Setting the Record Straight: A Response to new attack email being passed around about Greg Hughes
• SB54 He voted for it! The destruction of the caucus system.
Answer explained: https://greghughes.com/caucus-system/
• HB69 He voted against the repeal of the caucus as the speaker of the house. He had the power to repeal SB54 and restore the caucus, but he voted against it instead.
Response: The very same reason he voted for SB54 (https://greghughes.com/caucus-system/) is the same reason he voted against THIS repeal. He’s a man of his word and he agreed to the deal of SB 54. At the time, CMV had not broken the deal.
• He sponsored the bills to fund the testing of common core although we spent a great deal of time educating him at the time how it would be an educational disaster, a violation of privacy and medium for data mining private information about our children.
Response: He was the house sponsor of a bill that created a mechanism for statewide computer adaptive testing platform, not curriculum. A way to take a test that adapts for a more individualized learning. His bill created a testing method, the State Board of Education implemented Common Core.
However, he also had concerns about testing curriculum and took the opportunity to establish, in this bill, a 15-parent committee to review all questions within tests, to weed out any that the parents felt weren’t appropriate for Utah students. He then was the house sponsor of a bill that passed that would have expanded the duties of the parent review committee to include the review of complaints related to curriculum or instructional materials. The State Board of Education would then have to publish a report about those complaints on their website. Unfortunately, Governor Herbert vetoed that bill.
Because Utah Constitution Article X, Section 3 states: “The general control and supervision of the public education system shall be vested in a State Board of Education”, after many years of trying, while he was Speaker the legislature passed a bill to create partisan school board elections. Electing more Republicans to the State Board of Education and holding them accountable through the caucus system could prove to be the best way to get the federal government out of our education system. Having a governor like Greg Hughes to assist with their elections and partner with them on this effort will dramatically improve things in the future.
• He sponsored a conference to get Utahns to sign onto National Popular Vote. Had we, Utah's vote would have gone to the democratic candidates every time. He no longer supports this movement.
Response: I’m not going to say he didn’t because he might have, but he doesn’t remember sponsoring any type of “conference”. He said he hosted some meetings at the request of some national conservatives who were pitching a concept around National Popular Vote. Hosting a meeting to discuss and debate ideas on policy is what lawmakers and conservatives do. He was initially interested in the idea that groups of states could potentially join together to have their votes matter more. If conservative states could be grouped together and the popular vote of those coalitions of states bound their electoral votes was interesting to him. He has since changed his mind on this as it became more and more clear that not all red states stay red and as urban population hubs keep growing, the opposite effect could happen. He’s been thoughtful in what he was thinking on it, never tried to muscle anything through on it, took into account the discussions that were had and learned – and has freely admitted he’s glad it didn’t get traction.
• He was on the board of the UTA, the most corrupt bureaucracy in Utah. The top people compensated themselves with double the pay of their contemporaries on the NY Transit! His attempt to clean it up was to rebrand it.
Unlike most politicians, Greg Hughes is a leader. Leaders lead no matter the controversy. The buck stops with them. That means they get the good, the bad and the ugly.
Just because the media says something is controversial it doesn’t always mean it is. Too often news stories lead to actions that generate more news stories. Many times, those are controversial, or they create the controversy. To put that into perspective, UTA was audited many times. At least twice while Greg was on the board. Like most audits recommendations for improvements were found and in at least one there was a recommendation to improve the rules around board members and conflicts. But, to be clear the recommendation was to make better rules, not that the rules that existed were broken. However, what came from that is controversy that led to more digging and fishing, including an investigation by the Attorney General and the US Attorney and FBI. It dominated headlines. Normally, this type of pressure would have politicians running and hiding. Not Greg. He leads with his chin, because he knew that nothing illegal was done, and that nobody was guilty of anything under the rules that existed at the time. And guess what – nothing has come of any of those investigations. If he or anyone else did something illegal surely it would have been found because these investigators were determined to find things. To be very clear, Greg was NEVER the subject of any these investigations. Why did the controversy stick to him? Because he’s a conservative Republican that the liberal media has been trying to take down forever and because, as a leader he took responsibility for the actions taken by the organization and he defended individuals that were maliciously attacked, publicly shamed and falsely targeted. I’ll take that kind of leader over any other.
