This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Veterans Day is an opportunity for politicians to proffer patriotic speeches about the brave souls who have fought to keep us safe and testify to their own love of country.
But this year, it seems, the holiday was not particularly the friend of Mia Love.
First, there was criticism on social media about her absence last week from Veterans Day celebrations when, according to the congressional calendar, it was a workweek for members in their respective districts.
A post by Russ Ussery, a combat vet, asked on Love's Facebook page why she was not at a veterans event.
"About 30 minutes after I posted," Ussery reported, "her campaign deleted my post from her page and blocked me from posting. What kind of person censors and deletes a veteran's post on Veterans Day?"
Another veteran posted a comment on a Salt Lake Tribune story that he had contacted Love's office for help with veterans' benefits and never heard back.
"It's been three months and counting," he wrote.
Lastly, KUTV-Channel 2, aired a "Get Gephart" investigation about a woman who was being hounded by Veterans Affairs to return a month's worth of survivor benefits because her mother, the beneficiary, had died before the end of the month and, therefore was not eligible for any of that month's benefits.
The woman said she had contacted Love's office to see if the law could be changed. She never heard back.
But Love said her office has no record of that woman calling, emailing or writing for help.
Once she learned of the issue, from Gephart, Love said she will work to fix the law, just as she has done on numerous bills to help veterans.
Love confirmed she was out of state during the week because it was the only time she could be with her family while Congress was away from Washington, she said. But knowing she would be gone during Veterans Day, she held an open house Oct. 12 for 100 vets and their families in her district.
"I love the men and women who have fought for freedom. I love and honor the families of those who have given the last full measure of devotion. Many of my family members have served and there is not a day that goes by where I don't thank God for the service and sacrifice of our brave military personnel," Love said. "That gratitude is evident in the votes I have taken in Washington."
A jinxed legislative district • It hasn't been a good year for Democrats in Salt Lake County's House District 40. First, the district's first-term Democratic representative, Justin Miller, resigned recently after pleading guilty to fraud.
Then, when district delegates met last week to elect a replacement, the process was marred after one delegate was not allowed to vote. Her tally could have changed the result.
After the first round, the two finalists were Amy Fowler, a Salt Lake County legal defender, and Lynn Hemingway, who had held that seat for eight years before declining to run again in 2014.
Fowler had received the most votes by a large margin in the first round. But in the second and final round, she lost to Hemingway by one vote.
Hemingway's return to the House will be under a cloud, however.
One delegate, Marla Kennedy, had been in an accident recently and suffered a broken ankle, torn ligaments and busted ribs. She showed up for the vote wearing a protective boot and using a cane. After she voted in the first round, she said she was in pain and would go home to rest.
She asked to be notified when the second round began so she could return and cast her ballot.
Kennedy, who had publicly announced her support for Fowler, was walking toward the voting area in the Salt Lake County Government Center when party officials determined the time was up and closed the ballot box.
Walking slowly and with difficulty because of her injuries, she arrived there just as the voting closed.
Had she been allowed to vote, the result would have been a tie, and the flip of coin would have resolved the runoff.
Cause and effect • It appears that a political strategy had the unintended effect of allowing golfers to enjoy the doomed Wingpointe Golf Course near the international airport for an extra two weeks.
Wingpointe was one of the courses slated for closure by Salt Lake City in an attempt to balance the golf budget.
Course officials were notified the last day would be Oct. 31. But wait. That would be three days before Election Day, and Mayor Ralph Becker was in a close race for re-election.
City sages decided it would not be good to shut down the popular course just before the election so the closure was delayed until Nov. 15.