Sunday, July 30, 2006

Breaking the Myth Part III

People are asking the right questions. Check out today's Daily Herald.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Inflation Heating Up--Utahns feeling the squeeze

Inflation jumped higher than it has since 1994 according to an inflation gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve. This number did not take not account the latest run up in gas prices as oil hit a record high $77.03 a barrel on July 14. As Congress allows themselves another pay raise, the same Congress does nothing to bring the minimum wage into line with cost of living increases in America. As working class Americans continue to feel the squeeze, our millionaire in Congress in the 3rd district is silent on how to help the people of the 3rd District make ends meet.

Here are some of my positions:

  • Cap federally guaranteed student loan interest at 4% and support continuation of pell grants and subsidized student loans to helps students and parents pay for college.
  • Demand a transparent energy policy that is not made in secret back door meetings by the energy companies like Enron
  • Increase the minimum wage
  • Demand equity of pay and benefits for members of the military in the Reserves and National Guard
  • support a prescription drug bill that is not written by the pharmaceutical lobby
  • pledge to not attempt to privatize Social Securitiy into the hands of wall street bankers

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Cannon Says One Thing and Does Another Part 1

A little over ten years ago in 1996, Chris Cannon stated a core belief by championing the so-called "Contract with America" that was used in 1994. One plank of this conveniently all-but-forgotten promise used by people like Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich was a solemn vow for term limits. Oh, how times have changed. Here is a reminder of Cannon's vow to enforce term limits as a challenger to then Congressman Bill Orton in a June 15, 1996 edition of the Deseret News:

This is one of the most fundamental ways to clean up Congress and bring back a
citizen legislature as envisioned by our founding fathers. It will
effectively end congressional careerism," he said. Term limits tell
that those elected are there to serve, not maintain personal fiefdoms
to benefit
friends, ideological cronies and lifelong personal agendas,
Cannon said.
We limited the president to two terms, why should
Congress be above that?"

Well, now Cannon is seeking a sixth term, so he can serve his 11th and 12th year in Congress. If Cannon was to hold on to his beliefs he would have retired after 8 years, the same as a President, which would have occurred in 2004.

So next time Cannon touts his experience and positions of committees remember his statement about personal fiefdoms. The next time he calls Jack Abramoff a "great guy" remember what he said about ideological cronies. Lets hold him to his word and term limit him in 2006.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Burridge Doubles His Points in Poll

Today, after being in the race for a little over four months, our numbers doubled since the last poll we had seen. According to a recent Dan Jones poll we stand at 24%. The first poll, when we were in the race about three weeks, we were at 12%. We have spent no money on media, have sent no mailers, and have done no canvassing--yet. But we have been in 20 parades. I am even ahead of millionaire, Utah State Legislator and REPUBLICAN LaVar Christiansen who logged in at 23% who is running against Democrat Jim Matheson. I think these numbers are more in line with the power of incumbancy rather than the Myth Machine's party line that always blabbers that this area is chuck full of Republicans. I stand by the proposition that most Utahns are independents. Interestingly, my opponent has a 39% disapproval rating. This is by far the highest disapproval rating among all of Utah's congressional delegation. The next closest disapproval rating is Senator Hatch at 24% and both Congressmen Bishop and Matheson are at 15%. See the numbers yourself.

We understand that our race is new and we need more name recognition. You can help us get out our message by donating at our ActBlue site. Remember, that Professor Quin Monson, the BYU professor that did the exit polling in the Jacob/Cannon closed GOP primary, said that if we raise $200,000.00 we have a decent shot at winning this race. Meanwhile, we will keep plugging away to get the people of Utah a full-time representative in Washington.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

We Need a Transparent Oil Policy

Today the Fed came out with some frightful news: Oil prices are starting to pressure inflationary tendencies in the U.S. Fed Chairman Ben Bernarke testified to Congress that even though economic activity is moderating, record high oil prices may cause inflation to get worse. Not only is it bad enough that we consumers are getting gouged at the pump, the back door energy policy of this administration and the do-nothing Congress has failed to deliver a future oriented energy policy. This is resulting in inflationary pressures that drive up interest rates and make working families' paycheck stretch less than before. All right after the Senate bats down a minimum wage increase that has not been raised in 10 years.

