Ron Paul commends Iron County GOP members for commitment to Constitution

Ron Paul gives keynote speech at Iron County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 22, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Noted libertarian and former U.S. presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul commended Iron County Republicans for their understanding of the U.S. Constitution and their commitment to its principles during his address to the county party’s Lincoln Day Dinner Thursday.

“I knew this was a special Republican convention, with special people here who know something about the Constitution,” Paul said, speaking to a capacity crowd of 300-plus gathered at the Southern Utah University campus.

Paul’s background includes multiple terms as a Texas representative in the U.S. House of Representatives in addition to a career as a medical doctor. He is now retired from those activities but continues to write books and make appearances as a public speaker. He is known for championing libertarian ideals and promoting individual rights and responsibility.

Attendees fill the Great Hall in SUU’s Hunter Conference Center building for the Iron County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 22, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

During his speech, Paul addressed various issues that affect Americans today, starting with the federal government’s budget. He cautioned against military overspending.

“I believe the principles of American greatness are a lot different than militarism. We have such a powerful military that nobody can touch us,” Paul said, adding that it is not the role of the United States to be the world’s policeman.

Speaking against against getting involved in unnecessary conflicts overseas, Paul said, “We should never have war without a proper declaration.”

Paul also touched on several other economic issues, including taxes, spending, monetary reform, free markets and property rights.

He said the executive and judicial branches of government have been overstepping their bounds by creating laws.

“This shouldn’t be permissible,” he said, noting that the legislative branch should be responsible for writing and passing laws.

“The federal government is really out of control and the judicial system is outrageous,” Paul said.

“We have too many prisoners, mainly because we have too many laws,” he said. The audience applauded at this comment, as they did at numerous other points during Paul’s half-hour remarks.

Former U.S. presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Ron Paul visit with each other prior to Iron County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 22, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

Paul said he nevertheless remains optimistic for America’s future.

“I’m truly convinced that if you understand liberty, you bring people together,” he said. “Liberty to me is not complicated.”

People shouldn’t have to depend on the government, he said, and it is counterproductive for the government to subsidize such dependency.

“They need more freedom and more responsibility, and then things will improve.”

Paul also believes government should be accountable to its own laws.

“The government should be forced to obey the same rules that you and I obey with each other,” he said.

He encouraged those in attendance to work together without compromising their principles.

“I believe people come together if you don’t have to give up your beliefs,” he said.

Just prior to Paul’s keynote speech, three of the GOP candidates who are vying for Orrin Hatch’s U.S. Senate seat also spoke for approximately three minutes each: Tim Jimenez, Larry Meyers and Mitt Romney.

U.S. Senate candidate Tim Jimenez speaks during Iron County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 22, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

Jimenez, an engineer from Tooele, acknowledged he is not a “professional politician” but said growing up in difficult circumstances helped him build a strong work ethic and learn to solve problems as an engineer.

“I know how to work,” Jiminez said, adding that his campaign slogan is “Humble beginnings, Utah values.”

Meyers, an attorney in St. George, vowed to stand against “big government liberals in the U.S. Senate who are trampling on the Constitution.”

“As your senator, I will stand on conservative principles,” Meyers said, promising to “give power back to the states and to the people” and to rein in federal spending.

Romney started by thanking Iron County Republican voters for their support in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, when he lost to incumbent President Barack Obama. If every county had voted like Iron County did, he would have been elected president, he said.

Romney touted his Southern Utah connections, saying, “My roots run deep in Dixie.” He  also talked of reining in federal government regulations and spending and said keeping schools safe is a top priority, but one that is best left to state and local officials.

U.S. Senate candidate Larry Meyers speaks during Iron County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 22, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

“I will fight day and night for this great state,” Romney said.

Earlier, at the beginning of the dinner, various candidates for local races who were in attendance were also each given a few minutes to address the audience.

Speakers during that portion of the event included Iron County Commission candidates Michael Bleak, Fred Rowley, Jennie Hendricks and Paul Cozzens; county attorney candidates Scott Garrett, Scott Burns, Chad Dotson and Matthew Carling; county sheriff candidates Ken Carpenter, David Evans and Del Schlosser; plus incumbent County Auditor Dan Jessen and incumbent County Clerk Jon Whittaker, both of whom are not yet facing any challengers for their seats.

Other speakers during the event included Rex Shipp, who is running for the District 72 seat in the Utah House of Representatives and Mary Burkett, who is running for Utah’s 2nd Congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ryan Bundy, known for his family’s role in the 2014 standoff against federal agents in Nevada among other protests, gave the opening prayer.

In his concluding remarks, Iron County GOP party chair Andrew Young thanked those in attendance and reaffirmed the local party’s commitment to the caucus system of choosing political candidates.

The caucus system was also touted by speaker Dave Bateman, CEO of the Lehi-based software firm Entrata. Before introducing Paul as the evening’s final speaker, Bateman spoke of the “inspired” caucus system, saying that while a typical voter spends an average of three hours researching candidates and election information, a typical convention delegate spends 97 hours doing such research.

“Is the caucus system perfect? Absolutely not,” Bateman said, noting that it can be refined and improved. “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said, encouraging attendees to sign the “Keep My Voice” petition to keep the current caucus system in place.

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