Utah House of Representatives

Local-level politics are boring as hell – but suck it up, citizens

There’s a race on for Utah House District 60. What’s so important about District 60, you ask? Well, District 60 contains the territory Orem Center Street south to University Parkway and from I-15 east to the Provo River.  It is, in fact,  the very district which contains our beloved Utah Valley University. Given the fact that you are reading The V, unless you are my mother or father, you’re probably a student here or you teach here or you work for the University. Which means that even if you don’t live in District 60, you’ll probably be interested to know who’s running this race and why. So we at The V are providing a quick and easy guide to the two candidates for House District 60 this year.

In this corner Brad Daw

Republican Brad Daw is the incumbent representative in the battle for District 60, and has been active in Utah politics since 1994. Daw believes firmly in gun ownership, private property rights and that marriage should be sanctioned only between men and women. Daw also advocates the proliferation of nuclear power, as well as the use of tar sands and shale oil, as an alternative to fossil fuels, citing current roadblocks against nuclear power as the product of fear-mongering. He believes that the answer to the current health care debate lies in a type of low cost/high deductible health insurance, along with individual health savings accounts. In this scenario, consumers would pay cash for health services until their deductible is met, and any remainders within the deductible would roll over into the next year. According to Daw, this would motivate consumers to be more educated as to the cost of procedures and medicine, and in some cases, motivate patients to seek alternative, more affordable forms of healthcare.

And in this corner Alan Keele

Democrat Alan Keele is a retired professor of German Literature and Humanities. It therefore should come as no surprise that education is a key platform issue for this first-time politico. In particular, Keele is interested in acquiring more funding for UVU by sponsoring legislation which would mandate more equalized spending across the board for Utah’s institutions of higher learning. He is against House Bill 150, which would allow the subpoena of electronic communication without a search warrant signed by a judge and accuses Daw of receiving campaign contributions from Altria Group, the large tobacco company known as Phillip Morris. By contrast, Keele states categorically that he will not receive any financial assistance from big tobacco and pledges to continually vote for higher taxes on tobacco products and for anti-tobacco education to curb youth smoking.

But again, why should you care about the election for House District 60?

Good question. Voter apathy is always a problem in this country and for good reason: Voting sucks. It’s a painfully boring process where you gather at rancid-smelling community centers to listen to a cretinous changeling with a Jack Nicholson grin and a Boo Radley haircut make promises he doesn’t intend to keep. Then you stand in line behind every senior citizen in the county, forced to inhale the grim stench of death and blue rinse, waiting to stand inside a dolled-up refrigerator box and make arbitrary decisions – all so you have the right to piss and moan all year about the state of the government, no matter the outcome. This is the reason that people refer to voting as a civic duty, rather than a civic pleasure.

It’s also the reason that most people only vote in the presidential election, held every four years. And if not for all the constant reminders everywhere and the unrelenting peer pressure from Will.I.Am and George Clooney to get out to the polls, we probably wouldn’t have that many folks voting in that election either. Because in a such a watered-down, bipartisan system such as ours, by the time it gets to the presidential level, you have basically two candidates that are not allowed to say, do or believe anything that might not appeal to the lowest common denominator.

At that level, voting in America is like twiddling your thumbs in a maximum security prison, wondering if the guy from the Aryan Brotherhood or the guy from the Nation of Islam is going to violate you in the shower. What people don’t realize is that, in either case, you’ll be clinging to your bar of soap for dear life, praying to God you don’t drop it.

Sounds like a bleak and pessimistic interpretation of American politics? Well, it’s your own damn fault. That’s right. You. And you. And you over there. Also, you. Don’t think you’re not a part of this. If we have middling presidents and smarmy senators and house representatives that would function better as ditch diggers and doorstops, it is the fault of the absent American voter. Because every November we go through this exact same song and dance and every November you forget that politicians are like those baby alligators you can buy as exotic pets – they eventually grow into big alligators. In other words, the guy that’s running for Utah House District 60 today might be tomorrow’s governor or senator or even a candidate for President of These Entire United States.

So, maybe suck it up, Dear Readers. Maybe read boring campaign literature, listen to platitudinous speeches, stand in line and cast your ballot. Get involved. Bother your friends and loved ones until they get involved as well. All of that malarky about how each vote counts and how we are government for and by the people could actually ring true. American politics doesn’t have to be a prison of shrugs and resignation. It could actually be a representative government. All you have to do is pick who’s going to represent you.

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