This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I have been a supporter of the Republican Party for many years because I believe in many of the principles it stands for, including efficiency, fiscal sense and moderate government interference. I turned this belief into a career, spending nearly six years working for Republican officials in their home offices. My primary responsibility was casework, which meant my full-time job was helping people who were desperately trying to navigate government systems such as immigration, Social Security, Medicare, the Veterans Administration or the U.S. military. These individuals often reached out to our office when they had nowhere else to turn.
Over the course of those six years, I guided hundreds of people through the red tape and regulations of a system that just wasn't built to help those who fell through the cracks. My job wasn't about making policy, though I quickly became exposed to many of the injustices people suffered as a result of certain policies. Some of their stories kept me up at night because their situations meant there simply wasn't anything I could do.
I spent months helping a man who sought political asylum from his home country as he worked to get his wife and children's visas approved. He waited every night for them to call so he could know they were safe.
I listened to a woman sob on the phone from her apartment in Mexico where she was living separated from her husband and children. She was brought to the U.S. as a small child by her mother and returned again after being deported. When she married her U.S. citizen spouse, she tried to apply for legal status but was deported again with a 10-year bar.
I helped a veteran who lost all his teeth and had been unable to chew food for years get the dental implants he so desperately needed. I listened on the phone to his sheer joy as he described being able to eat again.
I have a folder full of heart-felt thank you letters from the people I worked with over those years.
After I left my political career in 2013, I quietly decided to do essentially the bare minimum of political work voting. Coming face-to-face with the reality that effecting change in the Republican party wasn't happening turned out to be a bitter pill to swallow.
It might be my Mormon heritage that propels me to get involved now. As a Mormon who grew up in Utah, I was raised with a sense of civic duty. It wasn't enough to just vote. I spent time knocking on doors, putting up yard signs and running social media campaigns. My political education from my parents wasn't founded on being a Republican, but rather, being an American. As I've become older, my ideologies have grown and evolved, but that sense of civic duty hasn't changed.
Many of my former colleagues consider any Republican to be a good alternative to having a Democrat as president. However, as someone who watched the suffering of people trapped in government systems, built without compromise and level-headed planning, I cannot stand by. I do not for one minute consider a Donald Trump presidency to be a good thing for anyone other than the most elite in our country.
Thinking of all those people I helped navigate impossible government systems propels me to reject Trump's candidacy. As I worked with those who crossed my path, I knew there were so many more who were scared and didn't have the resources navigate complex government programs. Trump's attitudes about immigrants and refugees show a profound lack of knowledge and compassion that is dangerous and irresponsible. He has neither the policy sense nor the empathy that a good leader requires.
From where I sit, the Republican Party officials who either endorse Trump or sit on the sidelines and say nothing are equally culpable in propping up a dangerous candidate who they cannot control. And my fellow Mormon colleagues know better than this. It is foolish to believe that Trump has any loyalty to the Republican party, its elected officials or anyone but himself. There is more at stake here than the fate of the Republican party.
Voting for Hillary Clinton in this election isn't even a question for me at this point. I do not have to agree with her on every policy issue to know that she is the most qualified candidate and the right person for the job. As a former senator and secretary of state, she has seen the same problems facing Americans that I did when I was a caseworker. She understands the principles of diplomacy and compromise. Her qualifications and confidence makes my choice in November a simple one.
One of my former bosses used to say that the people who stand up and show up are the ones who make the difference. I ask my fellow Republican women to stand up with me and say no to Donald Trump.
Emily Ellsworth is a lifelong Republican voter, campaign volunteer and former district office staffer for Utah Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart.