Thursday, July 20, 2006

From the Utah Amicus - "Sacrament Meeting"

I just read a great post by Rob Miller, Vice-Chairman of the Utah Democrats, candidate for Davis County Commissioner, and faithful member of the LDS Church.

You can read it in its entirety, here: The Utah Amicus: Sacrament Meeting

I wrote to Rob and told him I have some repenting to do.

My response:

Rob -Thank you so much for this post. I couldn't agree with you more, and feel the same outrage that you do when I hear these things from the LDS pulpit.

For years, I have been a complete wimp when it came to "coming out" as an LDS Democrat. Just call me Wimp-essa-von-wimpenstien. Even though I've always been active in the Democratic party, I have always been *quiet* about it. I'd tell my friends at the newspaper to not quote me, to not put my picture there, and to please not put anything about ME and politics on the home page. As a result, I could quietly vote as I wanted to, I could support Democrats financially and emotionally, and I could go along with my daily life, being the Stake Music Chairman and "just like the rest of the Mormons" but keep my political thoughts to myself.

Then this strange thing happened. I decided to run (with your prodding and good council) for the Utah Senate. At first, I was content to be a "name on the ballot." That evolved to running a good and aggressive race, but no way no how would I tell people that I'm a democrat, no donkeys on my signs, I'll just leave people guessing as to what political party I belong to. After all, I'm "just like them" and they'll choose me! After reading your post today, I have some repenting to do. Of course I am a proud Utah Democrat, and I want the world to know it.

No LDS Democrat should have to sit through church and endure talks like that. I commend you for going to your stake high councilman and telling him what's what! The next time that happens in my stake, I'm going to stand up for myself.

Finally, I say this. As people have rallied around to support me in my race for senate, several have stated that they cannot *publically* support me because *I am a Democrat.* This line of thinking only has happened because those of us who are LDS Democrats have been too wimpy!

I'm ready for change. I'm ready to get out there and challenge the thinking a little bit.

Thank you so much for your good example and for making me get off my duff and do some good in the world. I appreciate you and all that you do.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Utah is Great because Utah's Public Employees are Great!

I was invited to speak at the UPEA Color Country BBQ tonight. All of the Democrats were there and also, my opponent was there. Here is the text of my speech and a photo.


Thank you so much for inviting me to be here with you tonight. I think that the UPEA is a great organization. I especially love the UPEA because due to my husband’s employment, we get great prices on tickets to Disneyland every year!

OK, joking aside… Not only does the UPEA provide a great Disneyland Benefit, and many other benefits to the employees of Utah, but they act as your voice in important matters, such as your interests within the Utah Legislature. They fight hard for you and what matters most to you and your families. I am honored to be associated with the UPEA, and am glad for the many things it does for Utah’s public employees.

I was born in Ogden Utah in the summer of 1967. Shortly after I was born, my dad took a job with Xerox Corporation, and moved his little family to San Jose, California where I was raised. I would look forward to every summer vacation when my family would return to Northern Utah where we would spend time with grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts, uncles and cousins. My fondest memories include riding with my grandpa Bingham on his tractor as he worked on his farm. I remember the smell of alfalfa and the sound of the sprinklers tick tick ticking as I slept in my grandmother’s guest room with the windows open. Mostly, though, I remember a strong sense of family and I remember my grandparents teaching me about the generations that came before me. My grandparents were both “public employees:” My grandmother worked for the Weber County School District as the lunch room coordinator, planning meals for Weber County children for well over 20 years. My grandfather was a federal employee, employed by the IRS. And so, I come from a good and proud heritage of public service.

I also come from a long line of good pioneer stock. I learned at an early age about my ancestors who built this great state on the important values of hard work, dedication to a common goal, and of service to one another. My two boys are building their own memories as they spend time with their grandparents at their summer home in Kane County. I have good parents who are teaching my two boys the value of hard work, the importance of service, and about their pioneer legacy.

I always wanted to live in Utah. I attended Ricks College in Idaho and finally Utah State University, where I met and married Mark Hollingshead. We then returned to California where he received his masters degree. After he completed graduate school and internships, we returned here, and shortly after that, he became a Utah Public Employee. He is employed by the Division of Child and Family Services, and works as the Child Protective Services Supervisor.

Today, I am seeking to represent you as your Senator in Utah Senate District 28. I am seeking this position because of good people like you: Hard working Utah Employees who are making a difference in the lives of many people in our great state.

Utah likes to talk a lot about “Family Values” – – Utah’s strong commitment to family and children is a major reason that we returned to Utah and why we live in Cedar City, because it is a great place to raise a family. And so, as a state that values families, isn’t it about time that State employees receive DECENT pay increases? Unfortunately, I would know something about this, because I am married to a state employee. I happen to have a special interest in this subject, but I also believe that fair wages should be applicable to everyone, both in the state and the private sectors and that government wages should be competitive with the current market wages.

We always hear the myth that Utah Public Employees don't mind being paid less because they enjoy what they do so much. I say it is time to change this thinking. Utah public employees love what they do and we need to pay them what they are worth!

I also believe that Utah must continue to keep its promises to its state employees. “Good benefits” are not enough if we continue to change our mind about what we want to give them. Legislation such as HB 213 should have never been introduced without the input or support of Utah’s Public Employees. It was not a good thing to introduce and pass this bill without input and planning from Utah’s public employees. In the future, Utah’s public employees must ALWAYS be brought into the decision making process. As a result of HB213, hundreds of your very best have taken early retirement – and their many combined years of experience went right along with them. This was an unforeseen loss. It will take years to gain that kind of experience and expertise. We must keep the promises we make to our public employees

However, in spite of things like HB213, Utah is great, because Utah’s Public Employees are great. Utah works because of people like you who give time and energy every day to your respective jobs. I celebrate your service and your commitment to this great state! I believe in YOU and your FAMILIES. As your Senator, I will work hard to represent the values and issues that are most important to you. I do not subscribe to "Petty Partisan Politics" nor do I believe that decisions affecting Southern Utah and our rural communities should be dictated by Wasatch Front politicians. As your Senator, I will listen to your ideas and fight hard to make sure that your voice is heard. I am inspired by what you do, I am energized by what you have to say, and am looking forward to what we can do together for Utah.

My name is Emily Bingham Hollingshead, I am the Voice of Your Values and I am running for Utah State Senate. Thank you so much for your time.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America!

Emily for Utah Senate!

Today we are celebrating the 4th of July, and I had my "coming out" party - walked in the parade, waved to many supporters and friends, and we passed out 1000 flags that said "Vote for Emily." Here are some photos of my parade entourage - special thanks to my friends who were able to join me, and to my family for walking along side us and waving to the crowd. A very special thanks to Jamie Cyphers for driving his beautiful bass boat and hauling some very cute kids (including my own.) Also thank you to JR Davenport for driving his pretty white Escalade and leading the way.

Family and Friends, half of them are "Republicans for Emily"

My sister, Angela Bingham, with my two favorite sons... Chas (left) and Sam.

The Boat

Jamie's Truck

The Larry Daniel for Utah District 72 Crowd
Larry and Kristen's cute daughters - Shelby and ChyAnn
You can see JR Davenport's "Emily" Escalade in the background

Larry Daniel for House District 72

Sunday, July 02, 2006

We all are looking for leaders who will follow through with their promises.

Ok, so tonight I had a conversation with one of my "Uber-Volunteers" - this woman is amazing and is doing an incredible job while putting my "Emily for Utah Senate" 4th of July parade entry together. I won't fill you in on the details, because it is going to be an amazing thing. That post will come later.

So this wonderful woman has been rallying the support of all kinds of people - many of them are friends and acquaintances of mine through my web site design business. Others know me from church. Others don't know me at all but are willing to step out and support me anyway. She is putting an amazing group of people together, which I love and appreciate, and it will make all the difference in the world.

However, a few of the people she has contacted have responded very strangely to her request to help me. It is always "Well, I am a REPUBLICAN!" and when she presses further and asks if they would consider helping me anyway, she is met with difficult resistance. I am finding this hard to take. Especially when the "resistor" is someone who I know, someone I have worked with, or have even done church work with. Are they really THAT worried about supporting a democrat? What do they think will happen to them if they step out and show support? It is not like they don't know me, and have to "get to know me" and what I stand for. And the big question, the one that is pressing on my mind and giving me a headache is ... what do they think I will do in the Utah Senate that they will not agree with?

Anyone who knows me will recognize right off the bat that I take these things far too personally. I need to grow thicker skin, this is certain. But of all the people in this big vast Senate district, I suppose I expect more out of the people who know me, who have had conversations with me, who have been there when I've taught church lessons or conducted my ward and stake choirs, who have taught my children in primary and Sunday school, who have worked with me on church committees, who have hired me for website projects, who have always felt good about the things that I've done for them. When I hear the "humming and hawing" because I am a Democrat, it does more than make my head hurt... it makes my pride hurt, and gives me reason to stop and wonder what on earth I am doing this for.

