Politics:

  • Poly, meaning many;
  • Ticks, blood sucking bugs.

Chapter 1: The Background

I’ve always hated politics.

In high school, one of my teachers offered an extra-credit assignment to write a letter to our Congressional Representative about an issue we’d been discussing, then report back with their response (if any). This was back in the days before email and web-forms were the primary forms of communication with elected officials.

I was one of the only students who completed this assignment, and the only one who reported back with a response.

I learned a few things about politicians that day:

  • kids don’t really matter to elected officials, because they’re not voters
  • form-letters and canned responses are the norm, because listening to constituents is too hard – it gets in the ways of restricting liberties

I took my concerns to my dad. His parents lived through the Great Depression. He was a child in the 1940’s. He was witness to “government meddling”. He’d given up on the system years before, refusing to even vote.

I was young and naive. I thought I could change the world.

My mother was an early elementary school teacher and drank the Kool-Aide of the teacher’s unions. They were less a union, and more a political action and special interest group, lobbying for laws that would take away the rights, responsibilities, and role of parents.

I don’t hold these stances against my parents. Their conclusions were made based on a lifetime of their experiences.

I still felt that I needed to fight for the Divinely inspired vision the founders of our nation had fought for.  I couldn’t give up on that. I had to be the torch-bearer for my generation.

Chapter 2: The Beginning

I never missed voting in an election, not once – general or primary. But  I didn’t know about Utah’s Caucus and Convention system. They don’t teach that in school. My parents didn’t teach me about it.

Instead, I told my new wife that I thought we needed to attend this “neighborhood caucus” thing – not even knowing what it was. The first round we just went to see what it was all about: neighbors, meeting in a small room, learning what it meant to be a Republican, then electing people from our neighborhood to represent us in political matters so we could go about our lives.

A lightbulb went off in my head. These elected neighborhood representatives (“Delegates”) would be that voice – a megaphone – between the individuals and those elected to protect our liberties. Instead of listening to tens of thousands of voices all screaming about different topics, elected officials could focus their attention on a few hundred (or a few thousand for Federal positions) Delegates. Perfect!

But the system, as inspired as I felt it was, wasn’t being used to its potential. People didn’t know about it. Those elected to fill the positions of Delegate and Precinct Officers were going through the motions, not fulfilling the responsibilities they were elected to. (I’m not innocent in that respect either.)

Two years later, I attended my neighborhood caucus again. This time I ran. I was elected as an alternate State Delegate and as the Vice Chair of the Precinct. Due to personal events in the life of our elected Precinct Chair (who was also an elected State Delegate), I was called on to fill-in a State Delegate, attend the State Nominating Convention, and run the Neighborhood Caucus the next time around.

At that State Nominating Convention, something amazing happened: an incumbent U.S. Senator, Bob Bennett, yelled at, belittled, and scolded the elected Delegates. He readily admitted to casing what he called “unpopular” and “Toxic Votes” (the bailouts, the ill-named Patriot Act, the indefinite detention provisions in the NNAA, TARP, and more). He said we didn’t know anything, and that if he had to cast those votes again, he would – despite knowing they didn’t have popular support, and knowing the elected delegates were opposed to them.

When the dust settled, he came in third-place – not enough to put him on the Primary Ballot. He’d just been fired. He knew it, and the “swamp” knew it, too. They couldn’t allow that to happen again – it meant that the People had the power – not the Aristocracy, the Media, and the Establishment. How dare we?!

At that Caucus, I was elected as the Precinct Chair, County Delegate, and State Delegate. I had learned what a Delegate was supposed to be. I wrote more letters, made more phone calls, and met with more elected officials over those several months than I had in all previous years of my life – combined. I even created, managed, and maintained a website for my little Precinct where I shared my letters to (and responses from) elected officials, posted their votes on key issues, and called my neighbors and fellow Delegates to action to make sure our voices were heard.

