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Fed-Up Republicans, Dems Form New Centrist Party in Utah

Image: Fed-Up Republicans, Dems Form New Centrist Party in Utah

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 May 2017 12:09 PM

Utah Republicans and Democrats disgusted with the "extremism" of the two major political parties have launched a centrist alternative called the United Utah Party.

And the new party hopes to be an immediate player by presenting a candidate to run in the special election to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is stepping down in June to reportedly launch a TV career.

"The political landscape has shifted dramatically since this last election," said the party's executive director Jim Bennett, son of and campaign manager for the late three-time GOP Sen. Bob Bennett.

"Both Republicans and Democrats in Utah are increasingly unhappy with their choices, and they are looking for a reasonable alternative. The United Utah Party (UUP) is that alternative."

Launched Monday, UUP says on its website that Utah needs a new party because the old ones "created the current problems, serve their party establishments rather than serving the people of Utah and practice extreme partisan politics, instead of searching for solutions."

The group calls for term limits for public officials; non-partisan elections for school boards, county offices and the state attorney general; an independent redistricting commission "to prevent the legislature from gerrymandering"; stricter campaign finance limits, increased school funding and a "simpler, fairer tax system that requires a fair share to be paid by all."

It says it will focus on "achieving results and finding practical solutions rather than continuing partisan gridlock and pushing extreme agendas, bringing together Republicans who worry their party is becoming too right wing and Democrats who believe the same about their party, but from the left, and reaching out to independents who have not felt either party represents their more moderate, less extreme views."

The chair of the new party — Brigham Young University political science professor and former Utah County Democratic Chairman Richard Davis — said at a press conference in the Centennial Room at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City:

"The existing parties created the existing problems by becoming co-opted by extreme
views on both sides. It is time for a political party that will represent the people of Utah and not merely the views of a few.

"People are eager to bridge the divide. United Utah will give them candidates they can vote for instead of having to choose between two undesirable options."

The group hopes to gather 2,000 signatures by Friday that are needed to qualify for the ballot for Chaffetz's replacement.

"The United Utah Party plans to have a candidate on the ballot for the special election, and we will announce that candidate in accordance with the deadlines outlined in the governor's special election calendar," Bennett said.

"In order to have your voice heard in Washington, you have to have representatives who are more responsive to you than they are to partisan politics or Washington insiders. The bad news is that swamping [GOP House Speaker] Paul Ryan with letters isn't likely to accomplish anything.

"This is why it's essential that the people Utah elects care more about Utah than about looking like a rock star within the Beltway."

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Utah Republicans and Democrats disgusted with the "extremism" of the two major political parties have launched a centrist alternative called the United Utah Party.
republicans, democrats, form, new, centrist party, utah
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2017-09-23
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 12:09 PM
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