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.

Emily



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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.

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