What we learned….

Chatting about Trains
Justin Jones, Manager of Government Relations at UTA and Representative Jay Seegmiller, Amtrak conductor, talking trains.

The Utah Senate and House Democrats traveled by UTA (Utah Transit Authority) bus visiting various businesses and organizations in the Salt Lake County area in an effort to understand more fully the issues confronting Utah’s businesses and industries.   This is the first bus tour of 2009, and after the legislative session, the Democrats will continue their visits in other locales in Utah.

The bus tour began with a trip north to Farmington where we boarded the FrontRunner commuter train and returned to Salt Lake Central Station where Trax and FrontRunner converge for passengers transferring to and from one mode of public transportation to another.

Accompanying the senators and representatives were John Inglish, General Manager of UTA, Justin Jones, Manager of Government Relations, and Ralph Jackson, Deputy Chief of Major Program Development.  UTA serves 6 counties, reaches approximately 2 million people, spans 130 miles by 20 miles, employs 2,000 people, and carries 38 million passengers per year.  Along with UTA’s many successful transportation projects already in operation, there are numerous additional light rail and commuter rail projects in the works.

Electronic Fare Collection was introduced at the first of this month by UTA.  Just tap your electronic card to a reader located at any door of a bus or on a train platform.  Tap on. Tap off.  Tap your annual pass or contactless credit/debit card on the reader when you board and tap it again when you get off.

The train ride was S-M-O-O-O-T-H and comfortable.  If you’ve been a FrontRunner passenger, you’ll know what we’re talking about!  How about boarding FrontRunner, riding north, dining at a restaurant close to the station, and then returning home—a great idea for an enjoyable weekend experience.

FrontRunner Arrives at Station
FrontRunner arrives at the Station

Riding FrontRunner
John Inglish, General Manager of UTA, at right

Seating on FrontRunner
Senator McCoy, Bill Barnes, Government Relations Director, Primary Children’s
Medical Center, Senator Romero and Senator Robles

Ralph Jackson, Deputy Chief of Major Program Development, UTA, with
Senator Mayne, Senator Morgan, Representative Poulson and Representative Beck

Next stop on the tour was the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.  Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Chamber (and former state senator and senate president), and his staff gave us an overview of the exciting City Creek Center, a walkable urban community of residences, offices, and retail stores on approximately 20 acres across three blocks in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City.  The project completion date is 2012.

It’s difficult to adequately describe this magnificent project, so check out the details of the City Creek Center at www.downtownrising.com.  Take the virtual tour, and don’t miss the retractable roof, which will shelter the crowd from precipitation.

Lane Beattie at Chamber
Lane Beattie, President and CEO of the Chamber, Speaks to the Legislators

We thank the Chamber for sharing this information.  And we thank the LDS Church for developing and building this splendid project in our capital city.  Every Utahn should be proud!

Then tour guides from the Chamber took us to a number of locations under development in Salt Lake City.   According to our Chamber tour guide, top priorities for the Chamber for moving forward as a thriving metropolis include (1) liquor laws conducive to economic development, (2) development of a super-size hotel (1,000 rooms) near the Salt Palace so the city can compete for convention business, and (3) a cultural district.

Last stop on the tour was a visit to the new Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.  The new CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, Dr. Charles Sorenson, made a presentation to the legislators in the Jon and Karen Huntsman Cancer Center.

Presentation at Medical Center
Dr. Charles Sorenson Addressing the Group

Dr. Charles Sorenson, CEO of Intermountain Healthcare
Dr. Charles Sorenson and Senator Luz Robles

Intermountain Healthcare is committed to three guiding principles:

1.    Implementing clinical Best Practices (which reduce medical costs).
2.    Providing high quality health care at the lowest possible cost.
3.     Providing the best care possible regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.

Intermountain Healthcare’s innovative electronic medical records system provides system-wide integration of patient histories and facilitates its ability to provide high quality health care.  Its records system is respected in Utah and outside of Utah.

Interestingly, Dr. Sorenson recommended that the Legislature not cut Medicaid (due to the loss of the federal $3 match and the resultant cost shift to businesses) and recommended keeping deductibles at reasonable levels (higher deductibles encourage people to neglect preventive care and to postpone needed care until it advances to more serious problems that are more expensive to treat).  For years Democrats have questioned the wisdom in cutting Medicaid.

Exiting Intermountain Medical Center
Senator Karen Mayne and Alan Dayton, Director of Government Relations for Intermountain Healthcare, exiting the Jon and Karen Huntsman Cancer Center

We express our appreciation to our wonderful hosts on the tour, and our thanks, as well, to the Judiciary for lunch and the information they presented to us.