We need a future oriented energy policy that is open and transparent. Where the power of the presidency is not invoked claiming executive privilege when it was drafted in a back room with people like Enron's Ken Lay. Our Congress needs to look forward to cleaner domestic energy sources like wind, solar and bio-based fuels. Some technology could even stimulate our rural economies. Cellulosic ethanol could be made from materials grown in our rural counties giving them much needed economic infrastructure.

It is time to clean house in Washington. The decisions they make (or lack thereof) has a direct impact on our pocketbooks and how we survive in Utah.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I Never Thought Someone Could Say This About America

In the months leading up to my deciding to run for congress I was feeling some pent up frustration--and quite frankly--some bona fide fear. I am a consumer rights lawyer. That means that people come to me with all kinds of financial problems. Some people get into trouble when they get into car accidents, they get cancer or some other dehabilitating disease, their spouse leaves them and wants a divorce or an employee will steal from a client causing a business strain or even to go under. These situations cause financial disasters. Whether it is tax problems with the IRS, overwhelming debt that requires a settlement with creditors, or the last resort--bankruptcy. Sometimes I stand up against predatory lenders for my clients, and often we prevail. In the seeming dichotomy in the mercy/justice debate my practice advocates for mercy. I get satisfaction from this work.

However, after being surrounded by these problems on a daily basis I also see some alarming trends in our culture. The credit industry is so powerful in its marketing power that Poor Richard's advice of "a penny saved is a penny earned" perpetuated in the foundation of this country and through the 20th century seems to be turned on its ear. Now I see a prevalent maxim--"A penny borrowed is a penny earned." There are thousands of people cashing out their equity in their house for vacations and luxuries while maxing out their credit cards for eating out and Ipods. If I asked my clients in bankruptcy if they ever planned to be in their current situation they all would say no. Financial ruin sneaks up on you like a boa constrictor--it will slowly snuggle up, wrap around and suffocate its victim. Often its victim doesn't realize what is going on until it is too late.

After working in this industry, the national news I heard everyday was starting to wear on me. This Administration and Congress has been on a spending spree and has been incurring debt a lot like many of the people I see in my area of legal practice. I sometimes wonder if there is a correlation between the spending of our governement and the spending spree causing record numbers of bankruptcies. Our government has been racking up our nation's home equity line and maxing out their credit cards. The debt is so large that the generation in power will never be able to pay it off. It will fall to my generation and my children's and their children's generation to either pay it off or deal with its consequences.

They used to call democrats tax and spend liberals. I think it is worse to be a borrow and spend neo-con. At least the democrats of old would pay for their programs as they went along instead of passing their debts on to their grandchildren. I believe we cannot go back to the tax and spend days and we need to put in stop gap measures to prevent this even more pernicious trend of borrowing against our country's future. This will only happen through real campaign finance reform. We need to stop the phenomena where corporations invest a few million in contributions and get a few billion in pork in return. The fear of this trend leading our nation to insolvency was a major motivation for my running for Congress.

Though I have seen it coming, I was still in awe when I saw this article today, "US 'could be going bankrupt.'" I never thought that this proposition would even be brought up about the United States of America. The author of this argument is no crazy conspiracy theorist. He is Professor Laurence Kotlikoff for the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, a leading constituent of the US Federal Reserve. Professor Kotlikoff makes the following points:

  • "The proper way to consider a country's solvency is to examine the lifetime fiscal burdens facing current and future generations. If these burdens exceed the resources of those generations, get close to doing so, or simply get so high as to preclude their full collection, the country's policy will be unsustainable and can constitute or lead to national bankruptcy."
  • The United States has experienced high rates of inflation in the past and appears to be running the same type of fiscal policies that engendered hyperinflations in 20 countries over the past century."
  • Expecting a fix now is probably asking too much of short-sighted politicians who have no incentives to do so. But a fix, or at least a succession of patches, will come when the problem becomes more pressing."

We need members of Congress who not be a rubber stamp of the national party leaders. We need a change where our members will vote for reform--reform in the financing of elections, reform on pork barrel spending, reform on no bid contracts. Let us elect a freshman class of congress akin to the wave in 1974, when in the midst of the Watergate scandal, the freshman class of Congress was so large that it passed the first campaign finance reform, and the clean air and clean water legislation. These measures would have been impossible if incumbents remained in power.

