SLCC Honors Senator Mayne

Senator Karen Mayneby Senator Karen Mayne
Assistant Senate Minority Whip
District 5 

 I am honored that Salt Lake Community College recently presented me with an award as a 2009 Legislative Champion.  However, I am even more grateful to have Salt Lake Community College as a part of my District 5.  With their commitment to changing people’s lives through education, and their dedication to serving Utah as the largest two-year community college in the state, Salt Lake Community College is undoubtedly the jewel of my senate district.

Salt Lake Community College and I share a common interest in helping to prepare the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow.  I have had the opportunity to work with Salt Lake Community College on apprenticeship programs.  We worked together to help promote Helmets to Hardhats, a program that introduces military veterans to promising trade apprenticeship opportunities.  Whether it is helping military veterans in finding jobs and adjusting to civilian life, or simply helping to educate the next generation of Utah’s students, I hope to continue working with Salt Lake Community College in helping students get the training they need to succeed in our competitive world.  It is my honor and responsibility to nurture and support Salt Lake Community College.

Hinckley’s Intern Report

We just received the Hinckley Institute of Politics’ 2008 Newsletter.  A few of our former interns are mentioned in the newsletter, so we want to mention them here, as well.   

Click on the link above and check them out:

Page 9 –  Zach Fountain – 2008 Intern for Senators Ross Romero and Scott McCoy

Page 9 –  Autumn Orme – 2008 Intern for Senator Patricia Jones

Page 11 – Andrew Gilbert – Fall 2008 Intern for Senator Luz Robles’ Campaign

Page 13 – Zach Fountain – 2008 Capital Encounter Intern, Washington, D.C.

Page 18 – Jesse Nix – 2008 recipient of the Robert H. Hinckley Graduate Sholarship and 2004 Intern for Senator Ron Allen

 Congratulations to all.  We enjoyed working with you during past sessions and wish you the best in your future endeavors.    

Countdown to the Census

Senator Ross Romeroby Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip

On June 24, 2009, I was asked to speak to a meeting of the Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce, along with Senator Luz Robles.  At the meeting, I spoke about the importance of the census and making sure all are part of the count.

The 2010 Census will have one of the shortest census questionnaires in the history of our country, taking only 10 minutes to complete.  Questions are name, gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship, and whether the householder owns or rents his/her home.  Quick and Simple.

An accurate Census count matters to us in Utah.  Federal and State government use census information to determine where to spend more than $300 billion in federal funds annually.  Information is gathered to determine how to allocate spending for such things as new schools, libraries, public buildings, highway safety and public transportation systems, new roads and bridges, police and fire departments, and many other projects.

Community organizations use census information to develop social service programs, community action projects, senior lunch programs and child-care centers.  The numbers help businesses identify where to locate factories, shopping centers, movie theaters, banks and offices–activities that often lead to new jobs.

One way community leaders (state, local, and tribal governments) can assist in helping make sure there is an accurate count is to register for the Local Update of Census Address (LUCA) program to update the Census Bureau’s address information for their communities.  Another way to assist with the count is to participate in a Complete Count Committee.

So remember, be sure you are part of the Count on Census Day which is April 1, 2010.  It is important to all of us in Utah. 

For more information about the census, please visit this link:  http://www.census.gov/2010census

SLCC Legislative Champion

Senator Karen MayneLast month, Senator Karen Mayne was honored as 2009 Legislative Champion by Salt Lake Community College.  She was among three other legislators who support and embrace the spirit of Salt Lake Community College.  The college is nestled in Senator Mayne’s #5 Senate District.

President Bioteau thanked the senator for helping with legislation enhancing and forming a broader education base.

 Senator Mayne said, “It is my pleasure to serve Salt Lake Community College.  It’s the jewel of my Senate district.”

Sen. Davis Greets Visitors from Africa

Senator Gene DavisSenator Gene Davis met with a group of visitors from Africa last Monday at the Capitol.  Among the African countries represented were Chad, Mali, Kenya, Senegal, Niger, Madagascar, Sudan, Namibia, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.  The group, sponsored by the United States Department of State and locally by the Utah Council on Citizen Diplomacy, participated in a regional project for Africa  entitled “Religious Freedom and Interfaith Dialogue.”

The question/answer format included discussion about what it means to have a minority party, the role of the minority party, state representation versus federal representation, and religious freedom.  Senator Davis mentioned to the group that we begin our legislative sessions each day with a prayer given by either a member of the body or an invited ecclesiastical leader.  Some in the group were puzzled by the conglomerate of multi-denominational prayers.  Senator Davis simply replied to the group that the senators’ open hearts allow them to be be guided by every prayer offered.   Senator Davis said, “Respect for a person’s religion demonstrates respect for the individual.”

Several interpreters accompanied the group to translate for Senator Davis and many of the participants.  Languages spoken in the group were English and French.

