Marina Gomberg offers 15 tips for surviving Utah’s legislative session

Persistence, humor and hydration are all keys to making it through.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Marina Gomberg.

Whether you’re a new Utah transplant or an old hat at beehivin’, the Utah Legislature’s upcoming session can be about as easy to witness and endure as Kevin McCarthy’s bid for Speaker of the House —painful at times in the ratio of governing and policy to greed and pride.

Now, I’m no expert, but I have survived 100% of the Utah sessions I’ve experienced, so I made a quick guide for anyone interested or in need when the Legislature starts the 2023 session on Tuesday. After all, luck favors the prepared.

  1. Drink lots of water. We can’t have you drying up like the Great Salt Lake if you want to thrive during the sesh.

  2. Speaking of drinking, especially as dry January ends, it’s prudent to know when the liquor stores are closed. Don’t be caught off guard when disappointment or dismay strikes (and it likely will).

  3. Prepare to support our transgender family and friends, because the session hasn’t even started and Utah is one of 11 states with pre-filed bills attacking some of our greatest and most vulnerable.

  4. This is also true of those with uteri. If you appreciate your bodily autonomy, do what you can to ensure everyone is in charge of their own bag of bones and babymakers.

  5. In fact, stock up on poster board and markers now, because there will be rallies.

  6. Relatedly, waterproof your boots now, since weather doesn’t stop the determined.

  7. Consider getting yourself a smog mask (see #6), so you can march and holler without compromising your health.

  8. Keep pressure on your elected officials to improve our air quality. It isn’t just topography that makes our air unhealthy and nearly chewable.

  9. Make things easier on yourself by putting your legislators on speed dial. You’re likely going to be inspired to call them, perhaps repeatedly.

  10. Subscribe to The Tribune’s new (free) politics-focused newsletter, The Daily Buzz, so you can sate your political curiosities and start each day with the information you need.

  11. Practice your deep breathing. You’ll need it (but when outside, rely on that smog mask).

  12. Make sure your medical cannabis card is up-to-date and/or have bland foods around the house, as increased nausea can be a common side effect.

  13. Remember that what separates Republicans and Democrats is just an aisle. We navigate them all the time for groceries, weddings and on planes, so don’t fear the middle ground.

  14. Though, if you are afraid, take time to stretch. Flexibility in politics and life can reduce significant strain. (Now I’m not suggesting anyone forfeit their values, but progress is almost always born of compromise, so do a little warm-up and luuuunge, baby.)

  15. Lean into trust and humor, my friends. We’re all doing our best to make our state a better place — and while that looks different for each of us, we will all fare better if we’re looking for each others’ humanity rather than foibles.

Good luck out there. I’m rooting for you.

Marina Gomberg is a professional communicator, a practicing optimist and a lover of love. She lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey, and their dog, Mr. Noodle. You can reach Marina at mgomberg@sltrib.com.

Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.