Big problems require bold solutions. In an era when our government borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends, we can’t afford to tinker around the edges of our biggest problems. It’s time to tackle the hardest problems head on. It’s time for bold FISCAL LEADERSHIP, a return to SELF RELIANCE, and a restoration of the strong MORAL ROOTS at the foundation of our success. The only state legislator named as Governing Magazine’s 2011 Public Official of the Year, Dan Liljenquist has demonstrated the rare ability to tackle our toughest challenges, create workable solutions, and develop coalitions of support from a broad range of interest groups.
The biggest issue we face as a nation is out-of-control spending and our ever-expanding debt. We have had a generation of politicians who have pulled more and more power and more and more money to Washington, while simultaneously refusing to deal with the problems which threaten the very foundations of our republic – runaway spending. It’s not enough to pay lip service to balancing the budget while continuing to spend recklessly.
It’s time for bold new leadership – fiscal leadership. Our nation needs leaders who are willing to tell the American people the truth and who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. We need leaders who are willing to lay it all on the line to take on the fundamental reforms crucial to our survival as a free and prosperous nation - welfare and entitlement reform.
ENTITLEMENT REFORM: Dan is running ON entitlement reform, not away from it. Medicaid and other welfare programs should be pushed back to the states. If we are going to have a welfare program at all, it should administered at a state level. Unlike Medicaid, which is a pure entitlement program, Social Security and Medicare are programs that must be reformed while honoring our commitments to those who have paid into the system for decades and who have planned their future around them. We must keep our promises to our seniors while creating a different deal for those who still have time to adjust.
PENSION REFORM: The 2008 economic downturn opened a 30% hole in the state pension fund. As the state Senator chairing the Utah legislature’s retirement committee, Dan championed and successfully passed major pension reform. His reforms did 3 things. First, they eliminated pensions for legislators. Second, they eliminated the practice of retiring on Friday and coming back to work on Monday with a pension, a paycheck and a large 401K, a practice commonly called double-dipping. Third, they moved the state’s retirement systems from a defined benefit plan, where the taxpayer bears all the risk, to a defined contribution plan with predictable costs for taxpayers. Dan consulted with 39 states in 2011 as they work to address their own pension crises. He has earned three national awards for his work – State Budget Solutions gave him their “Real Leader Award“, Governing Magazine named him “Public Official of the Year“, and FreedomWorks dubbed him the “Legislative Entrepreneur of the Year.” His reforms are now considered model legislation around the country.
MEDICAID REFORM: Watching a dramatic increase in Medicaid costs – from 9% of the state budget in 2001 to almost 20% in the 2011 budget and projected to be at least 36% by 2020 – it was painfully obvious that Medicaid’s path was simply unsustainable. Dan spent a full year working to bring all parties to the table and carefully crafted a bill that would fundamentally restructure the Medicaid program in Utah. Under his guidance, Utah became the first state in the nation to cap Medicaid growth and tie it to the growth of the state budget. It fundamentally reformed the payment structure for Medicaid in Utah, moving to a capitated model while requiring evidence-based care. Utah is ready for the Paul Ryan plan! Dan’s bill passed both the House and Senate without a single dissenting vote. He has been recognized nationally for his work on these reforms as well.
TAX POLICY: While Dan’s preference is for a fair tax, he will actively advocate for any bill that broadens the base, lowers the rate and stops the game of playing favorites. Big companies should not be getting long-term tax breaks because they have better lobbyists. Dan has received the Utah Taxpayer’s Association “Taxpayer Advocate of the Year” award in both 2010 and 2011 because of his work on pension and Medicaid reform. Royce Van Tassel, vice-president of the Utah Taxpayer’s Association said “Dan Liljenquist has done more for Utah taxpayers in his short time in the Utah Senate than most legislators do in a lifetime.”
REPEAL OBAMACARE: Obamacare is a back door to faciliating the government takeover of healthcare. It simply must be repealed and Dan has pledged to do so. He is pleased to be endorsed by the “Repeal Obamacare PAC.”
CUT, CAP AND BALANCE: Dan is a vocal supporter of cut, cap and balance. We must cut spending, cap the growth and balance the budget. To achieve that balance, we MUST tackle entitlements in real and substantive ways.
BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT: Dan is also in favor of and will advocate for a balanced budget amendment but simply balancing the budget while “raising revenues” (which means tax increases) is not enough. We must also cut the spending and curb the rate of that spending.
Along with fiscal leadership, we need to return to self-reliance - as families, as communities, as states and as a nation. We must live within our means. We must stop looking to government to solve our problems. It’s time we secure our borders and we must fix the welfare state that is destroying industry, innovation and most of all, the traditional family.
STATES’ RIGHTS: Dan is a strong advocate for states’ rights and will fight to push power back to states and individuals, where it belongs. He will fight to return the Senate to its rightful place as the bulwark against federal intrusion into the states.
SECOND AMENDMENT: The second amendment is an individual right and SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. George Washington said: “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.” Dan is a proud gun owner and will continue to fight to keep that right protected. He is honored to have the endorsement of the Gun Owners of America.
