Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of Another Look articles by or in behalf of candidates who will be on the ballot in the June 28 primary. This is an article supporting Becky Edwards, who is running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Mike Lee.
Another Look with Dr. Kristine Hansen
It’s no secret that the United States Congress doesn’t function effectively any more. One reason for that is Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Like several other senators, Lee sees his role as naysaying and obstructing, rather than cooperating to pass sound legislation. In so doing, Lee behaves very differently from the delegates who drafted the United States Constitution in 1787.
George Washington, the convention’s president, wrote that the delegates knew their work was crucial to the future “prosperity, felicity, safety,” even the “national existence” of the newly independent states. They drafted the Constitution, Washington said, in a “spirit of amity,” or friendship, and of “mutual deference and concession.”
In other words, the delegates compromised in order to create a governing structure that would unite the new nation. They didn’t refuse to cooperate because they didn’t get all they wanted.
We need more representatives like that now. Fortunately, we have the chance to elect one in Republican Becky Edwards. She would be a senator who would cooperate, not obstruct; build bridges, not divide; and cultivate friends, not enemies. She would be a senator more in the mold of the late Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Hatch was very different from Lee. Hatch was known for his ability to work with senators from both parties to pass bills that helped Utahns and all Americans. In his 42 years in the Senate, he authored or co-authored more than 750 bills that became law. Legislating is what Sen. Hatch was elected to do, and he even worked with people like Sen. Ted Kennedy, his political polar opposite, to pass important bills such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Compare Mike Lee’s legislative record to that of Sen. Hatch. In 12 years in the Senate, Lee has passed only four bills, two of which were to rename buildings. Lee’s voting record indicates anything but a “spirit of amity” and concession.
He voted no on such things as these:
• A compensation fund for victims of the 9/11 attack, which helps first responders who became ill from their rescue work
• Reform of the U.S. Postal Service, which puts our post offices on a sound financial footing
• T he American Rescue Plan, which helped small businesses retain and rehire workers in the pandemic
• The Safe Drinking Water Act
• The Violence Against Women Act
In 2013, Lee led the “suicide caucus,” which shut down the federal government for 16 days, a stunt that accomplished nothing but cost the taxpayers $24 billion.
According to BYU political scientist Michael Barber, Lee is the most extreme of the 100 senators, the one most out of sync with all the others. He was the only senator to vote against the following bills:
• The ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Disability Insurance Access Act
• The Opioid Crisis Response Act
• America’s Water Infrastructure Act
Becky Edwards, who will be on the Republican primary ballot in June, is someone who knows how to cooperate with others to move an agenda forward and secure the common good. Edwards served very successfully in the Utah House of Representatives from 2009 to 2018. There she formed coalitions with other representatives to formulate and pass well-crafted bills into law. She can point to legislation that did the following for Utahns:
• Expanded eligibility for Medicaid
• Expanded telehealth services
• Worked to help both urban and rural young people become educated for the workforce
• Incentivized real estate developers to build more affordable housing units
• Worked to provide tax credits to businesses that offer paid family and medical leave to
• Helped create the Utah Climate and Clean Air Compact
Edwards wants to go to Washington to work for Utah, not simply grandstand and obstruct. She knows that moderate Republican voices are needed in the Senate to ensure both parties work together to create policies and programs that are effective and economically sustainable.
Becky Edwards stepped down from the Utah House in 2018 because she had promised to retire after five terms. Mike Lee promised in 2010 to serve only two terms. He clearly isn’t interested in doing the hard but necessary work of collaborating with other senators to pass important legislation. So let’s help Mike Lee keep his promise by electing Becky Edwards to the U.S. Senate in 2022.
Dr. Kristine Hansen of Spring City retired after 30 years on the BYU faculty. During her career, she was a professor of English and associate dean of general education.