Full Text of My Convention Speech

As a child I had two interests, astronauts and presidents. I was so enamored of both that I asked for two kinds of birthday gifts. Model rockets and busts of Washington and Lincoln. I believed in the promise of America then, and I believe in the promise now. That the future is bright if we only reach for it. That our government does not need to be eliminated, but can work efficiently and do great things if good and ethical people are leading.

When I declared last November, I resolved to stand for what needed to be done to balance power in our country and lift the voice of the people. I promised to run a campaign that would make Democrats proud. I will not compromise Democratic values. I will not yield to those who wish to pollute our air and water, profiteer on the health of Americans, endanger our planet, and wage needless war. I will not prevaricate, equivocate, or discriminate on the problems of our day in order to appear appealing to all. I stand as a Democrat and I will speak as a Democrat and I will win as a Democrat.

Education, healthcare, defense, energy, the economy, equality. I challenge you to find one issue that isn’t poisoned by the influence of money in Washington. Because of Citizens United, our power is dwindling. I will not take PAC money now, nor will I ever. We can only fix the problem by not being part of the problem.

This year, out of 18 county conventions, I attended 16. Two were scheduled at the same time as other conventions. This year, this race, again I am proud to say I attended more county conventions than any other Democrat, because I want to meet and listen to each of you.

An organization in neighboring Colorado named CleanSlateNow.org is promoting candidates who have sworn off PAC donations. There are currently 26 candidates nationwide who are not accepting PAC money. I’m proud to say that most of them are Democrats. Today, I ask my fellow candidates to join with me in rejecting PAC money.

Now there are some who would maintain the status quo and preserve the imbalance of power. They mock the sincerity of our cause and the intelligence of the voter. There are some who would continue to subvert democracy in the name of greed. In the immortal words of Franklin Roosevelt, “I welcome their scorn.”

We need to run our races differently if we want to avoid the same result. We are facing a special-interest juggernaut this fall. Although I have proven I can raise considerable money within Utah, depending on Utah support alone is not a winning strategy. We must appeal to our countrymen in other states and give them a cause around which to rally. Nine out of ten Americans believe corporations and special interests have too much control over congress. We, in Utah, can lead by electing those who are willing to keep money from influencing our elections.

Four years ago, they said Barack Obama wasn’t electable. He won, not by tearing down his fellow candidates, Barack Obama won by giving people something to believe in.

If you elect me today, I swear to give it my all. I will work tirelessly and I will garner financial support from all 50 states instead of just one. I ask for your vote.

Democrats stand for privacy, balance, transparency, accountability and good government! Democrats stand for science, education, and healthcare for all! Democrats stand for equality, women, immigrants, working people, and all Americans! Democrats stand for democracy! Let us not shy away from our values, but stand tall together and be proud Democrats!

The words of Robert Kennedy guide me, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

County Conventions Underway, Volunteers Needed, Upcoming Debate Video Streaming

County Conventions Underway

Millard, Juab, Kane, San Pete, Cache, Weber, Iron, Wasatch, Emery, Carbon, Summit and Utah county! I’ve been enjoying getting out and about Utah again to listen to Democrats all over the state. The energy and enthusiasm is inspiring. My apologies to Washington and Grand counties, which I had to miss due to the overlapping schedules. I look forward to seeing you all again at the state convention on the 21st.

Volunteers Needed

Get an Ashdown for Senate T-Shirt and help the campaign by volunteering for the Salt Lake county convention on the 14th and the state convention on the 21st. Three volunteers will be drawn at random to sit at my table with a guest at the Taylor & Mayne dinner on the 20th. Sign up to volunteer here, and be sure to check the “Events” box. We will contact you with more details.

Upcoming Debate Streaming Link

I hope to see as many of you in person at the upcoming Democratic Debate, tomorrow at Juan Diego High School in Draper. If you can’t make it, the event will be streamed live on the Internet. Go to this web page to view it.

Democratic Debate, April 11th

Wednesday, April 11, at 7:00 PM, The Women’s Democratic Club of Utah will host a debate between Democrats Pete Ashdown and Scott Howell, candidates for Utah’s U.S. Senate seat now occupied by 6-term Senator Orrin Hatch, who is seeking a 7th term. The public is welcome to attend.

