When Mike Lee challenged Bob Bennett in 2010, he promised Utahns that he would be a two-term senator. Long an outspoken proponent of term limits, in 2017 Lee went so far as to sign a formal pledge to pass legislation that would limit House members to three two-year terms and senators to two six-year terms. And yet, he is now running for a third term.
Utah deserves better.
Here are the top five reasons why Mike Lee must be voted out in 2022:
1. As referenced above, he, himself, believes senators should serve for only two terms. According to Mark Ward, a delegate to the 2010 Utah state Republican convention, “Lee promised the delegates, and later the voters, that unlike Bennett, [he] would keep his two-term promise.” In a post on his own website in 2017, Lee wrote that those who oppose term limits seek to “increase the power of Washington elites at the expense of everyone else.”
2. He refuses to listen to his constituents. The nonpartisan advocacy organization I founded in 2017 represents thousands of Lee’s constituents, and yet we were never able to secure a meeting with him. We met multiple times with Sen. Mitt Romney, with Rep. John Curtis and with every other member of the Utah delegation — but Lee could never be bothered. Both his attitude and his voting record suggest that he really doesn’t understand or care about the things that concern and affect most Utah residents.
3. He has shown himself to be a political opportunist. Lee presents himself as a great defender of the Constitution, but over the past few years, he has been willing to overlook blatant attacks on the Constitution if it somehow benefits his partisan agenda or political aspirations. Over and over, he has been willing to compromise his principles in pursuit of personal power. As just one example, he strongly denounced Trump after the release of the Hollywood Access tape in 2016 and went so far as to call on him to drop out of the race. But after Trump won, Lee quickly changed his tune and became one of Trump’s most loyal supporters. He even voted to acquit Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and opposed the formation of the Jan. 6 commission.
4. He has a troubling record as an obstructionist. In 2012, he vowed to block every judicial and executive branch nomination by President Barack Obama, for no apparent reason beyond partisan spite. In 2016, he was one of only two senators to vote against the opioids bill; in 2021, he pledged to oppose all of Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees (and was one of only two senators to vote against the nomination of Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense); and perhaps most egregious of all, he alone blocked an effort to establish Smithsonian museums for women and Latinos in 2020 — a measure that otherwise had unanimous bipartisan support in the Senate.
5. Finally, he leverages his religion for political gain. Who can forget that infamous and cringe-worthy moment at the rally in Goodyear, Arizona, in 2020 when, in an attempt to appeal to his fellow Latter-day Saints, Lee compared Trump to Captain Moroni.
Fortunately, Utah voters have a choice. Here are the top five reasons why Republican Becky Edwards, former state legislator, should replace Mike Lee:
1. She has a wealth of legislative experience and would bring a fresh perspective to Washington D.C., but has no desire to be a career politician. Edwards served in the Utah Legislature for 10 years, representing House District 20 (Davis County). Well-respected as a lawmaker by her colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Edwards is known as a listener and a problem solver with a record of addressing the issues that mattered most to her constituents (health care, education, affordable housing, clean air, etc.) and finding common-sense solutions.
2. She listens to constituents and works for them, not her own agenda. As a state legislator, she hosted weekly “Bagels and Briefings” at her home where she would sit with constituents, listen to their concerns, and brainstorm solutions. Then she would get to work. You can read about some of her legislative successes here. As a candidate, she is traveling the state with a yellow couch from her home where she sits and visits with the people of Utah and hears their concerns.
3. Her life experience is rich and filled with service to others, including as a mother and grandmother, a marriage and family therapist, a community and school volunteer, a state legislator and a humanitarian missionary in American Samoa. The research clearly shows that better decisions are made and better policies implemented when women are at the table. It’s long past time for Utah to have a female senator in Washington, D.C.
4. She is a unifier. She is warm, collegial, respectful, hard-working, kind, understanding and persuasive. We are all fed up with the divisiveness and hyper-partisanship that leads to gridlock in Washington. Becky knows how to work with others to get things done.
5. Her integrity is unassailable. She is a principled leader who values honesty and hard work and has genuine respect for the Constitution, the rule of law and our nation’s fundamental democratic ideals, processes, and institutions.
It’s difficult to unseat an incumbent, but it can be done. It will take all of us though — principled Republicans, moderates, independents and Democrats who are realistic enough to acknowledge that a Democrat is not going to win a Utah Senate seat in 2022. Becky’s surest route to getting on the ballot is gathering signatures. She’ll need 28,000 of them, including yours. Make sure you’re registered as a Republican, then find a #TeamBecky petition to sign. It’s time for a change.
Sharlee Mullins Glenn founded Mormon Women for Ethical Government in January 2017 and served as its executive director until 2019. She currently sits on the external advisory board of Brigham Young University’s Office of Civic Engagement and does volunteer work for Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS). The thoughts she expresses here are her own and not those of MWEG, BYU or IRIS —nonpartisan organizations that do not endorse political candidates or parties.