A long time ago in an election far, far away, I remember reading these words...
You don't encourage invention and ambition by giving a quarter-million dollar tax cut to a $15 million a year man. Give the bus driver's bright child a chance to get a great education. That's an investment....and thinking; you know, it really is that simple.
Intrigued that such an honest and almost over-simplified approach to politics would come from a congressional candidate, I began my search for more information about the man behind those words. What I found can literally be credited for my desire to take my blogging and political involvement to the level of actual activism.
I have always found inspiration to be involved in national political activism, as it's in my vocal nature, but my discovery of Steve Olsen and what he has written was the first time I realized that Utah was not forever trapped under a single party, ruling over us like King's of an ancient feudal system (evidenced in the School Voucher battle and the public rebuke that followed.)
Steve made me realize that Utah remained a red-state not because the Republican Party still espoused the values important to the average voter, but because we, as Democrats, had seriously dropped the ball in getting our own message out. As a party, much as we've seen nationally, Democrats have allowed themselves to be defined more by the (effective) propaganda machine of the GOP, without etching out a strong identity -- independent of that spin -- that truly defined what being a Democrat in Utah is all about.
Steve Olsen has done, is doing, and will continue to do exactly that.
And Steve Olsen is running for office. From his first press release:
Thoughtful Utahns are beginning to realize what Utah’s moderate, patriotic Democrats have known for years – the Republicans that control the Legislature have become so extreme that Utah Democrats more closely represent the values of our citizens.”For every Democrat and dissatisfied Republican in this state, regardless of where you reside, Steve Olsen's candidacy is an undeniable opportunity for us to return to what it means to each and every one of us to be a Utahn. Some of us will get to vote for him (like my SideTrack co-writer Craig), while the rest of us are restricted to hoping from the sidelines that the voters of Plain City will continue to fight for a new direction in our local political arenas.
Olsen gives other reasons he would effectively represent the citizens of Weber County. “One of the big problems with the Legislature these days is they aren’t listening to the people. My neighbors have great ideas about how government should be run; I will actively seek out those ideas. You will never see me voting for measures like vouchers that a majority of the people in my district oppose.
“In addition, I believe my professional skills would represent a unique and important asset on Capitol Hill. As an engineer who specializes in team-based problem solving, I have the ability to get people on both sides of the aisle talking to each other, incorporating the best ideas to solve the problems facing this state. It frustrates me that the Legislature continues to address issues like educational improvement, immigration, and health care reform with ideologically driven schemes. It’s time we reach out to the collective wisdom of our citizens and go after effective solutions based on evidence and common sense, not theories based on political philosophy.
If you trust one blogger on one election in 2008, make it this one. Steve Olsen's candidacy is one to get behind.
Weber County Forum has more. Also, read more from Steve himself here and here.