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News from the Campaign Front

Representative Carol Spackman Moss Endorses Donna McAleer

"As an LDS Democrat, a mother, grandmother, a teacher and a 14-year state legislator,  I strongly endorse Donna McAleer to represent Utah in Congress. Donna is a leader, a mother and a veteran. She has a proven track-record in creating jobs, stewarding our environment and fighting for both veterans and women in service. I firmly believe that Donna has my children and family’s best interests in mind as she runs for the United States House of Representatives."

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American Federation of Teachers Endorses Donna McAleer for Congress

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in Utah announces their support of Donna McAleer for Congress. The AFT, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, is part of a national union that was formed almost a century ago. Its members view teaching as an honored profession, and fight to preserve and improve our country’s commitment to public education.  AFT represents close to a million teachers nationwide, in public and charter schools, and at all grade levels.

Brad Asay, President of AFT Utah, champions McAleer as the best candidate for Congress. He also affirms that McAleer’s goals for education are in line with those of the union. Asay states, “The American Federation of Teachers Utah strongly endorses Donna McAleer to represent the citizens of Utah in [the] United States House of Representatives. Ms. McAleer is a trained and skilled leader as well as a knowledgeable advocate of the people and values in District 1 and throughout the state.”

Donna is aware that education is vital in maintaining Utah’s economic viability. McAleer supports a state’s ability to determine guidelines on common learning goals, and proper and adequate teacher development and evaluation. While she considers education a function of state and local decision makers, she views the role of federal government as a crucial part of both policy support and funding of education. Asay concludes, “AFT looks forward to her election to Utah’s District 1 seat in the United States House of Representatives.”

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McAleer is endorsed by Rep Jennifer M. Seelig

Seeling_J_73419-9743_web.jpg "Donna McAleer will be an outstanding congresswoman, a fierce advocate for the 1st Congressional District, and as a steward of Utah. As a leader she has a proven track-record of creating jobs, providing access to health care, and leading and working with others from diverse backgrounds. Donna’s lifelong experience serving country and community, both in and out of uniform, makes her a terrific representative for Utah families and the best candidate for this district."

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10th Circuit

Today in Denver a complex moral issue has been reduced to ugly stereotypes, suspect facts, and petty bitterness with the beginning of oral arguments in Kitchen v. Herbert at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. And as Utah tensely awaits the outcome of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the issue of marriage equality once again becomes a political football in Utah. 

This issue is, in fact, an issue that at one point caused strife and discomfort in my own family. In 2008, I acknowledged the deep-rooted truth that I am a gay man. What followed was a difficult time both for me and my family’s understanding of me. I was incredibly lucky. My family’s willingness to have the conversation and to continue to love me deeply is the only reason that I have developed into who I am today.   

Recently, around a box of pizza at Maxwell’s pizza in Park City I had the opportunity to ask Donna why she felt compelled to support marriage equality so publicly when so many politicians in Utah run from the issue. Her response struck an emotional cord that is very rarely struck. Donna recounted the story of a wedding she attended at her alma mater, West Point, in 2012, of Brenda Sue Fulton, a member of the Military Academy’s first class to include women, and Penny Gnesin. Two women who had shared 17 years together and who had been civilized, unionized, committed, but never married finally had the chance to enter into the bond of matrimony. Seventeen years of struggle, rigid definitions, and hurtful restrictions melted away as West Point Military Academy hosted its first same-sex wedding.

The Attorney General of the State of Utah, who draws a salary from the taxes I pay, has decided that marriages between two loving people are unworthy of the State of Utah’s acceptance. Instead of espousing leadership, Attorney General Reyes is espousing weakness. In any other sphere of life, Attorney General Reyes’ actions would be condemned and considered bully tactics. These tactics include attempting to destroy the same-sex families of Utahns and their children. By contrast, Donna McAleer has fought for a just society for her entire career. Defending the freedom of all Utahns through her service in the military, her strong advocacy to eliminate discriminatory ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policies in the military, and now by fighting for equal pay for equal work. Donna’s service on the Defense Advisory Council on Women in the Service proves that she is committed to a society that honors the contributions of all members.

Leadership is not an easy to burden to bear. There will undoubtedly be those who seek to ridicule and attack Donna for her willingness to defend the dignity of all members of our community but there are also those, like myself, who believe that Donna represents the best of our country’s values. Donna has been a lion among lambs when it comes to issues of equality and supporters of this campaign should know that Donna stands with all of those who will be affected by the battle being fought in Denver. Every policy and position of this campaign is one that respects the inherent worth and dignity of every person in this great State of Utah.

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An EPIC-ly Bad Bill for Utah

On March 26, 2014, the House passed a bill named Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act, or EPIC. This bill is design to deconstruct the 106-year old Antiquities Act (AA). The AA, enacted in 1906, allows a President to designate national monuments on federal lands that have “historical landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.” [1] In essence, this designation was “designed to provide an expeditious means to protect federal lands and resources.” [2]

Rob Bishop, who claims to be an expert on the Constitution, states that national parks are unconstitutional, despite the fact that federal land ownership and stewardship is specifically addressed in Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

Rob Bishop also claims that national parks are not money makers. Yet the National Park Service generates $10 for local economies for every dollar spent. In Utah alone, Natural Bridges, Rainbow Bridge, Dinosaur, Zion’s, Timpanogos Cave, Arches, Bryce, Cedar Breaks, and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument—established by seven different presidents under the Antiquities Act—generated almost $500 million in economic benefits to Utah in 2012.

Utah’s 13 National Park Service units — including the five world-famous national parks that drew more than 9.5 million visitors in 2012.

The government shutdown in October 2013, closed National Parks and Monuments around the country. The closure of National Parks in Utah came with a $30 million price tag according the the Utah Governor's chief economist. ”October visits to the state’s national parks account for 10 percent of all visits during the year, and the parks bring in about $1 billion a year to state and local communities.”

A November 2013 poll by Hart Research Associates revealed that voters by an overwhelming margin of more than 3-to-1 want to strengthen the Antiquities Act, not gut it. But Rob Bishop is on record wanting to open federal wilderness and national parks for drilling and mining. Worse, Congressman Bishop is expected to succeed the retiring Doc Hastings (R-Washington) as chair of the important House Natural Resources Committee.

If Rob Bishop has his way, the landscape of our national parks and monuments in Utah and across the nation will be made available to oil rigs and open pit mines.

I will fight tirelessly to steward public lands because I strongly believe that access to these public lands is essential -- for us, for our children, and for our grandchildren. OUR PUBLIC LANDS determine the character, economy, lifestyle and heritage in Utah.

[1] 16 U.S.C. § 431.

[2] Carol Hardy Vincent & Kristina Alexander,National Monuments and the Antiquities Act, Congressional Research Service (Mar. 21, 2014) at 2.

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