Let us clean house and have a chance of saving our future from bankruptcy.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Pete Ashdown to the Rescue

Yesterday, it was over 100 degrees outside. After a late night of finalizing our FEC report and a morning of responding to some law clients, getting the FEC report in the mail and getting some necessary mailers out we got the car packed and were on the road an hour and a half behind schedule. The Ute Stampede Parade in Nephi started at 4:00 p.m. and we hit Point-of-the-Mountain at about 2:45.

"We will make it, we have been behind before," I thought outloud. We barely made it into the West Valley Parade after I pulled my hamstring running uphill to catch the van after chatting with some fellow Bingham High classmates in the Herriman Parade which was held almost contemporaneously with the West Valley Parade. We ran to catch our West Valley car which had gotten 200 yards into the parade before Marissa and I caught up while carrying Celia, Alma and a cooler full of Otter Pops. Though my leg was killing me, I remembered my high school football coach saying that champions keep hustling the whole game--even it it means playing while hurt.

It was at the Point-of-the-Mountain that we passed Pete Ashdown's motorhome--"The Blue Eagle." We honked and waved. Marissa said that even though we were late, Pete was going to be even later than us. However, in Springville, we started having trouble. It seems as if the fuel filter needed changing and the van started sputtering. The engine would just stop running in the middle of the freeway. I would pull over, restart the car, the engine would run normally and then we would be on the freeway again. After this scenario happened three or four times, the car stopped just east of Mona Reservoir and would not start again.

We did not even consider giving up. As my mentor, former college professor, drama director and first cousin once-removed, Kim Christison taught me--THE SHOW MUST GO ON! Kim is running for the State House of Representatives in District 68. We had planned to be in the parade in Nephi together. The Burridges and Christisons were early settlers and long time residents of Nephi and we wanted make sure that both came to "represent" in Nephi while making a united tribute to our common forbearers.

So I called Pete. About 2 minutes after my call the "Blue Eagle" pulled over, we loaded the kids, our candy, wagon and staffer and took off for Nephi. We made it to Nephi just in time and enjoyed a great crowd. I ran into former Miss Snow College 2nd attendant (1993) Paula Mangleson Nelson--daughter of famed and retired UHP trooper Paul Magleson. Also, I hugged one of my mission greenies from Eureka, Staff Sergeant Benjamin Grimstead, who just returned from courageous service in Iraq.

Thanks Pete. While Senator Hatch is bailing a drug toting record executive out of a Dubai Prison, Pete acted like a true good Samaritan. He saved my family on a hot freeway in Mona on the way to great parade.

Friday, July 14, 2006

America wants change--they overwhelmingly want Democrats

Throughout our campaign we have noticed something in the air. Utahns are ready for change and are ready for new leadership in Washington, D.C. I have met thousands of people in the last few months. They are tired of power concentrated in the hands of a few, they are tired of a one party controlled government. They are tired of a rubber-stamp Congress. They want change. A recent national poll exhibits this phenomena. Here is the article Most Americans Plan to Vote for Democrats. Just a few key points:

  • By a 3 to 1 margin Americans hold Congress in low regard and would like to see another party controlling Congress
  • If the election were held today 51% want Democrats while only 40% want Republicans
  • 81% of Democratic base would vote for Democrats, 56% of moderates back their local Dem and 24% of Conservatives would switch over to vote for Democrats
  • Congress has 27% approval rating

The Article further noted:

Some criticism of Congress has focused on lawmakers' inability to control
spending, with lawmakers tucking in special projects for their home districts.
"They used to say there's nothing worse than a tax-and-spend liberal
Democrat," said Gary Wilson, 51, a self-described liberal from Gaithersburg, Md.
"There is something worse: It's a borrow-and-spend Republican. This is going to
come back to haunt us."

The tide is turning.

Monday, July 10, 2006

ActBlue Kickoff Campaign

The Christian Burridge for Congress campaign kicked off its ActBlue recruitment campaign on Thursday. ActBlue is an online clearing house where people can donate online and the money is forwarded to democratic candidates. Many people come to the campaign and ask how they can help. This program is a simple way you can help with very little time and very little money. Here is how it works:

1. Log on to our ActBlue page at the campaign's fundraising site.

2. Insert the name of your fundraising campaign in the first line. (Later, you can add multiple candidates to your profile.)

3. Put in your name or your organization in the next line.

4. Then make your pitch that is crafted to your friends, family, and associates when they consider donating to Christian Burridge for Congress. Be sure to talk about your beliefs and your connection to Christian Burridge when making your pitch.