Chapter 3: The Middle

A year later, as Precinct Chair, I attended the County Organizing Convention. At these conventions, we hear from and elect individuals to carry out the purposes of the County Party. The next level of leadership below Precinct Chair was  “Leg Chair” (Legislative District Chair), the gentleman holding that position was running unopposed. I’d never met the man, I didn’t know who he was or what he stood for, and didn’t feel that it was right to vote for him without the information. I asked if he could take a few moments to introduce himself to us. He said that without an opponent, it wouldn’t be fair to give a speech. I didn’t follow his logic, but I decided to nominate myself to run against him – forcing a pair of 3-minute speeches, one from him, and one for me.

He chuckled and offered me the floor. My speech was simple: “Hi, I’m Joe Levi from SY08. I really don’t want to be Leg. Chair, I just think before casting our votes, we should know who we’re voting for – and no one should ever run unopposed. People deserve a choice.” That was it. He took the mic and gave his speech, answering the questions I’d raised earlier. The election was held. He won – but I got a quarter of the votes. I’d hit on two points that resonated with people: they want a choice, and they want to who they’re voting for.

A few short months later I got a call from the Leg Vice Chair: the Leg Chair I’d run against had resigned due to scheduling conflicts. The Leg Vice-Chair became the Leg Chair and offered me as an interim appointment to fill the position of Leg Vice-Chair until the next election. I accepted the offer and appeared before the County Executive Committee. My story was shared with them and a vote was held to confirm (or deny) my interim appointment. It passed unanimously. My Precinct Vice-Chair stepped up to be Precinct Chair and I began attending monthly meetings of the County Executive Committee.

Chapter 4: The Storm

It was during that time when I learned about a group of people who called them “Count My Vote” (CMV) and were trying to pass an Initiative via the signature petition route to change the law to disallow political parties from picking their own candidates. Who was “Count My Vote”? Follow the money.

  • The Ruling Class: the political elites, the “Establishment”, and now referred to as “The Swamp”
  • The Aristocracy: the very rich who can “buy votes”
  • The Mainstream Media: by eliminating (or rendering powerless) the elected Delegates, campaigns will shift from meeting neighborhood representatives to buying ads on TV, Radio, Newspaper, and printed mailers – all of whom will make significantly more money from selling their services to candidates, who will have to get money from major donors to fund their campaigns (thereby purchasing influence).

This group (through their followers) started attacking people who were defending the Caucus and Convention system. One such victim was Phill Wright, then-Chair of the Davis County Republican Party (DCRP). I saw the DCRP Secretary (Kathleen Anderson) attacking Phill Wright as these meetings.

I had been asked to serve on the Ethics Committee and was elected to its Chair. Our committee heard a complaint brought by Secretary Anderson against Chairman Wright. An Ethics Committee is chartered with the solemn responsibility of hearing allegations, weighing evidence, and recommending the appropriate remedy – privately, discreetly. This is the way private organizations are meant to operate and to self-regulate. The process protects the innocent while allowing for fair remedies to be recommended for the guilty. Secretary Anderson made her complaint public, deciding to try her complaint in the court of public opinion. After a thorough investigation, her complaint was dismissed as “unfounded”.

Soon the Vice Chair (Lisa Bingham) joined in – entering her attack as a monolog as her spoken resignation letter.

I leaned over to my Leg Chair and whispered: “Who are we going to run for Vice Chair?” I already had my answer, I was hoping she would give another name that I could get behind. She said “you” – and my life changed.

I didn’t know who Phill Wright was. He seemed like a decent man, but he was taking flack and being attacked, and being too reserved – not defending himself against their volleys. I didn’t want the job, but I knew it wasn’t fair for him to be taking all the arrows. The Party needed its leader. I committed myself to take those arrows so he could do the job he was elected to do. I didn’t make that public knowledge.

The election was set and I ran in a field of 7 candidates. After multiple rounds, I won.

Immediately after winning the election, I resigned from the Ethics Committee, feeling that there needed to be a separation between Party Officers and what I considered to be the committee with oversight of “Internal Affairs”.

That’s when “they” started courting me…

(to be continued…)

I got involved in the Utah Republican Party because I didn’t like what I saw going on in Washington, D.C, and even in our own State.

I felt like, despite my vote being counted at the ballot box, my voice wasn’t being heard after the votes had been counted.

