As Democratic members of the Utah Legislature, we understand that decisions and actions taken by this body have a tremendous impact on every resident of our state. We also understand that elected officials have the responsibility to set the example for respectful political dialogue. In the past few weeks, certain events have caused us to reflect on the need for a greater commitment to the principles of respect and diversity.
Utah’s residents are as diverse as our landscape; we come with a variety of experiences, opinions and backgrounds. We embrace this diversity as a source of strength in our community and not as a reason for division. We also recognize that thoughtful and caring people have differing views on how to address our state’s complex problems. Unfortunately, when these views conflict, misunderstandings, disrespect, and intolerance can result, creating a divide within our communities. We know this divide exists. We see it through debate on the hill, letters to the editor, and comments from constituents. This angry discourse cripples our progress by entrenching us deeper in our differences, diverting our attention from real solutions. Now is the time to step back from our contentious rhetoric and take a look at the values we have in common. It is incumbent on each of us to begin building bridges of respect and understanding through honest and calm discussion.
As Utah Democrats, we advocate for the use of civility in our dialogue-as legislators, as advocates, as residents. Civility instructs us to recognize where we agree and compels us to be more thoughtful when we disagree. Civility requires that we wisely articulate our views to avoid hurting one another. It requires that we take responsibility and hold ourselves and each other accountable when we do hurt others, intentionally or not. It also asks that we forgive others who may have been hurtful toward us.
We respect the diversity, not only of our elected legislators in the Utah House of Representatives, but also the diversity of the people whom we represent. We uphold the Utah Constitution which states that power is vested in the people and the elected members of the legislature. We call upon each of us-elected officials and the public--to foster greater understanding through respectful discussion. Please join us as we bring our diverse voices together in building a better Utah.
Minority Leader Brad King
Minority Whip David Litvack
Assistant Minority Whip Carol Spackman Moss
Caucus Manager Phil Riesen
House Minority Caucus Members