5. Insert a personalized name to go on the URL so that when you tell your friends where to donate or insert the URL address in your email it will be easy to remember.

6. Upload your profile.

7. After the profile is uploaded you are given a chance to make a donation. Please set an example by making a donation at this critical step. Whether you donate hundreds or $5, $10, $25, or $50 it doesn't matter just donate so you will appear as a fundraiser on the "see who's raising" site.

8. Write an email message endorsing Christian Burridge with a request for your friends, family and associates to login under your site to make a donation.

9. Send this message to your contacts in your email address book or call your friends and refer them to your site.

We will be keeping track of those who are raising for our campaign. The top ten raisers will be invited to a VIP reception with Christian on the night of the election. Everyone who is listed on the "see who's raising" site will be entered into a drawing to win a one week of lodging and vacation at a Utah recreational area.

Friday, July 07, 2006

BYU Professor Weighs in on Burridge's Chances

Darci Larsen
Media Director
Christian Burridge for Congress

There is an
article about the race in Utah's 3rd Congressional District in today's Daily Herald. Most notably BYU Political Science Professor Quin Monson, who conducted the exit polling in the closed GOP Cannon/Jacob primary, points out that Burridge has a chance in this race if he can raise enough money. Monson was quoted as saying "It sounds like he's the right kind of Democrat to have a chance from a policy and ideological perspective. . ."

As always, you can contribute to the campaign very effortlessly at our
ActBlue site.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Breaking the Myth Machine Part II

Joe Crockett
Field Coordinator
Christian Burridge for Congress

Latest myths being repeated by Pundits:

"The Third District is Overwhelmingly Republican."

"The Race is Virtually Over."

"It is Impossible for a Democrat to Win in Such a Republican District."

"Bush Won With Such a Large Percentage That a Democrat Can't Win in This District."

I am surprised how many of the "insiders" in Utah politics or out-of-state pundits want to call the race. But I ask them: have you examined the history of this district and have you looked at its current make-up?

Let us examine the Facts.

The 3rd district was extensively overhauled after the 2000 election when the GOP-controlled legislature made a failed attempt to gerrymander Congressman Jim Matheson out of his seat. Lets look at the 3rd district when Christian's opponent took office: the 1996 through 2000 cycles when Donald Dunn was the Democratic nominee. The District consisted of the following counties: Carbon, Daggett, Duschesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Kane, Morgan, Piute, San Juan, Sevier, Summit, Uintah, Utah and Wayne. Also, the district had about 43,500 people who voted in 1996 in Salt Lake County.

However, the district drastically changed in 2002. The new district is now comprised of the west side of Salt Lake County, which had 125,000 people who voted in 2004. Utah County was left without Highland, Alpine, most of Lehi, and American Fork. The east half of Juab County was added, along with all of Millard and Beaver counties. Sanpete and Sevier counties were left in the 3rd. All of the other counties were given to Matheson. With some of the highest concentrations of red-leaning precincts taken out of Utah County, and the addition of heavily blue-leaning areas like West Valley, Kearns, and Taylorsville as well as swing areas like West Jordan and incorporated Salt Lake County, the district is remarkably different than what most pundits believe.

We Democrats have only run two cycles in this vastly changed district, and neither of the candidates raised more than $100,000.00. Christian is the first BYU educated lawyer to run for the seat as a Democrat since Bill Orton.

But then there is the Bush factor. This is the argument that the national pundits like to use. They look at the President's numbers and then just impute his numbers over to Cannon. This is a hasty generalization and is inconsistent with Utah voting patterns when Utahns have a Democratic candidate who appeals to them and their values. In 2000, Bush won with 71% of the vote. But in the same year Matheson won with 55% of the vote. In 1996 Clinton lost with 32%. Meanwhile, Bill Orton received 47% of the vote in "official results." (We will discuss an interesting piece of history on the 1996 unofficial results in a later blog.) Finally, in 1992 and 1994 Bill Orton won with percentages in the high fifties, while Clinton finished third in Utah in 1992. All of these facts indicate that Utahns are reliable cross-over voters. To use a presidential vote as a predictor for a Utah congressional race is like using last year's BYU football record to predict this year's Bingham High football season. They are apples and oranges. The analogy is misleading and stretched. Use the history of the district--not another race for another office in another year.