I got involved in my local Precinct and began learning how the system worked – it was a steep learning curve. I felt overwhelmed, but I stayed the course and I learned the process.

I’m writing you to share what I’ve learned, and recap what’s going on so you’ve got more information.

You probably already know a lot of this, but just to make sure we’re on the same page, here’s a little background…

Why do we have Parties in the first place?

The Utah Republican Party (UTGOP) is made up of individuals like you and I and our neighbors who voluntarily associate under a set of fundamental values. In political-lingo, those values are called “Planks”, and together they make up our “Platform”. Each political party has their own Platform made up of Planks which are descriptive of the core values members of those Parties wish to protect and defend.

That’s the whole reason for Political Parties in the first place: to protect and defend those core values.

To ensure that’s being done (and that our elected officials are casting votes which protect and defend those values), people voluntarily associate into Parties (which is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and is why the Parties challenged SB54).

Just like in our Republic, where we elect Representatives and Senators to represent us at both the State and Federal levels, in the UTGOP we elect representatives who will help nominate candidates to the ballots and organize the Party and its operations.

The Constitution of the UTGOP clearly states the State Central Committee (SCC) is the “Governing Body” of the Party and sets its policies and procedures – they are the “Legislative Branch”, if you will. The Party Officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer) are the “Executive Branch” – they “execute” the direction and policies set by the SCC.

It is literally the duty of the Party Officers to execute the policy set by the SCC – not to determine what the direction and policies are. Unlike a former President of the United States, the UTGOP doesn’t tolerate circumventing the legislative body with a phone and a pen.

I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone – and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions… — Barack Obama

Are you okay with our Party being run this way?!

Meetings of the SCC

The SCC should meet quarterly, but can (and should) meet more often if circumstances dictate. According to the Party’s governing documents, these “Special Meetings” can be called either by the Party Chair or by 25% of the voting members of the SCC – the method for doing so is even described.

That’s what happened recently: more than 25% of the SCC called for a Special Meeting. They satisfied all the requirements described in the Party’s rules, and on Saturday, 16 December, 2017, the SCC met.

About 70 members of the SCC were credentialed, but the Party Chair and Vice-Chair weren’t present to conduct the meeting. A quorum (the minimum amount necessary to conduct binding business) is around 40 – this meeting had almost double that.

According to our rules, the Party Chair conducts meetings of the SCC, but just in case he cannot (if he gets caught in traffic, is out of the state on business, etc.), our Party rules say the Vice-Chair takes over. Without the Vice-Chair present, our Party’s rules are “silent” on what to do.

Thankfully, Utah Republicans were wise enough to include a “catch-all” in our Governing Documents: when our Party rules don’t cover something, we fall-back to Robert’s Rules of Order. Under Robert’s Rules, if the Chair and Vice-Chair are absent, the body (in this case the SCC) elect a person to conduct the meeting. (Interestingly, this elected person is immediately dismissed as soon as the Party Chair or Vice-Chair arrive, at which point they conduct the remainder of the meeting.)

“Contentious” Meetings?

Historically, meetings of the SCC could be described as “contentious” – sometimes taking an hour or more just to decide the agenda!

Some people like to look at that as a negative thing, and claim it’s indicative of the SCC being “dysfunctional”. I respectfully disagree.

The way I see it, your elected SCC members are passionate about making sure your voice is heard and your points of view are represented in those meetings. Our Party rules (and Robert’s Rules, for that matter) are there to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to hair the voice heard.

December’s Special SCC Meeting

Last week’s Special SCC Meeting had more than twice the minimum amount of SCC members needed, and in the absence of the Party Chair and Vice-Chair, the body of the SCC elected a registered parliamentarian to conduct the meeting.

I’ve been to quite a few SCC meetings (both as a member, and as an observer – you don’t have to be a member to go and watch). This meeting was the most smooth and professional SCC Meeting I’ve seen – ever.

Now you know.

Heads UP

It looks like there is a coup happening RIGHT NOW in the Utah Republican Party!!

