By Judy Moore, For the Deseret News
At my precinct caucus meeting, I nervously sat at a collection of four desks with my husband, my neighbor and my mom. I watched as people, a lot of them I knew, started to fill the room. There was an exciting yet uncertain feeling in the air.
I wondered what everyone was thinking? Was this their first time at caucus too? How many people wanted to be a delegate like me? I looked over my notes that I had typed on my phone as well as some scribbled ideas on paper. I came prepared with some thoughts about why I wanted to be a delegate. The GOP website said the nominees would be given a chance to speak. I wasn’t sure if I would be questioned about my stances so I wanted to be ready to review my positions.
I thought, “But what if nobody agrees with me? What if I look foolish or naive? Maybe I should just be quiet. Maybe this was a dumb idea. Maybe I should leave this to those who appear to know what they’re doing.”
The meeting started with a prayer and pledge of allegiance as well as a reading of the Republican Party platform. I had read the platform prior to the caucus and I was surprised with how much I agreed with it because I had always refused to align myself with a party. The meeting then moved onto the description of the various positions and the nominations began with the precinct chair and vice chair. It was was a little awkward but there were some reluctant nominations and a few kind people accept the positions.
Finally it’s time for the part I’ve been anticipating: the state delegate nominations. This was followed by the county delegate nominations. The nominees were given two minutes to talk. A few people were nominated and then my neighbor graciously nominates me. We had discussed this prior and I had also walked around my neighborhood and told my neighbors of my intentions to be a state delegate. I felt like I would have a better chance of being a delegate if they were informed prior to the meeting.
Several more nominees were added (I think there are seven of us total) and then the nominations are quickly closed. It’s time to say a few words and I listen to the nominees in front of me: “Anyone but Hatch,” “I like what the governor’s been doing,” “I just want to be involved….”
All of them speak off the cuff and when it’s my turn, I look to my cell phone and read/speak from my notes: “I took a trip to Independence Hall in Philadelphia…Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote ‘It’s a republic if you can keep it…’ constitution…liberty…free markets…less meddling in foreign affairs…individual and states’ rights…” 30 seconds the chair calls out…Already?…”less freedom with a large centralized gov’t…practice restraint when legislating… that’s how I will judge the candidates…I like to study and research…” I finish and sit down. What’s this? People are clapping for me and even some cheers. Are there like-minded people in this room? I feel relieved and validated.
The other nominees say their remarks: “balance the budget,” “no more Hatch.”
Then came time for voting. We’re allowed to vote for two nominees and voting will continue until someone receives at least 51 percent of the vote — which would amount to about 37 or more in our meeting.
Our votes are cast on scraps of paper and some ripped in half to accommodate the larger-than-normal crowd. I was told in past years there have been only 7-30 people who showed up. That day there were more than 70.
Volunteers collected the votes and left the room to do the counting while I chitchatted with my neighbors.
The votes come back and an announcement was made: “One person has received a majority of votes and that’s Judy Moore.”
Really?! People applaud and I nod in appreciation. I’m surprised and grateful.
Maybe I’m not so off-base. Maybe I can make a difference.
Judy Moore is a Republican state delegate in Precinct TAY025 in House District 4. She is a former microbiologist and currently a stay-at-home mom of four active, lively children. Moore is part of Utah Delegates, a group of delegates tweeting and blogging about their experience being a delegate in Utah. This group was assembled by KSL and the Deseret News. Follow them on Twitter: @UTDelegates