Offices of the Utah Council on Citizen Diplomacy are located at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.  Westminster’s president, Michael Bassis says:

“Considering all that the organization (Utah Council on Citizen Diplomacy) does to promote global respect and understanding between the people of Utah and other nations, we are honored to offer them office space on our campus and access to our wonderful facilities. But the enormous value they bring to our campus is what drives our enthusiasm for this partnership. This value comes through our joint sponsorship of public lectures on topics of transnational importance and, perhaps most importantly, it comes from the opportunities UCCD creates for our students, faculty and staff to interact with delegations of emerging leaders from countries across the globe that visit Salt Lake each year through UCCD’s International Visitor Leadership Program.”

 

Discusssion

Interpreters

Group Photo

Senator Davis

First Special Session – 2009

by Senator Luz Robles
Minority Caucus Manager
Senate District One

Senator Luz RoblesThe Utah State Legislature met today to change some technical pieces on laws we passed this last session.  More importantly, we were able to fix the Medicaid hospital provider reimbursement rates, making it the same as all other providers in the state.  Our health care system is seeing a dramatic increase in uninsured and Medicaid caseload growth.  This is when the state needs to take are of our providers to establish continued levels of health care.

I also had the opportunity to be part of the committee to notify Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., that the Legislature had gathered for the First Special Session, and I had the opportunity to personally congratulate the governor on his new position as Ambassador to China.  He was very gracious and seemed eager to serve his country at the national level.  My experience with Governor Huntsman as a former staff member of his administration, and as a Senator, has always been positive.  He will be greatly missed here in the halls of the State Capitol.

Governor Huntsman’s open-mindedness and willingness to listen to all ideas brought a different experience in Utah State government.  I wish him and his family the best of luck in China, and I look forward to working with Lt. Governor Herbert.

Governor Huntsman’s Ambassadorship

Senator Pat Jonesby Senator Patricia Jones
Senate Minority Leader

On behalf of the Utah Senate Democrats, we congratulate Governor Huntsman on his pending responsibility as our country’s ambassador to China.  We concur unequivocally with President Obama’s brilliant choice–Governor Huntsman is the perfect individual for the job.

When political labels are set aside and the needs of people prevail, it is evident where Governor Huntsman’s priorities lie.  In his tenure as Utah’s governor, he has advocated for many of the same issues Democrats advocate for every day, and generally we feel aligned with his views.

Like Utah’s Democrats, Governor Huntsman has advocated for issues representative of mainstream Utah.  He pledged his support for public education and teachers–and followed through.  He has supported higher education as a means of empowering Utah’s citizens and thereby boosting economic development.  He has adamantly opposed the disposal of nuclear waste in Utah.  He has actively participated in the Western Climate Initiative which, among its objectives, is the development of renewable energy sources.  He has advocated for the most vulnerable of our population and devised methods of addressing their immediate and long-term needs.  He supports increasing the cigarette tax, as we do.

We send our best wishes to Governor Huntsman and his family as he embarks upon this new endeavor.  He is a model public servant and will use his diplomatic skills to achieve success as our country’s ambassador to China.

We also send our best wishes to Lt. Governor Gary Herbert, who will become Utah’s governor upon Governor Huntsman’s departure.

Looking ahead to 2010, you will see a number of Democrat candidates who are capable and qualified to fill the governor and lieutenant governor positions and can do so with Governor Huntsman’s same aplomb and policies that reflect mainstream Utah.

Helmets to Hardhats Program Day

THEY DEFENDED AMERICA; NOW LET THEM HELP YOU BUILD IT

Helmets to HardhatsThis afternoon, Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., signed a declaration recognizing Helmets to Hardhats and declared March 30, 2009, as Helmets to Hardhats Program Day.  Helmets to Hardhats is a nonprofit organization hosted by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans’ Employment (CMRAVE), which connects veterans to promising careers in the construction industry.  Utah is the 27th state to recognize the vital role of Helmets to Hardhats.

Among those accompanying Governor Huntsman today for the signing were Senator Gene Davis; Senator Karen Mayne; Terry Schow, Executive Director, Utah Department of Veterans Affairs; General Jeff Burton, Utah National Guard; Major General Peter Cook, U.S. Army Reserves; Steve Hadley, Veterans Outreach Program, Department of Workforce Services; Darrell Roberts, Executive Director, Helmets to Hardhats; Dale Cox, Operating Engineers Local No. 3; Rob Mason, Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons; Jim Judd, president, AFL-CIO; Darlene Goldman, Salt Lake Community College; Dale Brockbank, U.S. Department of Labor; Mark Biloz, Regional Director, Veterans Administration; and numerous others representing the construction industry and armed services.

Helmets to Hardhats provides training and support to veterans returning from military service to facilitate a smooth transition to civilian life.  Veterans log in to http://helmetstohardhats.org, establish an account, and begin their search for a productive career.  The Helmets to Hardhats staff of construction industry and military professionals help guide veterans through their career search, connecting them with apprenticeship programs and providing career advice.  Many Utah veterans have received this training.  Click here for Ami Joi O’Donoghue’s great article in the Deseret News relating Darrell Robert’s personal military experiences.

Information is also available on the site about the Wounded Warrior program, which supports disabled Veterans by providing the tools, information and community that will help Veterans gain careers in the Building and Construction Industry.