LAND USE: Utah is one of many states that is striving to gain control over its own land and resources. As a member of Utah’s delegation, Dan will strongly promote measures to give Utah and other states not only control over its land, but also the ability to develop its own natural resources.
ENERGY POLICY: We should be developing our own resources in this country instead of being dependent on foreign oil, a precarious situation that threatens our national security. Developing Utah’s and our nation’s vast natural resources is essential to being self-reliant. We have the capability to be completely independent in our energy resources and we need the ability to move forward on all fronts.
EDUCATION: There is no role for the federal government in education. When the federal Department of Education was created in 1979, it took education out of the hands of families and the states and moved it to Washington, attempting to create a one-size-fits-all program. That was followed by No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and now, the “Common Core” curriculum meant to dictate what is taught in each and every classroom in this nation. Parents should have the right to decide which educational option is best for them. Parents should have the ability to select how and where their child is educated, whether that be home, private, neighborhood charter schools or public schools.
IMMIGRATION: The federal government has abdicated its responsibilty with respect to immigration. It meddles in many areas it should not be and completely ignores one of the most critical areas of its responsibility. We must secure our borders and enforce our laws. Dan supports the protection of identities through the use of E-verify. He also believes we need to open up legal immigration in efficient, sensible ways.
DEFENSE: The biggest threat to our national security is that we borrow every penny of our defense spending. The federal government is now cutting defense by 12% while at the same time, the federal budget is growing by 24%. Defense is another core function of the federal government and must be a priority, but we must also use a critical eye when evaluating waste, fraud and abuse in defense spending.
With fiscal leadership and self-reliance, we must also return to our strong moral roots – those conservative values that have made this country great. Our Founding Fathers recognized that our rights are God-given and do not come from government. The series of checks and balances in our Constitution were meant to protect those rights against the government. The Senate’s role was to act as a safeguard against the over-reach of the federal government. It is time that the United States Senate assume its proper role of restoring and protecting individual rights.
We must value all human life, from conception to natural death. We must value and protect the traditional family. Professor Robert P George of Princeton once said that the family is the “original and best Department of Health, Education and Welfare.” An increased, inter-generational dependence on the 185 federal welfare programs is destroying the economic necessity of the family as we have known it for thousands of years.
It’s time we recognize the law of the harvest – that you reap what you sow – and that some day, the bills actually do come due and obligations must be met. If there is an upside to the downturn, it is that we are waking up to the reality of our situation – and reality is not negotiable. As Americans, when faced with difficulties, we knuckle down and get to work fixing our problems. We do it in our homes and communities; we can do it in our nation.
CONSTITUTION: The Constitution provides the foundation for our Republic, and is meant to delegate specific, enumerated powers to our federal government. Congress has been lazy in exercising its powers. Instead of crafting specific laws, it passes broad legislation and then lets the Executive branch essentially write the details of the laws through bureaucratic regulation. Last year the federal government added 81,000 pages of new regulations. Congress has also abrogated its responsibility in declaring war, and instead gives a shrug and a nod to Presidential adventures into nations like Libya. That should not be.
SOPA/PIPA: Dan opposes SOPA and PIPA. The current versions violate the Constitutional provisions of due process and free speech.
TERM LIMITS: Dan favors term limits. Not only will he vote for term limits on federal officials but he is committing to term-limiting himself.
PRO-LIFE: Dan believes in protecting unborn children and opposes all federal funding of abortions or organizations that perform abortions. Dan’s dedication to defending life extends not only to the abortion issue, but such related issues as embryonic stem cell research.
TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE AND FAMILY: The traditional family has been a cornerstone of society for thousands of years. With the pillars of civil society under assault, and the courts increasingly left unchecked by the other two branches of government, leaving traditional marriage open to unchallenged interpretation by unelected judges would be akin to abandoning the field.
Our Founding Fathers were brilliant in many ways, but one of their greatest feats was creating a federal government with a balance of powers. The US House of Representatives was intended to represent the people, while the US Senate was established to represent the states.
Standing for state sovereignty is not something a politician should dust off during an election year, but something that should be fought for every day in the US Senate. The US Senate is meant to be a bulwark between the federal government and the states – not a body that imposes its will on states from afar.
In 2011, the Utah Senate passed a bill they called the “soft repeal “ of the 17th Amendment, asking our US Senators to at least come and consult with the Utah legislature on issues important to the state. One senator said “Of course I will” and Senator Hatch said “I don’t report to you.”
Right now, Dan has the support of the majority of Republican Senators in Utah. He will work closely with the Utah legislature and he will be a staunch defender of state sovereignty and individual rights. He will live in Utah and he will represent Utah to Washington and will not try to force Washington on Utah.
Dan does support the repeal of the 17th Amendment, and will be a committed advocate of state sovereignty. He will voluntarily hold himself accountable to the Utah legislature as he stands up for our state.
The American dream is not dead – but it is under attack. Making lasting changes that will affect generations to come will require new leaders who have the vision, skills, and track record to get this country going in the right direction again. We need leaders who care more about the next generation than the next election. Join us. It’s Time.