Utah First

On Friday, April 18, I joined a group of lawmakers and policy makers from eight Western states in a summit to build support for the transfer of federal land back to the states.  After attending the summit it is clear that momentum is building for public land transfer across the West, and I will continue to work to educate Americans across the country about the burdens of excessive federal land ownership.  Here are some social media highlights of the summit:

This week I was able to meet with the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Governors for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

I posted this picture to my Facebook page, and an interesting discussion followed:

If you read through the comments, you will see that many of my followers were concerned that the unemployment figures that were cited were inacurrate.  I recognize that on a national level many Americans are struggling to find work, and when you calculate the low percentage of Americans that are participating in the workforce, it is clear that there is widespread failure in our economy to create the opportunities that many Americans are looking for.  This opportunity crisis is one of the primary reasons why I have introduced my conservative reform agenda.  One of the reasons why I am confident that these proposals will work is that they return much of the responsibility of governing away from Washington and back to state and local governments.  Utah is outperforming the nation in many key areas when it comes to addressing our opportunity crisis, and I would like to see this success replicated across the country.

For the last ten days, I have been actively traveling around the state meeting with Utahns.  I held two town hall meetings last week.  I have also met with business leaders, local officials, and various civil institutions.  In addition to this active schedule, I also had the chance to meet with students at Ogden High School, Brighton High School, and Salt Lake Community College.  Here are some highlights from these visits:

Meeting with students in Ogden

Meeting with students at Brighton High School

Today I taught the Brighton High School U.S. Government class. A student asked why I don't vote with my party 100% of the time. It was nice to see that they are paying attention to the voting records of their elected officials.

Meeting with Salt Lake Community College

I enjoyed participating in the "Pizza and Politics" event at Salt Lake Community College today. I also appreciate those who participated in our discussion on higher-education reform.

The U.S. Government teachers at Brighton High School

brighton teachers

Today I had the opportunity to meet with Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.  Among the several things we discussed, I wanted to make sure he was aware of my efforts to reform our criminal justice system with the Smarter Sentencing Act.  He was supportive of my efforts, and I am committed to passing these reforms out of the Senate:

If you want to learn more about why criminal justice reform is overdue, a new article in The American Conservative outlines the bipartisan consensus that is building to pass these reforms: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/conservative-sentencing-reform-politically-savvy-morally-right/

ON April 10 my mobile office visited Nephi, Gunnison and Mt. Pleasant.  During these visits members of my staff met with local residents and city officials to open a dialogue about the issues that are most important to them.  Several law enforcement officials shared their concerns about tensions that exist between local law enforcement officials and federal law enforcment officials from agencies such as ICE and the BLM.  My staff also learned about trucking regulations that were having an impact on a local small business.  Local officials also took the time to showcase some of their local facilities and historical sites.  I appreciate the feedback that was relayed to me by my staff from those who took the time out of their busy day to connect with my office.

Utah Association of Conservation Districts – March 25, 2014
The Utah Association on Conservation Districts is an organization of political subdivisions of the State of Utah that are responsible for identifying land improvement projects, as well as mitigating natural hazards. My staff attended the Zone 7 annual meeting at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River, Utah to hear the organization’s priorities for the coming year. Zone 7 is comprised of five districts; Carbon, Green River, Price River, San Juan, and San Rafael.  Many Mayors and County Commissioners were in attendance and it was a great opportunity to connect with these hardworking local leaders.

powell museum

United States Bureau of Land Management – March 26, 2014
My staff attended a briefing with the Bureau of Land Management state office in Salt Lake City on March 26, 2014 where they discussed wild horses, the status of developing projects, and the fire season outlook. Attendees included BLM State Director Juan Palma. My staff in both my Salt Lake City and St. George offices regularly visit with Director Palma regarding constituent concerns. I am dedicated to helping Utahns efficiently navigate their way through restrictive federal land management rules and regulations. Relationships with agency directors help me assist constituents with their frustrations in a more effective way.
Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments – March 27, 2014
The Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments is a group consisting of Mayors and Commissioners of four Utah counties; Carbon, Emery, Grand, and San Juan. This organization meets monthly in Price, Utah to discuss budgets and prioritize projects they would like to see funded. My staff attended this meeting to give an update about what I am currently working on regarding public lands and natural resources. I constantly seek the input of local governments when considering policies that would affect public lands in Utah.

Lee, Hatch Continue Push for Utah to be Reimbursed Costs of Opening National Parks During Shutdown

Utah Senators Cosponsor Legislation to Fully Reimburse State Taxpayers after Interior Department Says it Needs Congressional Approval to Repay States

Mar 11 2014

Utah’s U.S. Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch today cosponsored the National Park Access Act (S. 2104), continuing their push for Utah to be reimbursed for providing state funds to reopen National Parks in the state during the 2013 government shutdown.