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Trent Staggs - Call to Order 2023 SLCoGOP Convention

Picture of By: Trent Staggs

By: Trent Staggs

Trent Staggs was elected mayor of Riverton, Utah, on November 7, 2017, after serving four years on the Riverton City Council. During his time as mayor he has worked tirelessly to lower taxes and fees, improve transportation and oversee a responsible city government.

Good morning my friends and fellow Republicans, it is my honor to now call this convention to order! Thank you for taking the time to make this event possible. I would like to especially thank the officers, committee chairs, and volunteers who have made the event such a success.  

It’s a delight to be among you this morning.  

You, my friends, are the “preservative” of our republic, the reason this state runs so well. The caucus-convention system is critical, as are the delegates who sacrifice their time to make it work. We need you all involved – now more than ever – to defend this system. I trust my neighbor down the street to pick my next senator or governor far more than I do the out-of-state money interests who want to sabotage our caucuses.  

The world has changed considerably in the last two years, as corrupt members of the Biden Administration are running our country into the ground. We’ve seen Russia and China flexing their muscles, drug cartels running the border, trains derailing, and inflation skyrocketing – all symptoms of the Democrats woke, weak and incompetent leadership.   

When checking the news, I frequently ask myself: What fresh mess have they created today? Which of our enemies are taking advantage of us this time? What nightmare do they have planned for us in the name of “progress”?  

In this time of radical change, it’s important to remember those principles which do not change.  These principles are contained in our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence and our blessed Constitution. And they can also be found in our party platform, which you all have crafted, giving our candidates a sure foundation to run on!   

Of the 18 platform planks, I would like to highlight three, and, sadly, how these are under attack in our country, even our own state.  

The most fundamental, and the reason I believe it is the first plank, is the Proper Role of Government. 

Government does not grant our rights, but should protect our unalienable, God-given rights. That government which governs best, governs least – and closest to home. We do not need to look far to see examples of infringement here.  

  • We’ve seen unconstitutional mask mandates 
  • Immoral vaccine mandates which told us we didn’t have a right to our own bodies.  
  • Teachers’ unions tell us we don’t have a right to raise our own children.  
  • Our corrupt federal government and Big Tech tell us what we can and can’t say.  
  • The list goes on – but we must stand up, educate others about our heritage of freedom, and fight back. 

The second plank is The Right to Property. 

The globalists and the Democrats do not want you to own your own property. They envision a world where, “You’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy.” We reject that, as well as all intrusions on our rights to life, liberty, and property.  

And we must not forget that our labor is our property. Even in Utah there are regulations making it harder for some to earn a living. According to 2020 state data, Utah is among states with the highest regulations – having over twice the number of regulations of neighboring Idaho! The Cato Institute’s index of personal and economic freedom ranks Utah only 20th in the nation. Many other red states are ahead of us, with Florida, South Dakota, and Tennessee in the top 5. 

With respect to taxation, which has become an onerous burden and confiscation of one’s labor, a 2022 Tax Foundation report found that, while business taxes in our state are the 10th lowest in the nation, our individual and personal tax burden is the 10th highest! In fact, the Utah Taxpayers Association claims we are 7th highest in the nation when incorporating fees! We need you, our delegates, to remind all elected officials – federal, state, and local – that they do not have an unlimited claim on our income, and that they must immediately reduce both the size and burden of government!   

With respect to real property and business ownership, government intrusion has never been higher. Back in 1964, Ronald Reagan highlighted this insidious practice in his A Time for Choosing speech. He said a government doesn’t need to confiscate your property to impose socialism. “What does it mean whether you hold the deed or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”  

The third principle is Freedom of Religion. 

Religion has played a fundamental role in the establishment and success of our country and state. While the Founders saw the wisdom in not establishing a state-sponsored religion, there was never any intent to separate religious values from the public square. They knew that for a people to be worthy of self-government, they must be moral. Or, as stated by former Speaker of the House Robert Charles Winthrop, “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet.”  

However, for years now, leftist governments across this country have sought to secularize government. And in so doing, have created a new religion: the religion of wokeness 

Even in Utah, we see the rise of wokeness. Under the false flag of “tolerance,” wokeness seeks to divide and conquer, whether they are fomenting racial hatred with CRT, establishing pronouns, or grooming kids with pornographic filth in our schools.  

The ultimate goal of this new secular religion is to destroy the family, abrogate your rights as parents, and turn once-loving children into brainwashed wards of the state.   

Now I know we have a lot of work to do today, and you have a lot of other people to hear from.   

Let me conclude by saying as a Republican and elected Mayor, I’ve fought every day to defend these principles. Whether it is unconstitutional mask mandates, onerous regulations, or government inefficiency and bloat – largely a result of intrusions of county or state government on what should be city affairs.  

Be on the lookout. Get to know the candidates in every race – support and promote those with a track record of or commitment to strong values, those who favor local control, and who identify innovative solutions to lowering the cost and burden of government. That’s what the COUNTY Republican delegates should do. Fight alongside elected officials when they are in the right, hold them accountable when they aren’t.   

The American Revolution never ended; the battlefield just changed shape. Whether your ancestors fled to Utah five generations ago, or you fled here from a Blue State five years ago, we must realize that “these mountains don’t protect us anymore.” Rather, we must be actively engaged in the political process, selecting representatives that will defend our freedoms, property and values.  

The cost of freedom is high and always has been. It’s reassuring to know that with you, my friends, and fellow delegates, I’m not the only one willing to pay it.  

May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless America. 

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