SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Democratic party held several lively caucuses at the state convention on April 21, including the LDS Democratic caucus.
“We have a secret weapon: you,” Jim Dabakis, chair of the LDS Democratic caucus, told his fellow caucus members. “As you go out and participate (in politics)…they’re not expecting this. Every Democrat a missionary, I say, and when Election Day comes they’re not going to know what hit them,” he said.
Scott Howell, candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination, spoke about a past meeting with the late LDS president Gordon B. Hinkley.
“(Gordon B. Hinckley) said, ‘tell everyone you know we are not a Republican church. It does us no good to align with one political party. We need people in both parties to share the gospel of Jesus Christ,’” Howell said. The audience applauded.
“I love the scripture when Paul was writing to Timothy,” Howell continued. “He said, we don’t have a spirit of fear but we have the spirit of power and a sound heart and love. And that’s exactly what we are.”
Brent Holloway, campaigning for the new Utah House District 62 seat, told the caucus, “As the right has moved further to the right they’ve become more harsh and left out compassion in politics. We need to bring back compassion.”
Caucus member Ben Kaiser returned from an LDS mission in New York City two months ago and said he is not pleased with the political climate he came home to.
“I came home to a state that does not teach the values I taught in New York City,” Kaiser said. “I was ashamed of my government here in Utah. I am still ashamed, and that’s why I’m a Democrat here in Utah.”
Richard Clark, a candidate for a congressional nomination, echoed Kaiser’s opinion.
“Anyone who has read the Book of Mormon and really has a conviction of that book – my wife and I really don’t understand how they can be a Republican in today’s society,” Clark said. “Today, King Benjamin would be a Democrat leader in the party. When you do things for your fellow men you’re only doing things for your Heavenly Father, and that’s one of the values I love most about the Democrats.”
Donna McAleer, a candidate running to represent Congressional District 1, said “LDS values and Democratic values are in sync…we care about people, we are about society, and we care about our community. Just like the pioneer women, we need to put more women in office.”
The Utah State Democratic Nominating Convention continues today.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.