This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
More than anything else, Utah is unique for the strength of our communities. We work hard. We play hard. And when times are tough, we pull together and put things back together again.
Resourceful. Innovative. Determined. Compassionate. These are the words that come to mind when I think of my fellow Utahns. In hard times we join to help those in need. From fires to floods, tsunamis to recessions, we are always there to help. When a neighbor loses a job, we help them find work, and in the meantime we do everything we can to support them. It doesn't matter if they are a Mormon or a Muslim, a Ute or a Cougar, a Democrat or a Republican. When we see people in need, we overcome our differences and get to work.
But in recent years many of our political leaders haven't lived up to these Utah values. As national politics degenerated, they weren't there to stem the negativity and the naysaying that now predominate. They forgot what makes our community strong, and we let our representation in Congress slide below our standards. The consequences for working families have been devastating.
While our community was hurting, we tolerated this obstructionism when our leaders should have collaborated and compromised. It came full circle when our country's credit was downgraded. This didn't happen because we lacked the means to solve our problems; it was because our leaders lacked the will. For the first time I can remember, our leaders failed to rise to the occasion. I cannot stand by and let that happen again, and I am optimistic that we can do better if we work together.
The economy is slowly improving, but there is much to do. Many of our friends and neighbors still need jobs. Most families have not returned to their former stability. Luckily, there is still time to turn things around.
We need to roll up our sleeves. It's time to remember how to play as a team. No matter who is in need or whose errors created the mess, it will take both an offense and a defense to get back on track. Likewise we need both political parties.
That's why I'm running for Congress. I believe we can solve our problems by rebuilding the job market and stabilizing the middle class. We've got to make America competitive again and bring jobs back from overseas. Our fiscal challenges are tightly bound up with the American job market, and we can solve them if we work together again.
We won't create jobs by cutting spending alone, nor with just more stimulus. Likewise we won't solve the deficit and pay down the debt if we only approach the problem from one side. More than ever we need ideas from all sides. So on July 25, I am kicking off a 24/7 jobs campaign by visiting 24 Utah businesses in 24 hours to ask what we can do to get them hiring again.
I hope we can work together.
Jay Seegmiller, a former member of the Utah House, is the Democratic candidate in the 2nd Congressional District. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org