Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An open letter to Robert Gehrke of the Salt Lake Tribune

OK, am I a member of the Tea Party? I had someone ask me. TEA party as Taxed Enough Already, yes, or as someone that doesn't listen to both sides, no. When someone says Tea Party, it isn't typically as defined as the national media likes to make it when they label someone.

I am a Conservative Republican, and yet have never voted "straight ticket" in my over 30 years of voting. Sometimes I get to the bottom of the ballot and I did vote for all Republicans and sometimes I didn't.

The headline of your initial article http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/51001951-76/cox-bigelow-delegates-district.html.csp suggested that I may be a member, but I didn't join the Patrick Henry Caucus, and have spent more time reading bills than attending the different caucuses.

I don't know how to categorize me. Utah Data Points hasn't done their annual Ideology Scores, so I am not sure based on votes. [update, they finally did, see 2012 ratings link below. put me 33 out of 75 in the Utah House]

I supported the more moderate Dan Liljenquist over Rep. Herrod, picked Tim Bridgewater as my second choice over Mike Lee, and actively fought a couple of former Rep. Carl Wimmer's bills.

I was trying to decide between the most moderate Jay Cobb vs Mia Love for the 4th District and not Carl Wimmer or Stephen Sandstrom. I picked Mia Love, as did 70% of the delegates helped seated by Sen. Hatch's campaign.

I am outspoken on some issues. (Some people feel too many). I fought a gun bill because I felt it unfairly targeted hotel owner property rights. The NRA endorsed me but won't give me anything higher than a B+ because while I have fought to protect gun rights, including open carry, I believe that if someone is going to conceal the fact that they are carrying, a concealed carry permit is a good requirement.

I am more apt to quote the Utah Constitution vs the US Constitution, but have read both and have tried to make sure we (the legislature) are following both.

I am friends with members of the Tea Party and Eagle Forum, but disagree with and fight them on some issues.

On Education, I believe it should be a priority, but we are never going to have enough money for some. The UEA gives me a 50% this year and PCE gives me a 67% and I went to meet with the more balanced Education First.

My vote on 2012 SB 82, Equal Access for Education Employee Association Amendments changed my ratings for 5 different groups. http://fredcox4utah.blogspot.com/2012/05/equal-access-for-education-employee.html

I run a Utah Land Protection Act that initially gets a favorable response from Ed Firmage Jr. (see page 2, comment 19) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/51121753-76/bill-cox-federal-lands.html.csp and a member of the SL Tribune staff recently calls me part of the New Sage Brush rebellion even though I fought Rep. Ivory on his land bill for 6 months until it morphed away from requiring the Feds to sell the public lands (to who? China? ) or pay property taxes.

My last session ratings are at:

You report politics. How would you categorize me? I don't want to throw my "Tea Party" friends under the bus, and don't mind being called a Conservative Republican. Who could get an endorsement from Cherilyn Eagar, Jim Bennett, and Bennion Spencer? I don't know anyone else.

Who would have their own state party threaten to sue the state if they adopted one of my redistricting maps and get nice words from Sen. Ben McAdams on my post on non-discrimination, negative comments from some of his supporters, and positive comments from Represent Me! on my original state house redistricting map?

I know what I believe. I am willing to stand up to pressure. I am outspoken and have way too many statements on my blog on controversial bills and issues. I am willing to listen to both sides and fight for or against a bill no matter the sponsor.

So, how do I answer the question, am I a member of the Tea Party or not?