ST. GEORGE — The Dixie Republican Forum hosted Rep. V. Lowry Snow Wednesday as part of their monthly forum series.
Snow, who represents District 74, including parts of St. George, Santa Clara and the Shivwits Reservation, spoke on “The founding fathers and their principles of liberty,” identifying three important prongs of good citizenship.
“The future of our country in large measure depends on our willingness to become educated, engaged and vigilant,” Snow said.
To illustrate the importance of education, Snow talked about one often-overlooked founding father, George Mason.
Mason had a hand in drafting the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Snow said, which later became a major inspiration for the Bill of Rights.
Mason’s politics closely resembled philosopher John Locke’s teachings, he said, emphasizing limited government and individual rights.
Snow lauded the unalienable rights that Mason believed in, which he said are God-given rights – man has to govern himself and be free.
Mason was also part of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, where the Constitution was drafted. Sharing an anecdote from that convention, Snow said that when the deliberations were over and Benjamin Franklin stepped out of Independence Hall, a woman asked him, “Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
Franklin’s response, Snow said, was, “A republic, if you can keep it;” this led to Snow’s second prong of good citizenship.
Engagement and voting
To maintain a republic, Snow said, citizens need to be engaged and vote.
“So I ask you know, how are we doing?” he said. “How are we doing in keeping and preserving our republic? How are we doing in the state of Utah? How are we doing nationally?”
In 1968, Snow said, Utah had the highest voter turnout in the nation. Over 78 percent of registered voters in the state participated in that election, he said. In 2008, Utah was next-to-last with about 50 percent voting.
Participating in the voting process has always been important to Snow, he said, starting from the time he was 6 years old and his father pulled him out of class to watch him vote.
“He didn’t have to say to me, ‘this is important,’” Snow said of his father’s example. “I knew it was important. We need to work on that more. We need to work on that for our children and our grandchildren and the young people that we know in encouraging them to participate.”
Teaching civics in school is important, Snow said, noting that Utah is one of only eight states that have a civics requirement for high school students.
Utah has also passed a law requiring students to pass a citizenship test with a 70 percent proficiency to graduate high school.
Another tool available to build interest and involvement, Snow said, are visits to the Utah State Capitol to watch state legislators in action.
Finally, speaking on the third prong of good citizenship, vigilance, Snow said it was important to get friends, both in and outside of Utah, to get out and vote for one of the Republican candidates.
He was disappointed to see the results of the last presidential election, he said, and unhappy to know there would be another four years of a Democratic president.
“We can’t afford, in my opinion, another four years of the same agenda.”
Dixie Republican Forum
Dixie Republican Forum was founded in 2000, comprised of Republicans working to restore conservative values to members of their party in Southern Utah, chairman Larry Meyers said.
“Our purpose is to remind the Republican party of its traditional principles,” he said.
The forum’s meetings used to be monthly luncheons, but the forum has moved its meetings to evening speeches, Meyers said, to hopefully get more people to come.
While there were still some seats left open in the Washington County Commission Chambers where the forum was held Thursday, Meyers said he thought everyone there got a lot out of it.
“Our group is not a really large group, and we’re kind of an activist group for people that are committed to getting involved with politics,” he said. “And so, whenever we invite the general public to come out, it’s good to fill as many seats as we can; and I think that everybody that was here really benefitted from it and enjoyed the meeting.”
It’s important for people to attend these forums, an assistant at the forum, KC Zeeman, said, so they can learn what’s going on in the politics around them.
“We’ve heard from Sen. Mike Lee, we’ve heard from Gov. Herbert, we’ve heard from Congressman Chris Stewart,” Zeeman said. “And it’s very important to have people hear what we are talking about and to open up their minds of what is going on.”
- Public forum: Lowry Snow on founding fathers, principles of liberty
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