Here are some impressive Helmets to Hardhats statistics for 2008:

Unique Visitors – 320,259 unique visitors to the H2H website, an increase of 13% over 2007.

Registered Veterans – 21,694 veterans as candidates, an increase of 14% over 2007.

Veterans Hired – 1,714 veteran hires through H2H, a 10% increase over 2007; 79 of whom are Wounded Warriors.

Job Searches – 510,527 candidate career searches, a 24% increase over 2007.

Job Applications – 5,713 candidates applied for career positions, a 27% increase.

Utah Career Postings – 28

Registered Utah Veterans – 127 veterans, 13 of whom are Wounded Warriors

Utah Hires – 9

Darrell Roberts, Helmets to Hardhats
Darrell Roberts, Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats, flanked by Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., and Major General Peter Cook, U.S. Army Reserves

 Gov. Huntsman Reads the Declaration
Governor Huntsman Reads the Declaration

 Signing the Declaration
Governor Huntsman Signs the Declaration
with Senators Davis and Mayne (on the right)

  The Participants
The Participants

 Goldman, Roberts, and Sen. Mayne
Darlene Goldman, Darrell Roberts and Senator Mayne

 Dale Cox, Sen. Davis and Darrell Roberts
Dale Cox, Senator Davis and Darrell Roberts

 

Saving Money by Reducing Energy Needs

Senator Ross Romeroby Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip

Whitney Bitner, Rachel Dansie, Hannah Durham, Hannah Hoopes, Lizzie Egan, and Victoria Hoggan are seventh graders at Olympus Junior High School.  The girls call themselves the Green Queens.

This year, the girls participated in the Lexus Environmental Challenge, a contest giving students an opportunity to help their communities.  Their project is to encourage people to have more energy-efficient homes.  They are trying to motivate people to perform an “energy audit” of their homes, evaluating their doors, windows, lights, cooling, and heating.

Green Queens LogoThe Green Queens competed and are now one of 48 teams out of 525 teams to succeed in the first round.  Now the Green Queens are competing in the final World Challenge.  There will be 16 winning teams, and they hope to be one of them.  If they win, the prize will be $50,000!  Olympus Junior High School would receive $10,000, Ms. JoAnne Brown, their outstanding teacher, would receive $5,000 for her classroom, and $35,000 would be divided among the Green Queens for scholarships.

Can you help the Green Queens win the prize?  Visit their blog and make a commitment to do an energy audit of your home.  There are seven days remaining to make your pledge.  March 26 is the last day!  The girls need your help right now!

The Green Queens and President Obama share the same goals for energy efficiency.  Vice President Joe Biden announced last week that Utah will receive, as part of the Obama stimulus package, $37 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program and $35 million for the State Energy Program.  The funding will support weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks, and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment, which will pay for itself many times over.

The Weatherization Assistance Program will allow an average investment of up to $6,500 per home in energy efficiency upgrades and will be available for families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level—or about $44,000 a year for a family of four.

The State Energy Program funding will be available for rebates to consumers for home energy audits or other energy-saving improvements, development of renewable energy projects for clean electricity generation and alternative fuels, promotion of Energy Star products, efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings, and other innovative state efforts to help families save money on their energy bills.

I also wanted to share my experience with an energy audit I had performed about a year ago.  A representative from Questar came in and spent about and hour looking over my appliances, water heater, insulation and general lay out.  He then suggested some improvements and informed me how Questar and Rocky Mountain Power were participating in the energy audit and reimbursement program together.  To name a few, my audit report recommended additional insulation around electrical outlets, insulation in attic and windows to be replaced. I took the audit’s advice and secured additional insulation and replaced some windows.  I submitted my receipts and received a modest refund for the window replacements.  The attic insulation however was basically covered by the reimbursement program.

I was glad to learn about what I could do to reduce my energy footprint through the energy audit process and have appreciated the per month savings I have received from my audit improvements.  I would highly recommend taking part in this energy audit process and to see how you can make a difference.

Congratulations to the Green Queens for their outstanding efforts.

Remarkable Kids

Today Utah’s senators enjoyed an outstanding performance from Kindred Spirits, introduced to the body by Senator Patricia Jones.  Kindred Spirits is a nonprofit organization partially funded by the Utah Arts Council, Salt Lake City Arts, and Zoo Arts & Parks.  Several of the kids have also benefited from services of the Utah State Health Department.  Alice Pero is the director (and a talented artist, by the way), and she was accompanying her son Julius Steubing and her sister Renee Perreault.

Sal Jansaan with Salt Lake Community Action Program has been teaching this group about Polynesian art, and they performed two Polynesian dances today at the Senate.  Members of today’s group were:

Adam Persels and Araya Persels with their mother Tina
Celina Woolsiffer with her mother Natalie Jensen
Annabelle Hollberg with her mother Susan Hollberg

Also assisting was Sal’s husband, Evan Jansaan, and Gina Pola-Money from Utah’s Family to Family Health Information Center.

Kindred Spirits Performing Their Dance

 

Kindred Spirits