Then it’s back to the Capitol….and they’re still talking trains.

More Talk about Trains

Bus Tour Itinerary


The Utah Senate and House Democrats will spend the day Thursday, January 15, 2009, traveling by UTA (Utah Transit Authority) bus visiting several organizations and businesses in Salt Lake County.  As advocates of Utah’s communities and its citizens, the senators and representatives are interested in understanding more fully the issues facing businesses and industries throughout the state.  As a first step in accomplishing this objective, the senators and representatives will travel to several destinations in Salt Lake County on Thursday,  January 15.  Following the legislative session and during the remainder of this year, they will visit additional businesses and organizations in locales throughout the state.

We invite the media to follow along with us.  Our destinations for Thursday, January 15, are:

8:15 a.m.                         Pickup at Capitol (east side)
8:30 -10:00 a.m.           Utah Transit Authority Briefing and Ride on FrontRunner
10:00 – 11:50 a.m.         Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.           Lunch at Matheson Courthouse, sponsored by the Judiciary
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.           *Visit with LDS Church Officials
3:20 – 4:30 p.m.             Intermountain Healthcare at Intermountain Medical Center
5:00 p.m.                         Drop off at Capitol (east side)

*At the request of the Democratic caucus, this meeting will be closed to the media.



Contact Senator Jones at 801-647-8482 or pjones@utahsenate.org


Janeen Halverson at the Senate Democrat Office 801-538-1406 or jhalverson@utah senate.org

All Aboard!


The Utah Senate and House Democrats will spend the day Thursday, January 15, 2009, traveling by bus (UTA bus, that is) to several businesses and organizations in the Salt Lake County area.  The senators and representatives are interested in understanding more fully the issues facing businesses and industries throughout the state.  After the legislative session ends, they plan to visit other locales in the state.  Check this site tomorrow for a detailed itinerary of their planned visits.  (Press Release to be distributed, als0.)

Of Boycotts and Book Burnings

by Senator Scott McCoy
District Two

Senator Scott McCoyIn the wake of the passage of Prop 8 in California, emotions and tempers have flared in the LGBT community.  I understand the anger, disappointment, and sadness that many in the gay and transgendered community are feeling as a result of having the right to marry stripped away.  I have felt those same emotions and had those same reactions myself.  I understand the desire and the need to express those feelings.  In fact, you have a First Amendment right to do so.

Having said that, I implore my fellow citizens to engage in civil and peaceful expressions and conduct.  There is no room for violence, vandalism, or intimidation in this continuing debate for marriage equality.  Resort to such methods is simply unacceptable.  We are better than that.

Furthermore, I urge people not to boycott Utah.  There are many good and sympathetic people, Mormons and non-Mormons alike, who call Utah home.  Boycotting Utah ultimately hurts those of us who are working for a more fair and just Utah.  Rather than staying away from Utah, come and visit and show our detractors that we are fine and decent people deserving of equal treatment and protection under the law.

Senator Jones is 2008 Athena Award Recipient

Senator Pat JonesSenator Patricia Jones has been named the 2008 Athena and will receive her award November 18, 2008, at the Salt Lake Chamber’s American Express Women & Business Conference. 

The Athena Award, sponsored by Wells Fargo Women’s Financial Services, is a national award presented annually to an active member of the Salt Lake Chamber who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in business, provides valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and assists women in reaching their full leadership potential.

Since its inception in 1982, the Athena Award has been presented to women in 500 communities in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Senator Jones is the president and co-owner of Dan Jones & Associates, Inc., Utah’s well-known and respected market research and public opinion firm.  Senator Jones served three terms in the Utah House of Representatives and now serves in the Utah State Senate.  She is currently the Assistant Senate Minority Whip.

Congratulations to Senator Jones…and thank you to Wells Fargo Women’s Financial Services and the Salt Lake Chamber for recognizing her noteworthy professional accomplishments.