During his time on UTA he actually increased transparency. He made every subcommittee/working group subject to open meetings laws. He attempted to meet and explain decisions to members of the media, that made him more of the face of everything that happened or was alleged there. As the leader the buck stops at the top. Cox could learn something from this. He learned quickly that as a volunteer board member, only attending one meeting per month, it was very difficult to understand all of the inner workings of the organization. Staff had basically been in charge and would put many things in front of the board with little explanation or discussion. In the end he helped push through the restructuring of UTA. It wasn’t a rebranding effort it was a complete overhaul. You now have a governance model that better matches the organization that it has become. With three full time commissioners in charge and having oversight over all decisions. This governance change should make the organization better.
It is worth noting that even after all of this controversy, a lot of it happening while he was running for Speaker, Greg Hughes was twice elected by his colleagues to serve as Speaker of the House. He’s one of the most vetted candidates in this race because liberals have been trying to take him out for years. They’ve tried everything but guess what, there is no proof of anything because it doesn’t exist.
Response, clearly these came from some organizations scorecard because on many of these votes it is stated he voted for or against something when in reality he was absent.
• HB129 He voted against this bill to strengthen our right to stand our ground, clarifying we are NOT expected to retreat if threatened by someone.
Response: Not true. He wasn’t there for the vote. He didn’t vote. That isn’t uncommon for the Speaker of the House. And, by the way, the sponsors of this bill have both endorsed his campaign.
• HB164 Voted for early childhood task force for pre- school. This turned into several vendor bills.
Response: I’m not sure what is meant by it turned into several vendor bills. The bill failed. But all it attempted to do was create a task force to make policy recommendations related to a comprehensive state strategy for early childhood to ensure that children are prepared to succeed academically. It even included a sunset date so the task force would have only met for a year.
• HB260 Voted to make it easier for law enforcement to have access to private info on the controlled substance database without having to get a warrant.
Response: I need to look into this one further, but I’m pretty sure this was an attempt to establish parameters for law enforcement to access the controlled substance database, because a judge had ruled against an effort by the ACLU to ban access by the DEA. So, I think this bill was to actually provide clarity because of that ruling.
• HB264 He voted for $2.2 Million additional funds for school counselors.
Response: He was actually absent for this vote as well.
• HB293 He voted to INCREASE PROPERTY TAXES.
Response: Over time, the proportion of education funding coming from property taxes continues to decline. HB 293 freezes the Basic Rate for a period of five years in order to equalize education funding to benefit those areas of the state that aren’t able to raise as much money for education because of lower property values. The Basic Rate is the portion of the property tax with the rate established by the Legislature and used for education. The bill also made some changes that will help to stabilize the rate over time and keep it from going down as quickly as it would otherwise.
However, at the same time, HB 293 reduced the state income and corporate income tax rate from 5 percent to 4.95 percent.
These changes were part of a larger effort that allowed the state to fight off a much greater tax increase being pushed by the Our Schools Now initiative, that was being run by all of Spencer Cox’s people including his now campaign manager. That effort would have included a 9.5 percent sales tax rate increase and a 9 percent income tax rate increase. HB 293 was the negotiation that kept the Our Schools Now ballot initiative off of the ballot.
• HB 326 voted for $1 Million funds for inter-generational poverty.
Response: Again, he was actually absent from this vote.
• HB380 Voted for $10 Million for school readiness program & additional $2.9 million for the next year.
Response: Yep. He actually was the original sponsor who passed the school readiness program and he’s very proud of it. He also voted for private school vouchers and was a sponsor of the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship program.
• HB462 Voted for $6.6 Million for buying temporary housing!
