With Congress' approval rating sagging below 20 percent for more than a year, it's obvious that Americans are fed up with the partisan gridlock in Washington.
I'm tired of it, too, and it's one of the key reasons I decided to run for the United States Senate. Our country needs statesmen leadership that is willing first to listen and then reach across the aisle to create solutions.
I want to work with both Republicans and Democrats to overcome our nation's challenges. During my 10 years as a Utah state senator, I was known for working closely with my Republican colleagues to pass legislation that benefited all Utahns. I would continue to do so as your U.S. senator.
Certainly no two people can agree on everything, but as I have listened to the people of Utah and heard of their frustration with the standoff in Washington, myriad issues resurface time and again. I call them the three Es: the economy, education and comprehensive energy policy.
While there is no magic formula to strengthen our economy, cutting taxes in a responsible way for working Utahns will help to rebuild the economy and put more people back to work. I support continued tax relief for middle-class Utahns.
Furthermore, Utah small businesses must be given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with out-of-state corporations. Red tape must be cut, and Utah's employers must have all the tools they need to continue creating jobs. Investments are needed in our state's physical infrastructure, public safety and alternative energy research and development.
When it comes to education, I have been a longtime critic of the No Child Left Behind Act and believe it urgently needs reform. Certainly, government can play a limited role in education. There is a need for smart investments in education and accountability in schools, but the one-size-fits-all approach has not worked in Utah.
In the Utah Senate, I focused on lowering the cost of higher education and vocational and technical education and have been committed to integrating technology in the classroom.
Finally, like most who live in this picturesque state, my family and I have enjoyed the beauty and bounties of Utah's diverse landscape. I want to ensure that future generations can enjoy them, too. By tapping into the insight on a state level and utilizing innovation and technology from throughout the country, we can create solutions for a comprehensive and responsible energy policy.
Granted, we've barely scratched the surface, and there are many more questions, issues and frustrations involving the gridlock in Washington.
Our country needs a forceful advocate who can work with both parties and, unlike my opponent, a representative who is free from entanglement and indebtedness to extreme party bosses and corrosive special interests.
Yes, we live in the greatest nation in the world, but we are under siege from within. We are a house divided, and it will require statesmen in Congress who will unite and rally us around a common vision, not divide us for political gain.
Scott Howell is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate and a former state senator. Visit votehowell.org.