Utah consistently has been ranked as one of the best-managed states in the nation. Much of the credit for this belongs to the hard-working, service-oriented people who live and raise their families here. I also believe these accolades are a direct result of the rigorous candidate-vetting process within the Caucus-Convention System, which Utah has used for more than 100 years.
Many of you are aware of the turmoil going on in the Republican Party. Social media is ablaze, figuratively speaking, as a result of Count My Vote (CMV) and SB54, with personal attacks, name calling and vitriol that have no place in the Republican party. Both SB54 and CMV allow candidates to circumvent the Caucus-Convention system and gain immediate access to the primary ballot. I’m an ardent supporter of the Caucus-Convention system and believe both CMV and SB54 undermine our greatness.
I’ve decided to take a bold step to bring unity back to the Republican Party and to protect our candidates from the ambiguity they have experienced since SB54 was passed in 2014. It’s time for someone to step up and say “Enough!” On March 9, 2018, I formally declared my intent to gather signatures this election cycle, and I’d like my supporters to know why.
On February 24, 2018, the GOP State Central Committee (SCC) approved a rule change to assert its First Amendment rights. I applaud them for this decision. Like the SCC, I stand strong against intrusions upon the freedoms of our citizens, as the Utah GOP platform outlines. During 2018, the rule change only affects congressional candidates in the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts. Under the change, candidates who don’t follow party rules in seeking nomination will lose their membership in the Party until one day after the general election. Initially, the change is only applicable to these two races where no candidates had declared intent to gather signatures. However, the new rule will apply to all candidates in 2020. The small scope of the rule’s original implementation was designed to ensure no candidate would be subject to an unexpected rule change in the middle of his or her campaign.
After much thought, analysis, and prayer, I realize how important it is that someone steps forward in the 1st and 2nd Congressional races and gathers signatures. Doing so will allow candidates in 2020 to know what to expect, and we can finally put an end to the acrimony that is undermining the Republican Party in Utah. I sincerely thank all those who have helped me with my campaign. While I realize this decision puts both my campaign and my membership in the Party in jeopardy, the integrity of our candidate-nomination methodologies is more important than any single candidate.
My campaign will go on. My message will not change. A $20 trillion federal debt is obscene and immoral to pass on to future generations. We need to get on a road to a balanced budget. It does not matter what we do in other areas of government; without a path to a balanced budget, we are vulnerable to our enemies. All areas of spending must be on the table. Reform with deep, meaningful spending cuts in the largest expenditure areas of the budget is the only path to financial stability.
Your continued support at Caucus and Convention will send a powerful message that we must look to the future, allow this to come to a legal conclusion this year and become a united party.
I have never wanted a career in politics. I want to serve. My service starts here.
~ Mary Burkett