Senate President Stuart Adams is not a conservative. He is an authoritarian.
Personal responsibility was once a fundamental tenet of conservatism, but not anymore.
The Utah Legislature began its 2022 session last week and wasted no time in reminding Utahns that the next 45 days will be about everything but making sure the state is in better shape. when they leave. Beehive State is considered one of the most conservative in the country, but its elected representatives have abandoned these principles in favor of performance art, lovemaking and indecency.
On Tuesday, Senate Speaker Stuart Adams R-Layton appeared at the opening session, not wearing a mask, after testing positive for COVID-19 twice that morning. Adams knew he was sick. He knew he shouldn’t be at the Capitol. He knew he shouldn’t shake hands, but he appeared anyway. Why? Because, like so many other Republican leaders, Adams has decided that “freedom” means he can do whatever he wants, regardless of the risk to others.
Personal responsibility was once a fundamental tenet of American conservatism. Not for Stuart Adams. His responsibility is to himself, his political ambitions and his willingness to perform for the more conservative voters in his constituency. His campaign slogan should be “Responsibility for you, but not for me”.
It wasn’t enough for Adams, however. It also had to violate another tenet of conservatism; that of local control. For decades, Republicans have argued that cities, counties and local school boards are best placed – that is, close to – their citizens and should be free from the power of the state to make decisions. decisions on their behalf. No more.
As the first act of the new legislative session, Adams ditched Senate rules to pass a resolution that repealed mask mandates in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and Summit County. Why would Adams do this? First because he could. Adams told reporters, “We’re just following the process.” Just by following the commands. Think about where this has gotten people before.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by Adams’ behavior. In 2020, he assured that Utah was stockpiling hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 despite no evidence it worked. Why did he do it? Ask the well-connected pharmacy that received $800,000 in taxpayers’ money to buy the useless medicine. The kicker? He didn’t bother to tell the state health authorities about it.
Or maybe we should ask him about developer sweetheart deals, like the one done literally in the dark of night on the last day of the 2020 session that allowed developers Nate Brockbank and Josh Romney to to annex Summit County lands without letting Summit County or Park City know in advance.
Or the plan hatched by the Legislature under the direction of the Military Installations Development Authority (MIDA) that allowed for the construction of a new complex at the back of Deer Valley using a funding gimmick that puts taxpayers at the mercy of bonds while seeing no local financial benefit for decades. Although it is in Wasatch County, the Legislature has ensured that residents will have no say in how the property is developed. Oh, did I mention Adams is the president of MIDA?
Stuart Adams’ attitude is not that of a civil servant, but that of someone who believes that neither he nor the legislature are accountable to anyone but themselves. . Even Governor Spence Cox, who heads a co-equal branch of government, doesn’t dare contradict him. As he sits in his gilded office, Adams is preoccupied with his own power, doling out favors to financial interests and making sure everyone in Utah knows who’s really in charge.
It’s not conservative. It’s not even Republican. It is an authoritarian worldview. And it’s spreading.
Reed Galen is co-founder of The Lincoln Project. He is a resident of Summit County.