Response: This bill created a mechanism to help pay for homeless resource centers as part of the new model of not warehousing people and getting them in resource centers and out of homelessness quickly. That is where the word “temporary” comes from. It isn’t buying up some housing projects, we want stays in the homeless resource centers to be temporary. This effort along with Operation Rio Grande will actually improve lives and if done correctly under new leadership, will actually save the state money long term.
• HB472 Voted to expand Medicaid.
Response: First – there is no other candidate in this race that has done more to stop the expansion of entitlement spending in this state than Greg Hughes. He stopped Medicaid expansion under Obamacare and suffered mightily for it. Any attempt to ever try and criticize him from the right for Medicaid expansion is misguided. Any group that attempts to wasn’t around or didn’t do a good enough to help, because he fought this fight on his own for years. Ask Mike Kennedy about this.
As it relates to HB472 – the Utah Legislature has consistently voted against expanding Medicaid under Obamacare due to a number of concerns, including costs that have strained state budgets across the nation. The ACA expansion also creates welfare cliffs that tend to incentivize all the wrong behaviors and keep people from escaping poverty over the long-term.
The current presidential administration, acknowledging these weaknesses in the program, promised flexibility that would allow the states to address these problems. HB 472 contained an enrollment cap that limits the state’s liability and allows us to expand the program without any new state dollars. It also keeps appropriate incentives in place by requiring that those who have access to employer-based health insurance and those who make over 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and therefore qualify for the federal exchange, will not qualify for Medicaid. The bill also contains a work requirement for able-bodied adults. As a result, this current Medicaid expansion ends up looking nothing like the original Medicaid expansion instituted under Obamacare.
This was a very good bill and if approved by the federal government would have save the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Unfortunately, there was also a ballot measure that passed in 2018 that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare up to 138% of FPL with no caps, work requirements, etc. and it increased taxes.
Nobody has worked harder to defeat Obamacare expansion than Greg Hughes and it is an offense that anyone who is paying attention would even attempt to try and make HB472 out to be something bad. To that person I ask – where were you when he was being called a murderer for stopping expansion?
• HJR20 Voted to put the 33% gas tax increase on the ballot. This was sponsored by the same forces, SL Chamber leadership and Kem Gardner Institute, that also sponsored SB54 and the 2019 tax reform bill.
Response: No, the Our Schools Now initiative was sponsored by them. HJR20 replaced that initiative with this NON-BINDING ballot question. It REPLACED a binding ballot initiative that would have raised sales tax to pay for education with a poll of the public asking about increasing gas tax – gas tax is more hated than sales tax. This was actually a brilliant move to get them to agree and it killed their tax increase initiative.
• SB54 Voted to increase the fee to get a marriage license. Why do we need to ask the government, why do we want to make it harder for people to get married?
Response: Wrong again he was absent.
• SB104 Voted to increase student loan funding at taxpayer expense.
Response: Absent again.
• SB136 He re-branded UTA when they were found to be the most corrupt bureaucracy in Utah.
Response: This wasn’t rebranding UTA, it changed its entire government structure. SB 136 changed the governance structure of UTA and transportation at the state level as a whole, for the purpose of increasing the accountability and transparency of an agency that has long suffered from a lack of public trust. This legislation brought the long-term planning and development of both UTA and UDOT together under one roof to allow for greater coordination and saves money while increasing efficiencies. All modes of transportation are looked at holistically under this new approach that will have numerous benefits for the citizens of the state.
• SB146 Voted to fund silicon slopes at $250,000. at taxpayers’ expense
Response: This didn’t fund Silicon Slopes. He provided an incentive to host the Utah Tech Summit which is an annual conference that brings in more that 10,000 people every year, increasing economic development opportunities. This incentive is post-performance and the summit paid for more to the state than they got back.
The key is, no other candidate in the race has a record like Greg's to look at, isn't it a good thing that we can review his? Wouldn't it be even better to have more debates so the record could be discussed?