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Liljenquist on Liljenquist

Published April 18, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I am running for the U.S. Senate because Washington needs a corporate turnaround! With $15.6 trillion in debt, plus tens of trillions more in "unfunded liabilities," with a wanton disregard for future generations and with massive expansions of the federal government over the last four decades, it's time for new leaders who have vision, passion and a plan. I have all three.

The problems we face as a nation center around the inability — and unwillingness — to address our twin financial crises of runaway spending and unfathomable debt. Washington needs leaders who have the vision and the foresight to look down the road to the next generation — not just the next election — and who are willing to roll up their sleeves and tackle the issues that have long been labeled the "third rail of politics." We must address the "Big Three" of our so-called "mandatory spending" — Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security — and do so in a way that keeps a safety net in place and also keeps our commitments to the generation of Americans who have been paying into the system their whole life.

We must return to a system that properly balances the role of individuals and the states with the federal government and we must have leaders willing to tell the American people the truth — we are out of money.

Some people worry that Utah can't have two freshman senators. I believe that many Utahns are grateful that voters 36 years ago did not buy that argument. You see, in 1976, Utah elected Orrin Hatch, just two years after electing Sen. Jake Garn. As a freshman, Hatch became chair of the Labor Committee and took on the unions across this nation.

Passion, drive, innovation and fresh ideas carried the day then and will carry the day now. Utah's reforms have helped our state be the best-managed state in the nation. We are on the right track in Utah. It's time those ideas made it to Washington — carried by those who have actually done it.

I graduated with high honors in economics from Brigham Young University and then earned my Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. I went to work for Bain Consulting, doing corporate turnarounds for failing companies, making them strong and profitable. The Bain model is to use data to make rational analyses. After my time at Bain, I spent time in the Fortune 500 world, then pursued my dream to be an entrepreneur and small business owner when I became the president and COO of a small company in Roy.

In 2008, I was elected to the Utah Senate, where I knuckled down and addressed problems that people said were "impossible" to fix. In spite of dire predictions that we could never fix our state's pension system, I worked a solid year and we passed the biggest financial reform bills in decades, saving the state billions of dollars.

In addition to reforming pensions for public employees, those reforms ended the practice of retiring on a Friday, coming back on Monday with a pension, a paycheck and a 401K plan, commonly called "double-dipping." We also eliminated pensions for legislators because elected officials do not need a better deal than everyone else.

The year following pension reform, I was tasked with tackling another seemingly insurmountable problem — Medicaid reform. I spent another year working to bring all parties to the table and crafted a bill that fundamentally restructured the Medicaid program in Utah. The reforms ensured the program would not bankrupt the state, and protects public education, higher education and other state priorities.

We can turn this ship of state around, but we cannot do it by continuing to send the same team to D.C. As with every other turnaround for failing companies, it's time to fire the management team that got us into this mess. With your help, we can get this country back on track.

Dan Liljenquist is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.