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Utah Eagle Forum gathers to discuss upcoming legislation


By ray parker

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jan 11 2013 03:23PM
Updated May 5, 2013 11:32PM

Peter Cannon of the Davis School District board prides himself on taking positions to the right of most public-education leaders.

And he’ll make his case for adding an economics requirement for high school graduation during the Utah Eagle Forum Convention Saturday, which is expected to draw about 300 people.

"We just had a presidential election focusing on the economy," Cannon, a Farmington retiree, said. "Our citizens are not educated enough in economics."

Cannon said he also would like to add a course on the "monetary benefits" of marriage in public schools, perhaps as a module in a psychology or health class.

"We do not teach the benefit of marriage in classrooms," Cannon said. "There are a lot of economic advantages to marriage and staying married.

"Many of the students today are not exposed to religion," he said.

Although even Cannon admits the marriage course may not fly, he said there are 22 other states that require macroeconomics as part of graduation. The states include neighboring Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming, Cannon said.

He joined the Davis County 9/12 Project, a tea party group, in 2009. Since then, the 59-year-old has been a full-time, unpaid citizen lobbyist when the Legislature convenes — including during interim meetings. He also is vice president of legislative affairs for the influential conservative Utah Eagle Forum, working alongside group’s president, Gayle Ruzicka.

The Utah Eagle Forum supports the following, according to its website: "Religious Liberty: We believe the founders of our nation had no intention of separating religion and state institutions. Their intent was to prevent government from establishing a single state religion. The purpose of the first amendment was to guarantee the free expression of religious values in any setting, public or private."

"We’ve had it [the convention] for over 20 years and just before the legislative session starts," Ruzicka said. "It’s very broad. We’re dealing with education, but three of the congressmen are talking about Benghazi."

Cannon expects to speak at 4:15 p.m.

"We have an economics course [in Utah], but I’d argue that’s microeconomics," Cannon said. "It doesn’t satisfy how government works, and what we really need is a macroeconomics course."

rparker@sltrib.com

Twitter@rayutah

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