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Conservative Leadership at the Local Level

Picture of Marci Houseman

Marci Houseman

Marci is a member of the Sandy City Council, and is a Salt Lake County GOP's endorsed candidate seeking re-election.

On the bookshelf in my home office sits a 1970 GOP elephant mug created by Frankoma Pottery – a pottery company located in Oklahoma. It was my grandmother’s mug and is a constant reminder of the legacy she left for me. Ima Lee Pace was a strong conservative voice in her community. She launched a successful H&R Block tax preparation company and served taxpayers as an enrolled agent at a time when very few women were federally authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS. As a leader in her Chickasha, Oklahoma community and active member of the Republican Party, Ima Lee attended multiple national conventions.

My mother followed in my grandmother’s footsteps and was eager to be involved in her community. She was active in the Republican party and represented Oklahoma at the national College Young Republicans convention in St. Louis. Upon marrying my father, a soldier who was stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, she was required to suppress her political engagement per military directives. However, her influence and commitment to conservative values remained and her patriotism grew stronger as she experienced the sacrifices made by military families and the soldiers they supported. Stationed overseas for a good portion of my father’s career, she “kept the home fires burning” and nurtured the values of conservatism and community service in her children.

Why share this legacy of conservative leadership? Because I stand on the shoulders of the women who came before me. They are my exemplars in so many ways and my service on the Sandy City Council is due in large part to their influence. I am eager to model conservative leadership at the local level and though races at the municipal level are non-partisan, it is more important than ever to ensure that our local communities are represented by leaders who champion conservative values.

Too often, the role of local government takes a backseat to the political conversations happening at the state and federal levels. However, it is at the local level where the water hopefully gets to the end of the row. The implementation of conservative principles at the local level have an immediate and direct impact on people’s lives.

Conservative leaders, with our commitment to limited government, fiscal responsibility, and individual liberty, play a vital role in shaping the character and effectiveness of llocal government. As such, it is critical to explore what this commitment to conservative
principles looks like at the local level. If we know what it looks like, we can more effectively seek those who will lead with these principles in mind.

Our Utah Republican Party Platform states: “We believe government property exists by the consent of the governed and must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. The function of government is not to grant rights, but to protect the
unalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.” One of the cornerstones of conservative leadership is our belief in limited government.

Local conservative leaders strive to keep government intrusion into the lives of citizens to a minimum, allowing individuals and businesses the freedom to make decisions that best suit their needs. This approach to leadership includes protecting private property rights to the greatest extent possible. The impact of this approach to local governance is a community in which local businesses can thrive, and our friends and neighbors can pursue their dreams without unnecessary regulations via codes and ordinances that restrict private property rights.

Our Utah Republican Party Platform further states: “We accept the necessity for limited taxation in order for government to perform and administer those services which meet essential public needs. However, we recognize that the power to tax is also the power
to control, and believe that the best way to control government is to strictly control the amount of taxes imposed on the people.” At the local level, conservative leaders are often the guardians of fiscal responsibility.

Local conservative leaders measure the return on investment of every tax dollar that is spent. We balance the needs of the city against the need to protect taxpayers from unnecessary property tax increases. We refrain from placing unnecessary tax burdens
upon the members of our community under the guise of “proclaimed needs” that are not actual needs. We use data to measure the impact of the services being provided and set realistic expectations for the level of those services. No doubt, my grandmother
worked hard to help taxpayers keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible. I am committed to doing the same.

Our Utah Republican Party Platform continues: “We support lawful efforts of local law enforcement agencies to protect citizens in their homes and their communities. We urge reform of the legal system to accomplish a swift and balanced administration of
justice, including consideration of rights of the victim.” Conservative leaders prioritize public safety as a fundamental responsibility of local government.

At the local level, municipal leaders must support law enforcement agencies. We must work collaboratively with others to provide the resources and training to keep our communities safe. Our commitment to law and order contributes to the overall wellbeing of our community and fosters an environment where our friends and neighbors can live without fear.

One final aspect of our Utah Republican Party platform reads: “We believe that a strong, diversified economy based on a positive work ethic, a well trained and well-educated work force, a business-friendly environment, and safe work place will help
Utah compete in a world market place. We believe that developing our human resources is essential to the future of Utah.” Conservative leaders at the local level recognize that successful businesses are the backbone of our community and essential drivers of the economic engine that makes a balanced budget possible.

Leaders in local government recognize that a thriving local economy benefits everyone. We champion policies that encourage entrepreneurship, job creation and economic growth. We focus on removing barriers to business success and foster a business-friendly environment by attracting new business, supporting redevelopment and reducing the tax burden on businesses whenever possible. Recognizing that a increased tax burden on businesses leads to increased prices and diminished purchasing power for taxpayers, conservative leaders work to strike the right balance of protecting taxpayers and providing needed services.

As a member of the Sandy City Council, I am proud to serve as the taxpayer’s watchdog. I am grateful for the opportunity to shape the character and effectiveness of local government. My commitment to fiscal responsibility, limited government, personal liberty, community values, public safety and economic development is central to every statement I make and every vote I take. As we focus more intentionally on elections at the local level, may we keep conservative principles in mind and evaluate candidates against the standards we hold dear. Now more than ever, it is essential to vet local candidates to the same degree that we vet our state and federal candidates. Too many important decisions are made at the local level. We must embrace our collective stewardship over conservative principles and ensure that principled candidates are elected to local offices.

Marci Houseman
Sandy City Council

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