Saturday, November 12, 2011

Answers from Candidates – Dan Liljenquist

imageA couple of weeks ago I posted a set of questions I would seek to answer for candidates looking for my vote. Thursday evening I attended an event where state Senator Dan Liljenquist spoke about fiscal responsibility. From what I understand there is a good chance that Dan will run against Hatch to be the Republican nominee for the US Senate. I’d like to share with you what I was able to glean from this event and some time spent afterwards relative to my list of questions.

Now, I actually didn’t ask a single question of Dan during the meeting but I spoke with him briefly afterwards and spent a lot of time talking with people I know and trust, who know Dan well. 

Character Questions:

  1. Tell me about circumstances where you chose to do what you thought was right but which had the possibility of negative personal consequences.

    Dan worked to reform Utah’s pension system which was very, very unpopular. 4,500 people demonstrated at the capital after the proposal was unveiled. Reform was needed and it passed – barely. He then worked to reform Utah’s Medicaid program, another socially unpopular activity.

  2. Can you site examples where you have quietly served others without regard to recognition?

    Dan didn’t talk about this directly but I did  some research and learned that a company he started worked with CHOICE-Humanitarian to build a school in Guatemala. Note, in 2008 Dan was one of 3 survivors of a plane crash on a CHOICE-Humanitarian trip to a village in  Guatemala.

  3. Tell me about a mistake you made and how you went about rectifying it.

    Don’t have anything on this.

  4. What do you do to keep yourself morally grounded?

    Focuses on his family. While I spoke with him afterwards regarding the difficulty of maintaining your principles in politics he mentioned that this is something he worries about and scares him. He said something like what a shame it would be if his life was spared (see reference to plane crash in #2) only to lose his way in politics.

  5. What is the source of your values?

    God … from what I learned he is a grounded individual who quietly practices his faith.

Role of Government:

  1. Where do our basic rights come from (and what are they)?

    Dan mentioned more the once that our rights come from God but I need to know more specifics about what he believes those basic rights are.

  2. What is the role of government relative to those rights?

    Need more info … but in discussion pension reform he did say that we need to live up to commitments that we’ve made but we also need to understand that reality is non-negotiable.

  3. Is the Constitution a “living document”?

    Didn’t hear anything to inform me of his view point on that.

  4. Is it relevant today?

    Didn’t hear anything to inform me of his view point on that.

  5. How do we best interpret its meaning?

    Didn’t hear anything to inform me of his view point on that.

Experience and Leadership

  1. What positions of leadership have you held (government, industry or charitable organizations).

    Founder and CEO of successful startup, Utah State Senator

  2. Tell me about the people you picked to help support you in that role?

    I know some of the people that are helping him now who will be part of his campaign staff  and I respect them. However, I don’t know anything else the people he surrounds himself with.

  3. What criteria did you use in selecting them?

    I don’t have an answer except those that I know have integrity.

  4. What challenges was your group able to overcome and how did you make them successful?

    Did not hear anything that would allow me to form an opinion on this.

  5. Tell me what you think the job description is of the position for which you are running and prioritize the associated responsibilities.

    I liked how he handled his state Senate role. He asked to be involved in how money is spent (given his training and background this is something he was qualified to participate in). I don’t know but would suspect he would look for similar opportunities to contribute as a US Senator. Need more info however.


My initial thoughts on Dan are very positive although there is more I need to learn. He seems to me to be someone who is serving for the right reasons – he is doing things to benefit Utah for the long term regardless of personal impact.

He’s demonstrated that he can effectively work in a legislative body to make positive changes on significant issues.  Of added import is that he has succeeded where others have tried and failed or not even really tried at all.

Dan looks to be a well grounded individual –  I don’t get the “all-about-me” vibe that I get from other politicians.  His fear of being corrupted gives me some hope that he could weather a term or two (perhaps longer) in Washington as a Senator.

He’s bright, energetic, has real business experience and was able to leverage this in crafting and passing needed but unpopular financial reform legislation. Given the current ills our nation is facing Dan looks like the kind medicine we need to send to DC. 

Note, my father was involved in over 1,200 appointments to senior level positions in the state, defense, and justice departments during the Reagan years. He told me that he tracked the appointees and that within 18 to 24 months all but around 200 lost their compass in that they cared more about what the elite in DC thought than the objectives they had when they took their positions.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I think a good example of the quality of Dan's leadership is that while he was in the super-majority Republican legislature he didn't need the support of Democrats, but reached out to them anyway. (His fiscal reform passed unanimously.) This says a lot about his style of leadership and (in my opinion) makes for a better approach to government then using seniority and political klout to try to get things done.


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