Friday, March 11, 2016

Former Utah Amicus Blogger, Uncle Don Miller has passed away

It is with a heavy heart that I share with my family and friends that my Uncle Don Miller passed away. Don was one of my father's (Michael T. Miller) four older brothers and the closet to my father in age. After my father's death Don and I became very close as he helped me get through that difficult time. In 2006, I asked Don to run for Utah State House District 75 and Don enthusiastically accepted. Don also became a well known and beloved contributor (If you were a Utah Democrat) for The Utah Amicus political blog. I'll post more as I learn more but I wanted to share that Don gave me so much love, wisdom and guidance over the years and that I am grateful for his example, friendship and love. Here's to you, Uncle Don! There will never be another human being like you. Please embrace dad who I am sure was waiting for your arrival with open arms in eternity.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coming Soon...

I heard a new blog was coming.

The Life & Adventures of Husband X.

Oh my!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rob Miller, Inspiring Blogger and Political Face For Utah 'n Democrats by Darlene Kelsch

See the original post by Darlene Kelsch, here!

I got the opportunity to speak with Rob Miller and hear his amazing story 

… I would like to share that with you. 

There are many accomplishments and struggles that come with reaching for what you believe in, but in the end if you stick to it and know where you are headed, you will get there. …

 As Rob Miller learned first hand..

 Rob Miller was given the task of finding the perfect middle name for his son, Samuel had been decided as the first name but he knew he wanted a great middle name, something strong, that stood for something great.

 Stepping out of the elevator, hanging on the wall in front of him was a plaque with the word ‘Amicus’ on it, meaning ‘Friend’ in Latin.

 That was it! He knew that would be the middle name of his son; Samuel Amicus Miller.

Rob Miller for a change
 Rob Miller had been watching the families and people in Utah and the health situations they were living in.

 One day Rob saw that an elderly woman named Nancy that had been struggling with finances because of poor health actually took her own life rather than have to ask her children to provide for her.

 The news of her death really bothered Rob and he believed health care should be available to everyone.

 Rob Miller new something needed to change, and he needed to be that change.

 In 2004 Rob Miller decided to run for a position in the Utah State Democratic Party Executive Committee. Initially Rob Miller wanted to run for the Chair but because of doubts from himself and others, he did not end up running for Chair, but he did not let that stop him from running for Vice Chair.

 Rob Miller got a push from many associates and his good friend Shane Giddings told Rob who to speak with and what to do, Shane told Rob to speak with Todd Taylor and do everything He says to do.

 As a result, Rob Miller went to see Calvin L. Rampton who then gave Rob Miller his endorsements, and Rob started running.

 While running for Vice Chair, Rob Miller came across SLCSpin, a blog by Ethan Millard that with just one word could send the Utah politics into a frenzy! … Rob Miller was addicted to blogging here on.

 Around this time, Donald Dunn announced that he would not run for re-election as State Party Chair. This set the Democrats world ablaze. Questions were flying, “Who will lead us?” “Who will be our voice?” Shockingly, that year 9 people ran for Chair and Rob Miller was in the running with 4 others for Vice Chair.

 After Rob Millers first official appearance as candidate he found himself laid out on the couch with what he figured to be a terrible anxiety attack. He had to remind himself that he had good people behind him like Mike Young and Dan Thatcher and Jeff Bell, All of it Todd Taylor approved…

 …. So they went out and did everything they could to win the race! Jeff Bell, also known as JM Bell, created Robs campaign site… The first blog Rob Miller was ever associated with.. and to Jeff’s credit, the first Utah Democratic Party candidate website to have Spanish Translation.

 When LaVarr Webb mentioned the campaign blog on his site it was big! It got bloggers and their followers now watching posts by Utah Democrat, Rob Miller and opening up the way for them to get to know who Rob Miller really is.

 Finally, as the running came to a close, Rob Miller won vice chair by just 28 votes!

Is Rob Miller a cup half full or cup half empty guy???

 A month after winning vice chair, Rob Miller lost his job because he came forward as being a Democrat. Robs’ boss told him after he came forward as a Democrat that everything he says now just disgusts him. Rob loved his job and was sad to see it go..

 Rob did not let this get him down though, he could see that things for him had changed.. and that meant inside his job as well.

 Losing his job allowed Rob Miller to get knee deep in his true passion, Utah Politics, which then opened up inviting Todd Taylor back as executive director and Jeff Bell as the party’s communicator director.

 They worked to bring the party and their supporters back together after the election, which included one supporter Cliff Lyon.

 Cliff Lyon put together a blog for their party called Blue Utah. Rob Miller was set to be the voice of this blog. Cliff Lyon told Rob, “You need to start blogging yesterday! We are already behind!”. Rob tried to explain to Cliff that he would need a couple days to get familiar with how the blog template worked and figure out exactly what he was wanting to write about.

 Two days later Rob Miller learned that a couple other guys had already been putting blogs on the site. When Rob address Cliff about it, the reply he got was, “We needed it yesterday!”

 It took Rob Miller a very short time to realize that though he and Cliff Lyon were very good friends, he could not let this be the voice for the Utah Democrat politics.

 Rob Miller was on a mission to create a blog that would be for the betterment of the Utahn people. Not just for his voice of the voices of the Democrat people, but the for voice of all sharp Utahn’s to educate and put good ideas forward.

 Sitting at his computer, staring at the screen, trying to decide the perfect name for his blog. He knew he wanted it to be great, something strong, something that had a meaning to the people. Rob had already made a list of at least twenty names but nothing stood out to him.