His legacy continues…

Senator Ed Mayne

The Utah Housing Coalition held its 12th annual Utah Housing Matters Conference October 7 and 8.  The Award Luncheon was dedicated to the late Senator Ed Mayne, who passed away about eleven months ago.  The Utah Housing Coalition’s mission is to strengthen Utah communities through education, advocacy, and cooperative partnerships that preserve and promote an increase in housing that is accessible and affordable.The printed program for the event featured these tributes to Senator Ed Mayne:

 “Eddie,” as Mayne was known to all who knew him, was a character.  But also a man of character.  Elected as the then-youngest state president of the AFL-CIO in his early 30s, Eddie was a fixture on Capitol Hill long before he won a Senate seat in 1994 from his much-beloved Salt Lake County west side.  A fighter for the “working man and woman,” Eddie, a big man with a big heart, would drive up to the Capitol in a huge, American/union-made car and walk the halls in a swinging motion, talking to everyone. 
Bob Bernick Jr., Deseret Morning News

Since the death of Senator Ed Mayne on Sunday, praise for his accomplishments and his compassion for the less fortunate has been streaming in from friends and colleagues.  But few have as personal a memory for the Democratic lawmaker and labor leader’s big heart as Jennifer Boone.  She was kidnapped and raped 10 years ago when she was 15.  Her assailant was caught nearly five years later trying to kidnap another child.  She picked him out of a lineup and he was convicted of kidnapping her.  But she felt like a victim a second time when she learned that he would not be charged with raping her because the four-year statute of limitations on rape had expired.  She became an advocate for a longer statute of limitations on rape, talking to legislator and state officials, who ignored her–until she contacted Mayne.  “He really cared,” she said this week.  He introduced a bill to extend the statute of limitations to eight years.  When he brought Boone to the Legislature to testify on behalf of the bill, the legislators were so moved that even the fact it was sponsored by a Democrat didn’t deter it from passing.  “It was too late for my case,” she said.  “But he empowered me.  He gave me the closest thing to justice I could get.”
Paul Rolly, Salt Lake Tribune

“The absence of Ed will be a huge void in my life I’m not sure I’ll ever get over,” says Allan Ayoub of the AFL-CIO of Utah.  Ed Mayne’s office is empty, yet still alive with reminders of a life of meetings with presidents, influential leaders and of special honors, but his passion was always the workers of Utah.  Jeff Worthington of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers says, “He wanted a fair wage for everybody, wanted everyone to have health and welfare.”  Ed Mayne was born and raised in Utah.  He married his love Karen and grew his family here.  He was a hard rock miner for 14 years.  At the age of 31, he was the youngest person ever elected to head a state AFL-CIO.  For 30 years, he rallied laborers and helped strengthen unions in a state not friendly to organized labor.  “People began to accept organized labor in a totally different manner,” says Ayoub.
KUTV 2 News

Congratulations, Susan!

Last Friday, Susan Kuziak, received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award presented to her by the Utah State Democratic Party.  Susan was recognized for exemplifying the high standards and compassionate philosophy of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Susan is an active public employee advocate, public school champion, and community service volunteer.  Since moving to Utah in 1984, Susan has worked diligently on a wide variety of issues.  She has encouraged Utah women to run for elective office.  She was a founding member of the bipartisan “100 Years – 100 Women” project.  You can count on Susan to give honest input, accurate information, and valuable insights.

Congratulation, Susan!  You are certainly deserving of this prestigious award.

Ed Mayne Stadium

The football stadium at Hunter High School, home of the Wolverines, has been renamed the Ed Mayne Stadium in honor of the late Senator Ed Mayne.  Our current Senator Mayne, Karen, and her family attended the ceremony renaming the stadium.

Senator Karen Mayne said, “As I looked into the bleachers and saw friends and family coming together to celebrate this good man, I know he would have been overcome with appreciation and pride.”

Senator Ed Mayne was a loyal Wolverine fan and was instrumental in securing lighting for the stadium a few years ago.

Ed Mayne Stadium


Ed Mayne Stadium Scoreboard

Lifetime Achievement

Earlier this month, the College of Eastern Utah (CEU) celebrated it’s 70th anniversary with two outstanding events, one in Price and one in Salt Lake City.  Senator Mike Dmitrich received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long and distinguished career in public service.  Senator Dmitrich expressed his deep appreciation to CEU for this recognition.

Mike was an outstanding athlete at Carbon High School and Carbon College (predecessor to the College of Eastern Utah), and he has continued to be actively involved in sports.  He has officiated at 20 state basketball tournaments and countless high school basketball and football games.

Mike Dmitrich is a member of the CEU Athletic Hall of Fame, has been awarded an honorary degree by the College, and is recognized in the name of the Bunnell-Dmitrich Athletic Center on the CEU campus.

(from 70th Anniversary Celebration printed program)

Senator Dmitrich and Wife BoDmitrich FamilyDmitrich and Guests

 (Click photos for larger image)