As the founder of the Alliance for a Better UTAH, I am biased.
It’s not a bias that I am ashamed of – in fact, it’s a bias that I’m proud of and that led to the founding of Better UTAH. It’s a bias that keeps us going as we come to the close of our second full year of work.
So, what’s my bias? I’m biased in my optimism about Utah politics! I view this as my “optimism bias” as described by Tali Sharot in a TED talk of the same name. If you haven’t seen it, I’d encourage you to check it out.
This bias has been at work ever since the idea for starting Better Utah was just a nascent thought in my head. It fuels my belief that there is a place for a more balanced conversation, more balanced policy and a more balanced political structure here in Utah.
We believe that we can balance good energy policy with clean air. We believe that we can balance fiscal responsibility with the obligation to take care of our brothers and sisters in need.
What we have been able to prove over the past two years is that there is, indeed, a thirst for balance in Utah. Sometimes we have been alone and sometimes we have joined with others, but we have always striven to have Better UTAH’s voice at the center of the quest for balance, transparency and accountability in Utah politics.
Measuring the success of such a lofty goal is difficult. But as we look at the past two years, we believe we have been successful and that the future is bright.
We have brought balance to important Utah discussions: The impact of the dominant LDS faith on Democrats and Republicans alike, immigration, ALEC, ALEC, and, well, ALEC, redistricting, and so much more.
We have held candidates and elected officials accountable: Waddoups, UDOT/Njord, Harper, Mike Lee, and, of course, the gift that keeps on giving, former Attorney General John Swallow.
We have increased transparency in Utah politics: the launch of the first one-stop, Utah-based campaign finance disclosure database and numerous GRAMA requests.
We have taken action by organizing rallies, hosting debates, writing op-eds, providing Utah’s first “contact your legislator” app, and most recently, by launching the Coalition for a Compassionate Utah–a group seeking to persuade Governor Herbert to accept full Medicaid expansion in Utah.
If you haven’t seen it, check out our “Progressive Timeline.” You’ll be amazed at how much we’ve done in such a short time.
Even though there is so much more work to do, we look forward to the future with optimism. Balance is coming to Utah, and the Alliance for a Better UTAH will be there every step of the way.