 His son, Samuel Amicus, came bursting into the room laughing and giggling like little boys do. Rob Miller directed his attention to his son when suddenly it hit him! Amicus! UtahAmicus UtahFriend.. It was perfect..

 .. and so, UtahAmicus was created, from a name very dear to Rob Miller and in honor of his son and daughters, who are the future.

 On February 7, 2006 the very first blog was posted to UtahAmicus titled ‘The Beginning”. It was a letter that had been forwarded to him of all the reasons you should become a Democrat.

 Soon after, Rob Miller was contacted by Ethan Millard and congratulated on a great blog. This was a huge honor for Rob because Ethan Millard was a big name, the ‘King’ even, when it came to Utah political blogs. Soon after this, UtahAmicus really started to get noticed.

 Rob Miller was determined to become better acquainted with Ethan Millard and soon created a good friendship with him.

 There was a lot of confusion at this time as to ‘who’ Ethan Millard really was. People were going as far to say he was the ‘best female voice in Utah politics’ or stating their opinions of his story and even going as far to guessing his sexual preference.

 Rob Miller, with friend Wayne Holland sat down to lunch with Ethan Millard and Rob was able to convince Ethan that when he was ready to come public with his identity, to let Rob first post his picture and story in The UtahAmicus.

 A bit later, Rob Miller was contacted by Ethan Millard telling him that SLCity Weekly was going to honor his blog as the best political blog and tell his story. He told Rob that now would be the time to write his blog and post the picture before the article came out.

 Ethan Millard Blog

 … this was a huge honor for UtahAmicus and ended up leaving many bloggers very envious.

 In 2006 Rob Miller started fighting Parents for Choice Education and by 2007 things started getting really heated. Near the end of the battle, UtahAmicus was getting over 7000 views a day. BlogNetNews began rating the top political blogs at this time and UtahAmicus was in the top 5, typically in 1st place of all political blogs at this time.

 UtahAmicus is said to have lead the way in this fight because of its high influence in the political blogging world.

 Recognition is given to Todd Taylor for the support Rob Miller received. Many of Robs’ blog posts were actually inspired by Todd and encouraged while others around were sending him negative feed back. Todd Taylor inspired Rob to keep going.
 "The pay off from blogging has been the people I’ve been able to meet because of blogging on The Utah Amicus. It has not always been easy. I’ve lost some friends, upset congressional offices, and the stress of it all did have it’s price, but I would do it again because the reward of knowledge and friendship out weighs all the negatives. I believe that The Utah Amicus brought a common sense approach, voice, to the Utah Blogospher and I thank the good Lord for the experience. It has been a great adventure and I thank (With a teardrop rolling down my cheek) all those who participated, lashed out, and read our little blog." -Rob Miller 
 What does Rob Miller stand for? Here is a speech He says to be ‘The greatest speech ever given'

 Accomplishments for Rob Miller

Rob Miller has many accomplishments in his blogging and political career.

 To name a few others…. Rob was connected with a good friend, Tom Grover who at the time was running KNVU’s For The People radio show. Tom Grover became a great ally for Rob Miller and invited Rob many times onto his radio show.

 Later Tom Grover set up a debate on air with the Sutherlands Institutes Paul Mero. Rob Miller proudly won this debate. Funny thing, Paul Mero and Rob Miller actually laughed and messed with each other through this debate and at one point Rob actually leaned over and lifted his coat tail so Paul Mero could kiss his rear end.

They managed to create a friendship through this debate and still regard each other as friends to this day.

 … A site called Bloghive had people, bloggers and readers alike, vote on their favorite blogs and the top bloggers would be put on the board. UtahAmicus got most of the votes, even beating out Jeff Bell by one vote!

 In 2008 Rob Miller was honored by Democratic National Committee by being the first Utah blog to receive their credentials.

 Notable Amicus Bloggers and/or contributors include, Richard Watson, Christian Burridge, Emily Bingham Hollingshead, Uncle Don Miller, Craig Axford, Aaron Thompson, Bob Aagard and Jason Williams.

 One of The Most All Time Viewed Blogs??? …You’re going to laugh.. it doesn’t make sense.. Click Here

Monday, June 03, 2013

Bountiful City's Concerts in the Park Director to run for Bountiful City Council

Press Release
Full Press Statement Attached Below
DATE:  06/03/2012
CONTACT: Richard Watson - 801-540-3146
                     Robert D Miller- 801-896-4673

Bountiful City’s Concerts in the Park Director and longtime city activist to run for Bountiful City Council

Bountiful, Utah – Bountiful City’s Concerts in the Park director, Richard Watson, announced on Monday his candidacy for Bountiful City Council.

In a statement released Monday, Richard Watson said, “I support the quality of life in Bountiful we currently experience. As your member of the City Council, I will continue making Bountiful a remarkable city to live in.  Insuring that our city parks continue to be great and family friendly will be a top priority as your council member. I support the recent city approval to purchase land for a new park and I support the policy of the current City Council of keeping taxes low and keeping our city transparent for all residents.”

“I am excited by the possibility of serving you as a member of Bountiful City Council. I want to continue the tradition of keeping Bountiful the best community to live in,” said Watson.

“For the past five years, I have voluntarily served as the concert director for Bountiful’s Concerts in the Park. I have also served four years as Chair of the Bountiful Community Service Council, a volunteer council that provides service help for the community, including the Emergency Preparedness Fair and updating the city’s emergency disaster handbook. I love Bountiful, and I love serving the residents of Bountiful. I believe my experience -- working for Bountiful’s best interest and working with the current mayor and council -- gives me a great advantage as a candidate who can and will get it done,” said Watson.

Richard Watson has served as concert director for Bountiful City’s Concerts in the Park for the past five years and as chair of the Bountiful Community Service Council for the past four years.

Watson’s community activism includes four years on local school community councils -- four years as government affairs chair for the Utah Autism Council -- eight years coaching Jr. Jazz basketball and seven years coaching Mueller Park Baseball. Richard and Carol Watson (Both USU Aggies), chose to raise their family in Bountiful 26 years ago. They have two sons, Andy and Bret. Watson is employed as a Space Analyst for Associated Food Stores and enjoys playing golf, basketball and attending USU athletic events.

Press Statement
 Date: 06/03/2013
CONTACT: Richard Watson - 801-540-3146
                     Robert D Miller- 801-896-4673

Press Statement by Bountiful City Council Candidate Richard Watson


I’m Richard Watson and I am a candidate for the Bountiful City Council.

I am excited by the possibility of serving you as a member of Bountiful City Council. I want to continue the tradition of keeping Bountiful the best community to live in.

For the past five years, I have voluntarily served as the concert director for Bountiful’s Concerts in the Park. I have also served four years as Chair of the Bountiful Community Service Council, a volunteer council that provides service help for the community, including the Emergency Preparedness Fair and updating the city’s emergency disaster handbook. I love Bountiful, and I love serving the residents of Bountiful. I believe my experience -- working for Bountiful’s best interest, and working with the current mayor and council -- gives me a great advantage as a candidate who can and will get it done.

Other experience includes four years on local school community councils, four years as government affairs chair for the Utah Autism Council, eight years coaching Jr. Jazz basketball and seven years coaching Mueller Park Baseball.

I support the quality of life in Bountiful we currently experience. As your member of the City Council, I will continue making Bountiful a remarkable city to live in. Insuring that our city parks continue to be great and friendly will be a top priority as your council member. I support the recent city approval to purchase land for a new park and I support the policy of the current City Council of keeping taxes low and keeping our city transparent for all residents.”

I have lived in Bountiful for 26 years with my wife, Carol Watson (we are both USU Aggies) and my two sons, Andy and Bret. I am employed as a Space Analyst at Associated Food Stores. I enjoy playing golf, basketball and attending USU athletic events.

Richard Watson
90 E. 1100 South, Bountiful, UT 84010

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Todd Reese Taylor Remembered

Todd Reese Taylor
One year ago today, Utah Democrats lost Todd Taylor, our former executive director and senior adviser. It has been a long, hard year since Todd passed. So much has changed since his death and yet his wisdom, humor and humanity still inspires and guides me, everyday.

I miss my friend more than most will ever know or understand, but as I said a year ago, it was an honor to know Todd, and for that I will always be grateful. It is that gratitude that gets me past the hurt.

If you, like me, appreciated Todd's work will you please consider making a small donation this week to the Utah Democratic Party in Todd's name? There is still so much work to do and I can't think of a better way to honor our brother and loyal Democratic general, Todd Reese Taylor.

With every best wish,

The Utah Amicus

Utah’s former executive director of Democratic Party dies

Monday, March 04, 2013


Salt Lake City – Media reports continue to show a revolving door between large Republican campaign contributors and special treatment and access to the Attorney General’s Office. The FBI is exploring violations of federal law, but no one is asking about breaches of Utah law or ethics violations. It is time Utah’s state leaders work to restore the public’s confidence by stepping up to put their own house in order.

Utah Democrats are calling on the Governor to appoint a special, independent prosecutor to investigate potential breaches of Utah law and misuse of public office by current Attorney General John Swallow and former AG Mark Shurtleff. Further, the Utah Democratic Party is calling on the Legislature to swiftly pass legislation creating a strong and independent ethics commission, and set it to work investigating John Swallow in his current and previous positions within the office of Attorney General.

“Right now, it is the media and the feds that are investigating these incredibly serious charges, while the Governor and the Republican Supermajority are just twiddling their thumbs,” stated Matt Lyon, Executive Director of the Utah Democratic Party.

”We can take real action and show leadership today,” continued Lyon. “Governor, appoint a state-based, independent prosecutor to look into any breaches of state law and ethics by John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff. Task this prosecutor to report back to the people of Utah to clear Swallow and Shurtleff’s names or take appropriate legal action, so justice is done.”

“Utah Legislature, pass an independent ethics commission with subpoena power and real teeth, and put it to work investigating the serious allegations facing our Attorney General. Over 30 states have commissions or processes to deal with ethics issues arising from the administrative branch. It’s an appropriate check within our balance of power, and there is no reason we can’t correct or prevent these paralyzing conflicts of interest from occurring in our state.”

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Free Speech Forum: Did you sign the petition to pardon former Democratic Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman?

Don Womack
Hello Rob, Hope you and your family are doing well.

Did you sign the petition to pardon Don Siegelman?

Former Democratic Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman is a political prisoner in Louisiana. It is a travesty. Railroaded by Karl Rove and Alabama Republicans.

113 former state Attorney Generals, top Constitutional Law Professors, and many others say this case is erroneous and Don Siegelman never committed a crime.

I would like for you to put this on your blog and write something about Don Siegelman being in prison...
Dana Siegelman with her father, former Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman
From - President Obama: Please restore justice and pardon my dad!

"Five years ago, my dad, former Democratic Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman, was taken away in handcuffs and shackles. Most who learned of his case saw it as a travesty of justice, including several prominent Republicans (see 60 Minutes).

Though released pending appeal for four years and despite unprecedented support, my father was returned to prison on September 11th to complete a nearly 7 year term because the Supreme Court refused to hear his case.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox Business News, MSNBC, CBS, Harper's, Time Magazine, The American Trial Lawyers, Huffington Post, The Guardian, 113 former state Attorneys General, top Constitutional Law Professors, and many others say this case is erroneous and Don Siegelman never committed a crime.

He was convicted of an implied quid pro quo, that is an inferred bribe, or a bribe without explicit proof of agreement or self-enrichment scheme. He was never accused of benefiting, at all.

I need your help to free my father. Please sign this petition to President Obama asking him to restore justice and pardon Don Siegelman!

By Dana Siegelman

Why Sign?

Gov. Don Siegelman was the 51st Governor of Alabama, serving from 1999 to 2003. He served in Alabama in public office for 26 years and is the only person in the history of the state to be elected to serve in all four of the top statewide elected positions: Secretary of State, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Governor. He was essentially the longest running Democrat in the Southeast.

My dad was wrongfully convicted in 2007 in a case that Pace Law Professor Bennett Gershman called "one of the most egregiously bad faith prosecutions by the Justice Department ever.” Numerous public servants such as Al Gore, John Kerry, andWesley Clark believe my father was wrongly prosecuted and wrongly convicted.

The American Trial Lawyer Magazine has called Dad America's "Political Prisoner #1." The New York Times said my dad was charged with something that has never even been considered a crime in America, and CBS’ 60 Minutes reported that the prosecution team coached key witness Nick Bailey more than 70 times and offered him a deal to testify against my father.

Conservative columnist George Will expressed in The Washington Post, “Everyone who cares about the rule of law should hope the Supreme Court agrees to hear Don Siegelman’s appeal….today’s confusion and the resulting prosecutorial discretion kill the exercise of Constitutional right, of political participation and can imprison people unjustly.”

More than 100 state Attorney Generals, both Republican and Democrat, many law professors, and thousands of people like you, have tried to help, garnering the attention of the media, organizing letter campaigns, and writing excellent articles, but ultimately the case was left to the courts. Even Fox Business News sympathized with Dad!

113 current and former state Attorney Generals from across the U.S. signed a brief to the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court saying, “There is reason to believe that the case brought against Governor Siegelman may have had sufficient irregularities as to call into question the basic fairness that is the linchpin of our system of justice.”

Fred Gray, attorney to Rosa Parks, and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, both close companions to the late Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., came to court to hold my mom's hand the day of sentencing in 2007. They wrote letters to the Department of Justice, to Congress, and to the President to convey that Don Siegelman is the “target of the Bush Justice Department, which has now endangered the style of government we fought so hard for.”

However, this is not about Democrats versus Republicans, far from it. It is simply about what's right and wrong, what is fair and what is not. As Thomas Jefferson said, "A prosecutor who alleges enough wrong doing will always get a conviction." Former U.S. Attorney General Robert H. Jackson said, "If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power..."

This petition is much more than just one man's freedom. It is about American freedom. If this can happen to my dad, as governor, it can happen to anyone. The law is so unclear, all it takes is a prosecutor with a vendetta against you. As Dad explained when the surprise verdict came in 2007; “This is dangerous to our democracy and it is wrong. If this ruling stands, rogue prosecutors or a rogue Justice Department can prosecute contributors and elected officials they simply do not like.”

Please join me in asking President Obama to pardon my dad and let this issue stand before Congress and the Supreme Court. 

Al Gore appealed, "Don Siegelman isn't just fighting for his freedom - he's fighting for the integrity of our democracy... As Americans, we have a responsibility to protect our democracy from those who would take advantage of it and abuse their power.”

Please sign and share my petition asking President Obama to grant Don Siegelman clemency! 

The Supreme Court has denied my dad’s appeal, and he has been re-sentenced to more than five years in prison. At this point, my dad’s only hope is a commutation of sentence or pardon. Our hope for truth lies in holding our elected officials accountable. Our hope for justice is a great public outcry. Please join me in asking the President of the United States for clemency in my dad’s case by signing the petition on Change.organd sharing this message publicly however you can. By doing so we may one day clarify the law and keep our democracy and freedom intact. Thank you so much for considering the facts and helping me free my dad!

With the greatest appreciation, Dana Siegelman

The views and opinions expressed on this blog with the title, Free Speech Forum, are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily represent those of Rob Miller, or, staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Free Speech Forum: Is SB60 a step towards a public abortion registry?

Why not publish the names and addresses of Utah women who have had abortions?

Almost two months ago I wrote a mock news article exploring said “what if”. Here it is:

Debate Begins Early Over Bill to Make Names, Addresses of Residents Who Have Had Abortions Public Record 

The names and addresses of more than 200,000 resident women who have had abortions since 1974 in-state, may be made public record under a proposed bill that pits pro-choice practitioners against would be reformers in the aftermath of ideological full disclosure.

The “Ideologue Registry Law” would require public registry, including names and addresses, and stated-reasons of women who have had abortions.

Also included in the bill are provisions to expand the registry to include obese residents, individuals whose household income exceeds $1,000,000 yearly, as well as members of the NAACP and NRA.

This bill comes on the heels of the New York City-area newspaper publishing a gun-owner map identifying the names and addresses of gun permit owners living within their newspapers reach. The purpose of the “Ideologue Registry Law” is to lift uncertainty as to one’s ideology, therefore creating a more responsible dialogue. Unknown however, are structural damages which society may incur. Regardless, the content of the bill has sparked an early debate as to its potential impact.

More as this develops.

In my opinion, an “Ideologue Registry Law” would move our political parties towards Mutually Assured Destruction. It would be the new domestic security dilemma, infringing upon personal data of citizens, trampling their liberty, in an attempt to advance a political ideology. Is it a stretch that such a registry would pit neighbors against neighbors? Structural damages implied may devastate American society.

Recently, the Utah Senate passed an abortion data collection bill (SB60), requiring more data collection about abortions. The bill, according to reporting by Lee Davidson of the Salt Lake Tribune:

“It would require state collection of data on the race or ethnicity of women having abortions, the state of pregnancy when they occur and the stated reason, if any, for choosing the abortion. Its sponsor, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, said the federal government already requires filling out forms that provide such information — and the Utah Health Department has collected additional data without being required by law. She says she wants to codify current practice, and ensure collection of data continues if federal forms change.”

But wait, there’s more from Mr. Davidson’s excellent article:

“Dayton earlier explored the possibility of running a bill that would ban abortions based on the gender of the fetus — a practice she has said may be happening in some cultures. She decided against introducing that measure, choosing instead to sponsor the data collection bill, which she said could provided needed information in determining whether to pursue the other legislation.”

So much for a Utah Republican Party that values small government and personal liberty.

Surely the Utah State Democrats put up a fight against this bill.

“"I think there are times when people go through some agonizing experiences and to ask them for extra information that might contribute to more agony to this personal decision, I’m not sure I feel comfortable with that," Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, said.”

Ya think? In the face of a super majority, Senators Pat Jones, Luz Robles, and others played the role of doormat.

Where is David Litvack when the Democrats need him the most? At least he knew how to throw a punch.

All Utah Senate Republicans voted for SB60 the big government bill, and the five Utah Senate Democrats voted against it.

SB60 needs an additional vote in the Senate before moving on to the House.

Let’s table the fact that this bill requires more government. Let’s also table the tepid opposition that Utah Senate Democrats offered. Now, let’s return to the “what if” game.

What if the next step is to create a public registry with the information the government collects?

What if publishing such a registry damages community relationships?

What if someone you worship with, who you least expect, is on said registry?

What if SB60 leads to the hypothetical situation I wrote about?

Regardless of political affiliation, now may be a good time to call your State Senator and start asking questions.

Seth Wright lives in Salt Lake City, in the Glendale Area. He is a University of Utah graduate, married father of two boys.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog with the title, Free Speech Forum are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily represent those of Rob Miller, or, staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

"It's A Wonderful Life" in COLOR


Utah State Party Secretary Paul Pugmire congratulates newly elected vice chair,  Josie Valdez
Salt Lake City – On Saturday, December 8, 2012, the State Central Committee of the Utah Democratic Party met to fill the vice chair position left vacant by the untimely and tragic passing of Jim Judd in August.  A first ballot narrowed the candidate field to Josie Valdez and Jane Marquardt, and Josie Valdez was elected to the position following a second ballot.  Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis responded:
“We were blessed with a great field of candidates; Josie Valdez will be a fantastic representative for the state of Utah, both as Vice Chair of the Utah Democratic Party and as a member of the Democratic National Committee in Washington.”

 “We are one party, we are one Democratic family,” said Josie Valdez, the newly elected Utah Democratic Party Vice-Chair.  “I’d like to thank the state central committee for their support.  I look forward to working with Chairman Dabakis, Jane Marquardt, the state executive committee, and all our amazing Utah Democrats.  We are going to grow this party in ways we’ve never even imagined!  I intend to work to unite and grow our party as we move forward into 2013 – and beyond!”

Josie Valdez is a longtime Democratic activist, a former candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and most recently, a candidate for Utah’s Senate 8.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

McAdams to Announce Transition Team

Salt Lake County Mayor-Elect Ben McAdams to Announce Transition Team

WHO:   Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County Mayor-Elect
                Maura Carabello, Managing Partner of The Exoro Group
                Russ Wall, Mayor of Taylorsville
                Michael Weinholtz, Chief Executive Officer of CHG Healthcare
                Nichole Dunn, Representative from Mayor Corroon’s Administration
                Justin Miller, Representative from Mayor-elect McAdams’ Administration

WHAT: Salt Lake County Mayor-Elect Ben McAdams will introduce his    transition team that will assist him in his Salt Lake County Mayoral administration change.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 2:00 pm

WHERE: The Salt Lake County Complex – North Building Atrium 2001 South State Street Salt Lake City, Utah 84114


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

18 U.S.C. § 2385 : US Code - Section 2385: Advocating overthrow of Government

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof - Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction. If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction. As used in this section, the terms "organizes" and "organize", with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

18 U.S.C. § 2384 : US Code - Section 2384: Seditious conspiracy

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Rep. Jennifer M. Seelig
SALT LAKE CITY – Rep. Jennifer Seelig, (D-Salt Lake City), was elected the first woman Democratic Leader in the Utah House during that caucus’ leadership elections held earlier this evening. Seelig, entering her fourth term representing District 23 in Salt Lake City’s west quadrant, expressed appreciation for caucus members’ recognition of past leadership experience working on behalf of the legislature’s Democratic caucus. She has previously served as Whip (2010-12) and Caucus Manager for Utah House Democrats (2008-10). She succeeds retiring Democratic Leader David Litvack who will be leaving the Utah House of Representatives December 31, after 12 years of service.

 “We have a dynamic and dedicated team committed to fighting for the well-being of our constituents and for the state of Utah. One of the greatest advantages of an election cycle is the feedback all legislators get from their constituents, and our caucus' agenda will reflect that feedback. As always, we are anxious to get to work with our Republican colleagues and work out bipartisan legislation that reflects the needs of those we represent. ” Seelig said. Four-term Representative

Tim Cosgrove (D-Murray, District 44) was elected Democratic Whip. Representative Rebecca  (D-Salt Lake City, District 24) will serve as Assistant Democratic Whip and Representative Joel Briscoe (D-Salt Lake City, District 25) completes the leadership team as Caucus Manager. Chavez-Houck, the first Latina known to hold a Utah House leadership position, was first elected to office in 2008, Briscoe in 2010.

Learn more at the Utah State House Democratic Caucus website at |

Monday, November 05, 2012

Wayne Harper (R-43) filed letter to judge in support of sexual predator Eric Ray

Salt Lake City - Senator Wayne Harper (R-43) joined a long line of insensitive legislators when he submitted a letter in support of convicted sexual predator Eric Ray, who will be sentenced Wednesday to 0-15 years in jail after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a fifteen year old Utah County girl.  

Representative Harper, who is currently running for Utah Senate in District 6, wrote the following letter to Judge Lynn Davis in support of Ray:

Eric Ray was found guilty of forcibly sexually abusing a fifteen year old Springville girl in 2010, while he was married and living in Illinois.  He struck up a relationship with the girl through text messaging and electronic communications in 2008, and following a period that prosecutors classified as “grooming,” he flew to Utah in 2010 and assaulted her in a Provo hotel room.  Forcible sexual abuse is a second degree felony.   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Desperate Mia Love supporter bears false witness

Today, former Rep. Holly Richardson, a.k.a., Holly on the Hill, posted this on her blog, Facebook and Twitter pages,"This is what desperation looks like. Matheson campaign urges volunteers to lie," but the truth is, Jim Matheson's campaign did not send out this e-mail.

When I wrote on Holly's Facebook page that I was surprised that she would bear false witness her response was, "Prove it Rob!"

It is sad that a former GOP member of the Utah State House of Representatives, a person who claims to believe in the Constitution, would not understand that the as the accuser, the burden of proof is in her hands.

At least one person who posted the same forgery on his Facebook page has stated that he now believes the letter is a fake. I guess I can only hope that Holly and anyone else who has posted the forgery will choose the right and admit that they have no proof where the e-mail came from and that they were wrong to pass along the forgery without authenticating it first.

Choose the Right, Rep Holly!  You are worthy of redemption.

With every best wish,

The Utah Amicus

UPDATE: That didn't take long.  Former Rep. Holly Richardson just posted this, "Pulling down the post, going back to sewing."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

James Rulon Judd Obituary

Jill and Jim Judd at the Salt Lake County Convention 2012
1952 ~ 2012 -James Rulon Judd, beloved son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend, left his mortal life on August 17, 2012. He died in Missoula, MT following the motorcycle credo "Live to Ride and Ride to Live". Jim, as most know him, was 60 years old and resided in Layton, UT, with his wife of 42 years, Jill Judd. Jim was born on February 18, 1952 in Coalville, UT the fifth of six children to Glen and Lynette Judd. Jim and Jill, high-school sweethearts, married in Las Vegas, NV on June 13, 1970 and were then sealed in the Manti Temple on July 31, 1974. He has been a loving, wonderful father and grandfather to his soon to be 18 grandchildren. Jim was a giant among his peers, a leader to many and passionate about helping establish workers' rights. He lived to serve his community, state, and nation. He served as a firefighter for over 20 years, served on the board for Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, was the former President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Utah, President of the Utah AFL-CIO, and vice chairman of the Utah State Democratic Party. Even with all of Jim's vast accomplishments both professionally and civically, he was first and foremost a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had faith in Jesus Christ and in the promise of eternal life. He will be missed by all but never forgotten. Jim is survived by his parents, his wife, six children: daughter Jennifer (Jeff) Oostyen , daughter Bridgette (James) Saunders, daughter Stephanie (Mike) Norton, son Sean (Brooke) Judd, son Nicholas (Amber) Judd, daughter Jocelyn Judd (Cody Wallentine) and his siblings: Carol Valdez, Sue Judd, Terry Shaw, Kerry Judd, and Nadine McGarry. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at the Bountiful Regional Center, 835 North 400 East, North Salt Lake, UT. An Open House to celebrate Jim's life will be held on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Lindquist's Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd., Ogden, Utah. Friends may also visit family Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Bountiful Regional Center. Interment, Lindquist's Washington Heights Memorial Park, 4500 Washington Blvd. Thank you all for your outpouring of love and support. In lieu of flowers, they family has requested you register to vote and vote on Nov. 6. Send condolences to the family at:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

AFL-CIO President and Utah State Democratic Party Vice Chair Jim Judd has passed away

August 16, 2012 Salt Lake City, UT–– Jim Judd, President of the Utah AFL-CIO, passed away Thursday due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Missoula, Montana. The Utah AFL-CIO sends out its heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Jim's family and friends. He was our beloved leader, who has made a difference in the lives of his co-workers and all workers across Utah.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Peter S. Cooke for Governor: Bringing Pioneer Values Alive Today

One hundred and sixty five years ago tomorrow, Brigham Young sat up in his wagon at this very spot and declared his famous words – “This is the Place.” 

This place looks a lot of different today than it did to Brigham Young.   Thanks to our pioneer mothers and fathers the desert has blossomed as a rose.

As these pioneers entered the Salt Lake valley, and settled this whole state, they set to work.
They tilled the soil, planted grain and harvested the crops.  They built houses and churches and social halls.  They started what each generation is now tasked to finish – the transformation of this state into the best place to live.

Not only did those pioneers leave us this great land we now live in, they also gave us something even more important.  They left us their values.  What are those pioneer values they wanted us to have?

One is hard work.  It took hard work to pull a handcart across a thousand miles of plains and desert and mountains.  It took hard work to break the ground, plant the crops, milk the cows, mend the fences, and so on.

Another value was personal responsibility.   They didn’t wait for someone else to plow those fields, dig those irrigation ditches, or harvest those crops.   They did it.    They took responsibility for doing it.  They knew that building this great state was their responsibility, nobody else’s.

Another value was family.   Sometimes we forget that pioneers usually came here as families – husbands, wives, children.   Many of them didn’t make it.  They grieved over those losses as they buried their dead, wiped away their tears, and moved on.  They never forgot those spouses or children they left on the plains.  They worked together as families to settle this land.  Women, men, children.  They all had their chores to build the family business or run the family farm.

Still another value was the importance of the community.   The pioneers came together across the plains.  These weren’t individual mountain men or prospectors out on their own.  They came together because they planned to work together in this promised land to make a better tomorrow for themselves and their children.  Community – they understood what that meant.

And, finally, service.   They served each other by helping each other survive in a new land.  They helped build each other’s houses, planted each other’s crops, harvested together, and worked together to build communities for all.  They knew what they were doing.  They knew they were building communities not just for themselves or their families, but for generations in the future. 

I mention these pioneer values because at this time of the year, particularly, we need to remember what the pioneers have given us.  And we should take a moment to examine ourselves to see whether we are maintaining the values they gave us and whether we are passing them on to our children.

I want to focus specifically on the value of service.   Are we doing enough to foster service in our communities?  Are we doing the job we should to teach our children the importance of service?

Some recent trends make me wonder.

One basic service we all can give to the community is to vote.  Yet, Utah’s voter participation has dropped to disturbing lows.  In 1968, Utah had the highest voter turnout in the nation.  Today, we are near the bottom.

Also we’re not volunteering as much as we used to.  Volunteerism is dropping nationally, but also in Utah.  The percentage of Utah residents who volunteer has dropped from 50 percent in 2003 to 43 percent in 2010.  That is a faster rate of decline than exists nationally – 29 percent to 26 percent – over the same time period.

These are worrisome statistics.  That’s why I’ve come here to introduce new policy initiatives to turn this around. 

Recognition of Exemplary Service

One is the importance of recognizing those who serve.

I want to recognize individuals and businesses who promote community service.  I will do that through two awards.

One will be the Governor’s Innovative Community Service Award.  It will go to Utah businesses who innovate in community service projects within the state.  By recognizing these businesses, I will be encouraging Utah businesses to find new and creative ways to use their resources to serve their local communities.

I also will create a Governor’s Exemplary Community Service Award for individuals.   This will not be a Lt. Governor’s award like the current administration does.  It will be a Governor’s award. 
This award will recognize at least one individual in each county of the state who has been nominated by their fellow citizens as an exemplary citizen performing community service. 
It’s time we do that as well. 

Instilling the Values of Service

Another goal of mine as governor will be to emphasize instilling values of service into our young people.  Our high school students need to understand why involvement in the community and service to others is so important.  They also need to be taught how to make a difference in their communities so they feel confident in becoming involved.

To accomplish this objective, I will propose the Office of Education add a civics course requirement to the state high school curriculum.  This course will help high school students understand the importance of involvement and service, as well as be taught how to become involved in their communities to make a difference.  Right now this material is a small part of a U.S. government course.  It should receive much more emphasis.

Providing Opportunities for Service

I will make another recommendation for our high school curriculum.  I will urge all school districts across the state to create service learning programs and give graduation credit for participation in these programs.

Along those lines, I want to help college students gain real experience in community service.  That’s why I will initiate a Utah Service Corps.   This corps would be open to any Utah resident who is a college graduate.    After graduation from college, students would be placed as volunteers in schools, hospitals or clinics, non-profit organizations, or local government agencies for up to two years.  Whether they are accountants, engineers, or journalists, they would gain experience in working in behalf of the community.  This initial experience should put help them appreciate the value of community involvement and place them on a path of community involvement they will continue on throughout their lives.

In return for their service, they would earn credits towards payments on their student loans by a Utah Service Corps fund.

Where would this fund come from? Not the taxpayers.  Businesses and individuals would be recruited to be pioneers in helping promote volunteerism by donating to this fund.

These are initiatives I will undertake as governor to instill the pioneer value of service into 21st century Utah.   It’s time to exhibit the pioneer spirit of service today.  It’s time to put our shoulders to the wheel.

Thursday, July 12, 2012



Salt Lake City, Utah (July 12, 2012) -- Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke will present his vision for moving Utah's K-12 public education into national prominence at a press conference Monday, July 16, at 11 a.m., at Highland High School, 2166 South 1700 East, in Salt Lake City.

Cooke will address a range of educational issues including funding, classroom resources and size, restoring trust and respect to the teaching profession, early-education, accountability, and the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.

Cooke will be joined by his running mate Vince Rampton, educators, and students at the conference.

Who: Retired Major General Peter S. Cooke and Vince Rampton

What: K-12 Educational Policy Press Conference

Where: Highland High School 2166 South 1700 East Salt Lake City, Utah

When: Monday, June 16, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.



Salt Lake City - Governor Herbert and Utah's GOP leaders have chosen to leave hundreds of thousands of Utahns in limbo, postponing a controversial Medicaid decision until after the 2012 election.  The delay denies health insurance to 43% of Utah’s uninsured adults, and increases the burden on taxpayers should those adults require emergency care.  Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis responded, 

"Once again, Utah Republican leaders have put their Tea Party masters ahead of common sense.   Their dithering postpones a vitally important decision until after the election - when they won’t have to face the voters for another cycle.  How convenient.”

“Utahns are once again forced to ask Governor Herbert,” Dabakis continued,  “‘Besides 'No, No, No,' what is your solution to the hundreds of thousands of Utah families without healthcare? Or do you find it acceptable for families in our communities to be left out in the cold because they got laid off?  Because they have a pre-existing condition?  Or simply because they happen to work in a job that does not provide health insurance?’  And in the meantime, Speaker Lockhart, President Waddoups, and Governor Herbert continue to enjoy their government health benefits.”

Monday, July 09, 2012

Samuel Amicus Miller at Eight

You are our youngest child, our only son, and from the moment your sisters met you they loved you, as did your mom and dad.

We all love your sense of humor, and I love that your favorite place in the world is your home.

You may not understand this now, but one of the many highlights in my life was the day your teacher gave you the "Love for Learning" award.

At eight years old you love baseball, your puppy Gizmo, your cats Gilby and Kony, your friends, your Wii, but most of all, your family, and I am both amazed and grateful that my number one son already has his priorities figured out.

Happy birthday, Sam! I love you -- I always will!

Friday, June 29, 2012



Salt Lake City, Utah — Today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter S. Cooke and his running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Vince Rampton, called for the office of the governor to invoke emergency powers conferred by the Disaster Response and Recovery Act to impose a statewide ban on consumer fireworks during the current crisis. Cooke stated that such a ban is an integral component of a proper preparedness and prevention plan.

“My heart goes out to all the Utah families affected by the wildfires that are ravaging our state. I commend the firefighters, state troopers, local police and National Guard for their remarkable bravery and courage in the face of these dangers. Their selfless actions and rapid response has saved thousands of lives and homes. They are heroes,” Cooke said.

“Given the tragic loss of life, the property damage wildfires have inflicted thus far, and the threat fireworks pose in this especially dangerous wildfire season, Utah needs to ban consumer fireworks across the state,” Cooke said.

“The State of Utah is in dire need of an emergency preparedness plan that is geared towards preventing, not simply reacting to, wildfires. This is especially true during this unusually dangerous wildfire season. A statewide consumer fireworks ban is an integral part of any such plan, and in fact an adequate preparedness and prevention plan cannot be achieved absent a ban on consumer fireworks,” Cooke said.

“A ban on consumer fireworks would go a long way towards getting Utah safely through the dangers wildfires pose to our state. But there are other steps that need to be taken. As Governor, under the Disaster Response and Recovery Act, UCA § 63K-4-401, I would declare a state of emergency due to the threat of 'natural phenomenon,' which includes the threat of forest or range fires. We also need to call on our volunteer infrastructure to assist our heroes in preventing wildfires. We need to mobilize our Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), block captains, and church and community organizations to educate and alert all citizens, and be ready to move when they are called into action,” Cooke said.

“I also implore all citizens to educate themselves on the dangers of fires, and to take responsible and appropriate measures when engaging in any activity that poses a fire risk. Utahns need to think safety first,” Cooke said.

“If we prepare for these fires together, if we think in terms of prevention, not reaction, by banning consumer fireworks statewide, and if we lend a helping hand to friends, family and neighbors in trouble, we can make it through this wildfire season safely,” Cooke said.

About Peter S. Cooke and Vince Rampton: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter S. Cooke is a retired two-star major general in the U.S. Army Reserves, a successful CEO and small business owner, and Utah's former director of economic development. The Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Vince Rampton is a real estate and general commercial trial attorney at Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough, Salt Lake City, and the son of former Utah Governor Calvin L. Rampton.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Utah Foundation survey says Gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke's priorities are most in line with Utah voters

Utah Foundation recently released The 2012 Utah Priorities Survey, which provides a summary of the findings of a statewide Dan Jones & Associates survey assessing which issues are most important this election year and how voters feel about Utah’s economy, society and politics. For the first time, Utah Foundation also requested that the gubernatorial candidates complete part of this survey. All of the Republican and Democratic candidates and two of three third-party candidates completed the survey.

The candidates were asked to complete two main sections from the 2012 Utah Priorities Survey. The first gauged their feelings on quality of life in Utah, and the second asked them to prioritize 19 policy issues that were previously identified by voters as important in the upcoming election. This allowed Utah Foundation to not only compare the views of voters to candidates, but the priorities of each as well. This report is not an endorsement of any party or candidate, but is merely provided to educate and inform voters and the delegates to each party’s state nominating convention.

More here
Read the report