  1. Why doesn’t Chairman Anderson want the SCC to meet and resolve the Party’s legal costs tomorrow?
  2. Why does he want to put off the meeting until the end of January?

Is this why?

Background

Because he plans on declaring bankruptcy and “restructure and reorganize the Party” next month!

No, that’s not a conspiracy theory, those are HIS OWN WORDS.

“If we don’t return to the black by January, I will declare bankruptcy. I am committed to that. We will go into court and we will declare bankruptcy. At that point, we will restructure and reorganize the Party.” – UTGOP Chairman Anderson, 01 November 2017

What does “restructuring and reorganizing the party” mean?

The rich aristocrats and political elitists behind CMV have already registered the name “Republican Party of Utah” with the State. They likely have a whole new Platform, Party Constitution, and Party Bylaws written and ready to go.

Chairman Anderson has referred to the “Utah Republican Party” as the “Republican Party of Utah” on numerous occasions – which seemed like an innocent oversight until put into context.

Before being he was a candidate for Chair of the Davis County Republican Party, Rob Anderson and his wife signed the CMV petition.

Much of the language from the CMV petition was put into a bill called SB54. The Party challenged SB54, and one part of it was struck down as unconstitutional. The Party appealed the opinion to challenge the Constitutionality of the remainder of SB54.

After being elected as Chair of the Davis County Republican Party, Rob Anderson and his wife (while both were serving on the SCC) consistently voted to end the legal challenge, and against continuing the legal challenge.

When running for Chair of the Utah Republican Party, Rob Anderson stated: “I am not the ‘Count My Vote’ Candidate”.

After being elected as Chair of the Utah Republican Party, acting against the policy set by the SCC, while waiting for the 10th Circuit Court to return their opinion on the Party’s challenge to SB54, Rob Anderson announced he had instructed the Party’s attorney to end the lawsuit.

The SCC re-asserted their role as the Governing Body of the Party, and instructed Chairman Anderson and the Party’s attorney to continue the legal challenge.

The SCC formed a Special Committee with complete oversight of the legal challenge, as well as its funding to ensure Chairman Anderson couldn’t go against the established policy and attempt to end the legal challenge again.

This committee negotiated the current legal bill, secured funding to cover it, and remove the “legal debt” from the Party. A Special Meeting was called to present this to the SCC and obtain the signature of Chairman Anderson on the agreement.

Chairman Anderson refused to sign the agreement, and instead had it rewritten to put him in charge of it.

Chairman Anderson declared the Special Meeting “invalid”, and the Party has sent out several emails telling SCC members not to attend, told SCC and Party Staff has been calling SCC members, telling them not to attend the Special Meeting.

Why? It looks as if Chairman Anderson is “running out the clock”. In his own words, “If we don’t return to the black by January, I will declare bankruptcy. … At that point, we will restructure and reorganize the Party.”

What better way to keep the Party from paying its bills than refusing to sign the agreement to do so, and attempting to prevent the SCC from meeting before his planned coup of the Utah Republican Party?

“The next State Central Committee (Meeting) will be held on Saturday, January 27 as previously scheduled.” – Rob Anderson, Chairman

AFTER he’s planning to “go into court and … declare bankruptcy”. “At that point, we will restructure and reorganize the Party.”

Last night, Count My Vote, SB54, and the Buckshot Caucus won – and the Republican process lost.

A “former” Democrat didn’t care about your elected neighborhood representative – your Delegate – and instead of going through the Convention process, paid his way onto the Primary Ballot. Well, “he” didn’t pay, out-of-state special interest groups paid to get him on the ballot.

Count My Vote and SB54

During the Count My Vote petition and SB54 time frame, many people came forward reporting that Democrats in Utah had been telling their members to register as “Unaffiliated” rather than as “Democrat” – and that by so doing they could vote in Republican Primaries. Thankfully, that part of SB54 (allowing non-Republicans to vote in Republican Primaries) was stricken down as illegal by the courts. The “Unaffiliated” strategy could have been to:

  1. Get the most liberal Republican elected, and/or
  2. Get a Democrat to run as a Republican so the Democrats could have a chance in the traditionally Red Utah.

