertain times.
    • Jan 19, 2022
  • Busy Bees

    Salt Lake City lawmakers call their shots ahead of the 2022 legislative session.
    • Jan 12, 2022
  • Get Real

    Meet Jennie Nguyen, Salt Lake City's newest Real Housewife
    • Jan 5, 2022
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Who Ya Gonna Call?

    How to make sure your next mental-health crisis doesn't become a death sentence.
    • Feb 10, 2021
  • Born to Be Wild

    Animal advocates are pushing back against the roundup of Utah's Onaqui wild horse herd.
    • Aug 25, 2021

© 2022 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation