A Candidate Comes To Town And Passes Muster

biggs salmon
Congressman Andy Biggs has endorsed his best friend Matt Salmon.

A friend planned on hosting a gathering for Matt Salmon, the five-term Republican representative from Mesa seeking the governorship, and I decided to attend.

It was time for this skeptical citizen to go meet a new face. I emerged saying this man is to be taken seriously.

Salmon, 64, said the right things, sure, but many politicians do, as do university administrators, a fraternity to which he belongs. The questions of the hour: Did he know the right things and, if he did, would he do the right things?

These questions, while so simple, actually put in high-relief the critical question of credibility on issues facing the American public.

Was what Rep. Salmon saying based on a firm foundation of knowledge, principles and ideals by which he would govern? Or was this a man regurgitating what his audience wanted to hear? Was this a human parrot or a thinker?

We have learned, through sad experience, what happens when a well-intentioned candidate, one whom we like, and who seems to share values, does not have that foundation.

That foundation? An understanding and belief in the “American Creed,” as Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence, a grasp of the Constitution, the proper role of government at each level; federalism; what made us great; what diminishes that greatness, and so on.

Scant few of our elected officers know these things, or if they do, seldom put into actions their beliefs.

The reality is, however, that most don’t know, or care, and haven’t considered or studied them.

This is not the first time yours truly has questioned a candidate on the basics. After all, how do we maintain  exceptionalism if those in charge don’t even understand the ingredients that have made us so.

The answer? It can’t be done and therein lies the principal reason for our decline.

How do we condemn this ignorance in leadership, however, when so few of us know these issues, either? Naturally, we vote poorly and have no way to hold those elected accountable. If we don’t even know the standard, how do we hold people to it?

We get what we deserve.

A case-in-point and that is still lingering:

Look at how miserably we did as a country during COVID; that, alone, demonstrates just how we’ve lost track of the guiding principles we once revered and implemented.

Our trampling of tenets once embraced is shameful and painful. Emergency executive powers? Erring on the side of liberty? Individual, unalienable rights? Representation by state legislatures? Each of these has been abused, subverted, pummeled, diminished, while we look on with feigned lamentation.

Leadership starts from the top. The last eight years have informed us that a knowledgeable and principled governor would have made all the difference. Instead, debris from this catastrophic era is evident daily.

The irony? These wounds are self-inflicted, results NOT of COVID but our reaction to it.

So, in my one-on-one interview with Rep. Salmon, I asked the tough questions with the expectation of stumping.

Guess what?  I am delighted to say how wrong a hunch could be.

The man has a broad understanding of our founding, the Constitution and what made us great.

He understands his proper role, if elected, and he articulates how we would have been governed during the pandemic. He grasps the state’s role in a federal system and the limits to Washington’s power. His vision of what needs to be done in Arizona is thorough and compelling.

While knowledge doesn’t guarantee exceptional governance, we are certainly doomed without it.  A knowledgeable man, at least, has the foundation to do what is right. After that That’s when courage kicks in.

While I have just known Rep. Salmon a short while, I am convinced he is the right person for the job.

I am convinced he will govern by principles and ideals based on his knowledge of government’s proper role and its limits, and not default to those shortcuts of expediency that George Washington feared would be the onset of our destruction.

About Jeff Utsch 36 Articles
Jeff Utsch is a Leadership and History Instructor at the Leadership and Freedom Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he teaches leadership lessons learned from the battle and forging trusted teams and leaders. Jeff also teaches professional development and "leading with a purpose" courses to law enforcement and other agencies around the country. He is the Founder of Heirs of the Republic Educational Foundation a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to “Securing the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity.” He previously served as a Director and Ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation, where he assisted in establishing an endowment within the Foundation. At the Foundation, Jeff chaired the Development Committee and organized and assisted with benefit galas in Tucson, AZ, Coronado, CA, and Virginia Beach, VA. He also has 27 years’ experience as President and CEO of a small company and 25 years’ experience training U.S. military personnel. Jeff graduated from University of Arizona in 1991 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, where he also served as captain of the Swim Team. During his swimming career, Jeff was a member of the US National Team 1984-87, Top 10 World Rankings 1984-1988, and NCAA All-American in 1988. Using the skills, he developed as an All-American swimmer and Captain of the University of Arizona swim team, Jeff currently serves as an Instructor to the Navy SEALS/Naval Special Warfare community where he teaches Navy SEALS and support personnel specialized tactical swimming. In addition, Jeff has taught Air Force Para Rescue Jumpers, Combat Controllers, Force Recon Marines, Coast Guard MSST, and other military personnel.


      • Matt would make an excellent governor. Unfortunately, he’s not going to win. He fights clean, and that doesn’t get you elected these days.

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