Utah’s Caucus & Convention System

There was a problem with the latter point of the “Unaffiliated” strategy: Utah has had a Caucus and Convention System that made this type of coup very difficult to pull off. In this system, we elected representatives for our neighborhoods (Delegates) who would then research those wishing to win the Republican Endorsement – this effectively weeded out those who were “masquerading” as Republicans in an attempt to get elected.

If there was a clear sentiment of who the best representative of Republican values was, that person was promoted to the General Ballot. If the sentiment was split, all but the two highest vote getter were eliminated, and those would be promoted to a Republican Primary Ballot.

The Republican Primary Ballot was an opportunity for the Republicans in those neighborhoods to select which of the two remaining candidates would make it on to the General Ballot.

SB54 Mutes Your Voice

Thanks to SB54, your elected neighborhood representative can no longer do his or her job. Today, candidates can (and have) bought their way onto the ballot – this is called the “Signature Path”.

The Signature Path lets candidates go around gathering signatures (often times fraudulently). The candidates themselves don’t do all the work – instead they pay people to do it, and often they pay per each signature gathered. They literally buy their way onto the ballot instead of getting the approval of your elected neighborhood representative.

If the “pay to get on the ballot” “Signature Path” wasn’t bad enough, since candidates can (and have) bypassed the Convention completely, after they’ve been elected, they no longer have any reason to listen to your elected neighborhood representative. SB54 and “Signature Path” candidates have successfully muted your voice.

Because of SB54, your opinions are only are heard at the ballot box every several years instead of throughout their elected term of office through your elected neighborhood representative.

“Unaffiliated” Problems

To add insult to injury, most of Utah uses “Vote By Mail” rather than “Vote In Person”. On the surface, that sounds like a good idea, but it eliminates the personal verification of poll-workers and limits it to people looking at signatures.

In Utah’s CD3 special election this year, Republican ballots were sent out to “Unaffiliated” voters. Yes, County Clerks “messed up” and sent out ballots inline with the (illegal) wording of SB54. They said it was a “mistake”. However, if “Unaffiliated” voters want to cast their Republican Primary ballots, they could register as Republicans and have their votes counted.

That was the argument of Count My Vote: your vote wasn’t being counted. Except that was a lie.

Republicans should pick their own candidate to appear on the Primary Ballot. Democrats should pick their own candidate to appear on the Primary Ballot. Libertarians, Constitution Party, or any other party should pick their own candidate to appear on the Primary Ballot. THAT is where your vote gets counted.

Count My Vote wanted non-Republicans to be able to “help select” the Republican candidate. Why should Democrats, Libertarians, or members of any other party get to select the candidate of another party?! It’s absurd. But that’s what they wanted – because their candidates weren’t getting elected. Read that again. Their candidates weren’t getting enough votes to get elected, so their solution was to rig the way candidates are put on the ballot in an attempt to get them elected.

In this election, “Unaffiliated” voters (those who are by their own choice NOT members of the Republican Party) very likely selected the candidate who will appear on the General Ballot as a Republican. 

A New Kind of Voice: Pay to Play

Thankfully, most candidates aren’t self-funded, they rely on campaign contributions – the majority of which come from PICs and PACs and Special Interest Groups. So, if you want your opinions to be heard now, instead of walking down the street to chat with your elected neighborhood representative, you have to find a PIC, PAC, or Special Interest Group which represents your views, donate a large sum of money to them, and get that Committee or Group to relay your message to your elected official. You have to “pay to play”.

That doesn’t sound like a Republic any more.

Congratulations, Count My Vote, you’ve won this round. Unfortunately, it’s our Republic which lost.

It has been an honor and privilege to travel the state and meet so many passionate and courageous members of the Utah Republican Party.

From the beginning, I felt the Divine hand of Providence urging me to share the message I gave in counties all over the state and today at the Convention.

Our system of government is a Republic, if we can keep it. Our Caucus system is how we keep it. I will continue to fight for our Utah Caucus System which keeps the voices of the people in our Neighborhoods heard even after the votes have been counted.