Juan Diego Catholic High School
300 East 11800 South, Draper (accessible via 12300 South and 300 East)
Doors open at 6:00 PM
Debate begins promptly at 7:00 PM and concludes at or before 8:30 PM

Details regarding possible radio broadcast and Internet streaming to be announced.

This is a letter asking you for money.

This is a letter asking you for money. Although there are many things to be outraged about in our current political system, I am emailing you with the frank needs of a U.S. Senate campaign rather than manipulation of your emotions for financial gain.

The primary plank of my 2012 campaign is a constitutional amendment requiring public financing for federal campaigns. Passing a constitutional amendment is not possible through a U.S. Senate seat alone, however, it is essential to enable more diverse political candidates to viably run for office. This is the only way to return health to our government and allow it to serve its true purpose, representing the needs of all of our citizens. The influence of money in Washington has gone over the brink. Past efforts to limit, restrict and regulate campaign finances have only resulted in preserving incumbency. We need a constitutional amendment to repair our democracy and make government work again for the people.

Once publicly financed candidates are elected, their first concern would be governing to serve all Americans rather than just serving the wealthiest few. Many politicians start out with good, honest intentions, but the current system of campaign finance muddies the water by making elected officials indebted to wealthy donors and PACs. Right now, Senator Hatch has nearly eight million dollars, with only 1% of that figure raised by small dollar individual donors. I can run a winning race on much less, but since I have decided not to take PAC money or seek bundled corporate individual donations, I need 100% of my funds to come from individuals like you.

March 31st marks the last day of the first quarter of my campaign fund raising. My campaign’s viability will be judged by the number of donors showing support as well as by the amount raised. If everyone who reads this letter donates $100, I can cover my campaign staff budget. I understand that this economy has tightened belts everywhere, but if you support the ideals I am running on, I humbly ask you to financially support my campaign with as much as you are able to right now.

Please accept my sincere thanks for your past support as well as for what you are doing now. Together we can make a real difference.

County Conventions

All of the county Democratic conventions are on my calendar now. I am going to try and attend as many as possible. In spite of having a possible airplane ride to St. George, I think there is a distinct possibility that there isn’t enough time to do both Weber County and Washington County conventions, which start 30 minutes apart from each other. In this case, I am asking for any volunteers in Washington, Iron, and Grand counties to represent my campaign to their conventions. Please email my staff to let them know if you would be willing.

I could also use some driving help to get to some of these conventions. Also email staff if you are able. You only need a current license, I will provide the transportation and gas.

Please attend your county convention! I look forward to seeing you there!

To All Caucus Chairs and Attendees

I prepared this short video with the intention of having it played at caucus meetings throughout the state of Utah. Since I will be attending my precinct caucus meeting tonight at 7:00PM, I need to have others share information about my campaign for U.S. Senate at their caucus meetings. In this short video, I briefly outline the primary points of my campaign for U.S. Senate 2012. Please let me know if you can help me spread my message by showing this video at your caucus meeting or if you know of others who are able to.

You can either stream the video from Youtube, or download it in advance for a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Please do the latter if you are unsure of Internet access at your caucus location. It is possible that older versions of Windows will not be able to playback this video. In this case, I recommend downloading VLC and using that for playback.

Also, if you are in Salt Lake City today, please drop by the campaign office at 780 E. South Temple between the hours of 2pm and 6pm and pick up some stickers, signs, and buttons to take to your meeting. Thank you for your participation in the democratic process.

If you do not know your caucus location for your precinct, you can find it via the state’s website here.

25,000+ Miles in 9 Minutes

During my 2006 U.S. Senate campaign, I rigged a small wireless camera to an embedded PC to take pictures out the window of my car and motorhome while travelling throughout Utah. Although the system didn’t always work, and sometimes the sun melted the glue on the velcro holding the camera to the dash, and sometimes it went out of focus, the result is an interesting stream of travel and stops throughout a statewide political race. You’ll catch glimpses of of the 25+ parades we did, beautiful scenery throughout the state, and a short breakdown outside Green River where I had to climb underneath and fix the motorhome.

Music is One Perfect Sunrise by Orbital.