But here is the thing. Many weeks ago I came to grips with the fact that if elected to the Utah Senate, I will be representing *all* of the people in this District. Registered Democrats only take up a very small part of this population. The other 90 percent are registered republicans and unafilliated voters. As a senator, I would represent *all* of them. Anybody who thinks I would go to the Utah Senate to only promote what the democrats want neither know me or understand what I really am all about.

I suppose I am writing this entry to ask people to investigate just a little bit deeper. I encourage them to email me or call me if they have any question whatsoever about how I would represent them in the Utah Senate. I ask those who have dug their heels in as "staunch republicans" to try to step back a little bit and ask them to try to feel better about the possibility of supporting me.

I do not believe this is a losing battle. I know that I have the ability to do this job. I don't think it matters what political party a person comes from, or what their background is. The truth of it is that we are all are looking for leaders who will follow through with their promises and who will make good, common-sense decisions for Utah. Republican or Democrat does not matter, because a good idea is a good idea. I pledge to *always* support the good ideas.

I am for ALL Utah families, not just the democratic families or the republican families. I believe in *all* of Utah's citizens, not just those who agree with me 100% on every issue. I plan to talk to thousands of people in the coming months, and to help them understand why voting for Emily for Utah Senate would be a good thing. I will promise them that voting for a Democrat, and even publically supporting a Democrat will not hurt one bit. I have been voting for both Democrats and Republicans for years - and I have even lived to tell about it. ;-)

After all, this is about PEOPLE, not POLITICS. Representing the people of District 28 will require that I understand what the people want, not what some political party or politician tells me that I should do. I promise to live by this creed and to always do the right thing.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Celebrate the 222

As we prepare for the July 4 celebrations this week, I have been pondering the 222 and their safe return back to Southern Utah. I am sure that many families are now relieved that their loved ones are home, safe and sound.

A great editorial appeared in the Spectrum this past week. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I am reposting it here, because it sums up exactly how I feel. I have always said that it does not matter how you feel about the Iraq War - these men and women who are serving our country deserve our highest level of respect. There is nothing more difficult than doing what they have done, and there is nothing more trying on a family to have a mother or father, son or daughter, husband or wife, away from an extended period of time, especially when they are in such a dangerous situation. And so, without further adieu, here is the article in its entirety. And yes, the Mark Hollingshead mentioned herein is the same Mark Hollingshead who is married to yours truly.

Welcome home, 222. We are *all* proud of you.

Celebrate Troops Success
From the Spectrum, June 26, 2006

Nearly 2,500 United States soldiers have lost their lives and tens of thousands have been seriously injured since the Iraq war began in March 2003. It is chilling to contemplate what these soldiers and their families have sacrificed, but it is our charge now to celebrate their service and honor their contributions.

Though America has divided its allegiance to the Bush administration and the rightness of the mission - with nearly 60 percent saying the United States made a mistake in going to war in an Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted, June 9 - Southern Utah's loyalty to the troops has been steadfast.

Even those opposed to the Iraq war knew not to place their anger and blame at the feet of the soldiers sent to fight, but toward the bureaucrats who sent them. Antiwar protesters donated Kevlar body armor to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan; and, closer to home, the welcoming home ceremonies for the Utah National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 222nd Field Artillery planned in Cedar City and St. George have been made possible by grassroots, public and private partnerships - regardless of political party affiliation.

In fact, forethought of what would await the Triple Deuce, mentally and emotionally, was also heavily considered with the unanimous passage of House Bill 407, Counseling for Families of Veterans. The mandate was spearheaded by two Iron County Democrats - Mark Hollingshead and Larry Daniel - despite their national party's vehement opposition to the war. It was also sponsored by a Democrat, Rep. Tim Cosgrove of Murray, and supported by the Guard, the State Department of Veterans Affairs and other veterans groups.

This bipartisan support that occurred late in the state legislature's general session is also the unfailing support extended to all Armed Forces troops, not just the Triple Deuce. Now is our time to stand up and be counted and commemorate the military duties that have been fulfilled, and those still yet to be fulfilled.

It is going to take more than pasting decals on car bumpers or yellow ribbons that read "Support Our Troops." All returning soldiers are going to need validation. Accounts have been set up to assure the ceremonies do just that; but in the meantime, these soldiers deserve some private, uninterrupted time with their families to reorient themselves from a battle abroad that has created 550,000 Iraq war veterans in the last four years.

Here in Southern Utah, as in other parts of America, our devotion to the troops transcends politics, religion and personal opinion about the war. We can rejoice in what these brave defenders of freedom have accomplished. It's their glory that matters, not the adversarial climate surrounding the war and the political panderings so prevalent during an election year.
So, attend the ceremonies, contribute to the bank accounts, wave the U.S. flag and express your gratitude to every soldier you meet.

Originally published June 26, 2006