Thank you to my “running mates” for Vice Chair. You all were the example of how campaigns should run: friendly, cooperative, and non-confrontational. Well done.
Congratulations to Joni L. Hilliard-Crane, our new Vice Chair, and to Secretary Lisa Shepherd and Treasurer Abram Young on their re-elections.

Long live the Republic!

💡 Who Is Joe Levi?

When my wife and I married almost 20 years ago, we moved away from the hustle and bustle of the suburbs into a small farming community, off the beaten path. Over time, our little town group up around us. We moved our family to Cache County, with our only question being why didn’t we do it sooner.

Before we moved, like many of you, we took note of Politicians passing bills, restricting Liberties, and raising taxes – with what we felt was little-to-no input from their constituents. We took action. We started attending our Neighborhood Caucus meetings and were asked to serve in various capacities by our neighbors. I was elected as Precinct Chair, Legislative District Vice Chair, and Chairman of the Ethics Committee. Before we moved away, I was elected as Vice Chair of the County Party. In that position, I administered our website, assisted the County Party Chair, and served on the State Central Committee (SCC).

During my term of office, despite meetings in far-flung locations (Heber, Orem, and beyond) I only missed one meeting – when my father passed away.

Since then, I have been asked to serve as the Webmaster for the Utah GOP, and provide technical support for the Cache County Republican Party’s website. I was also elected by my neighbors to serve as an Alternate County Delegate and attended last year’s County Nominating Convention.

🗳 Why You Should Vote For Joe Levi

I believe in our Caucus and Convention System. – it is a wonderful system where our communities get together and elect “Neighborhood Representatives” – which we call Delegates.

These people are teachers, firefighters, EMTs, police officers, farmers, mechanics, tradesmen, husbands, wives – they’re our neighbors, and we elect them to help research those candidates who best reflect our values – the Planks in our Party Platform. Then they present those candidates to us – the public – for our ratifying vote at the General Election. It’s a fabulous great check-and-balance.

What’s more important, after the General Election has passed and all the votes have been counted, some Politicians forget about our communities – until the next election cycle. That’s when you’ll see them kissing babies, passing “feel good legislation”, and pandering to media.

Thanks to our Caucus System, the voice of our neighborhoods is still heard by these elected and appointed officials LONG after the votes have been counted at the General Election. They know they have to come back before us – the Delegates, the elected Neighborhood Representatives – to explain and justify their votes, otherwise they risk not getting our recommendation.

This system – the one that keeps Politicians accountable after the election – is under attack. Laws have recently been passed to “short-cut” the process – to silence the voice of our communities. Court cases have been – and are sill being – fought to keep the voices of our communities relevant.

We must continue this fight to keep the voice of our neighborhoods and communities – through the duties and responsibilities of the Delegates – relevant. This is something the State Central Committee must do.

If you will elect me – Joe Levi – to the State Central Committee:

  • I will faithfully attend those meetings
  • I will fight to restore the voice of our Neighborhood Representatives which politicians have been taking away in recent years
  • I will ensure that Cache County has a voice that will be heard loud and clear
  • If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet me yet, please reply with any questions you have.

Thank you for your time, and thank you for your consideration!

“On this day, 227 years ago, 39 courageous men signed the Constitution and forever changed the course of history.” — Lee Skabelund, Leg 18 Chair

Not one of my children came home from school today overflowing with excitement asking me to guess what they learned in school today. When I asked, none of them knew that today is Constitution Day. Obviously, many of our schools aren’t doing a good enough job teaching our children about the importance of our founding documents – nor am I.

Thankfully there are resources for parents, grandparents, and educators who want to teach the younger generation about the parts of History that really matter. One such resource is being offered via a series of videos published on YouTube bySoomo Publishing.

In their first satirical video project we see the Founding Fathers and the circumstances that compelled the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, all set to a contemporary song based on Apologize by One Republic, featuring Timbaland: Too Late To Apologize: a Declaration.

There are creative, innovative, and interesting ways to help educate those in our circles of influence. It’s not enough to rely on a teacher or a textbook. It’s up to you.

(Thank you to those members of the Davis County Republican Party that shared this video with us!)