As promised, these are the "Live" blog notes from Pete Ashdown on KUER's Radio West, Sept 20, 2006. Get it on podcast if you desire. An hour well-spent.
Without further a-do:
His ancestry comes not only from those who settled Utah, both those from Plymouth Rock as well. These were all people who were unhappy with their current situation.
His Mother came to Utah alone from Denmark after the war to make a better life for herself. (Which makes him okay in my book.)
Comes from a blue collar democratic family. Education and morals-based upbringing. Told to choose their own path, make their own decisions.
His mother has since passed away. Father is the biggest Cheer-leader.
There was an expectation that the kids would make something of themselves.
Family was taught the value of hard work. Family worked together in entrepreneurial pursuits.
Pete is committed to finding the cutting edge whether in technology, or music, or whatever it is. Space program was fascination to him. Saw a bright future for the country and the world.
Eternal optimist - great opportunities abound for all people.
Considered going to out-of-state school, but decided to go to U of U. Travelled out of Utah, but wanted to stay in Utah and raise his family and run his business.
His business and business model says the most about him - not an MBA background, but a bootstraps, entrepreneur background... wanted to do something that he himself would want to subscribe to as a customer. Took experience from two employers, Evans & Southerland and IHC. knew what he wanted to change about his corporate culture from those corporate experiences.
Most important is a good work environment for workers. Wants employees to grow and flourish.
Giving back to community, non-profits get free web space from X-Mission.
Has left X-Mission full time to campaign.
Business has to make money, and be compassionate as well. Companies need a philosophy of giving back and being compassionate to their community. Best advertising is word of mouth for his business. People come to him because of his policies with non-profits. Businesses don't need an exit strategy, they need an existence strategy. Serve the community. Has turned down numerous offers to sell the business because they didn't benefit the community.
First computer was an Apple IIe. Discovered modem communications with that.
Was reluctant as a Democrat at first. Party politics by and large, is about going with the flow. He didn't like that.
Hugh B Brown, LDS Apostle, stated that he was a democrat because democrats are kinder to the poor. This is what his mother told him when he asked her why they were democrats growing up.
Hard to win as a democrat, but it's even harder to win as an independent.
Democrats put the individual at the top of the pyramid, Republicans put business at the top of the pyramid, expecting business to take care of the individual.
Believes it would be a good model if businesses actually did this, but they DON'T.
Wants to be a leader, not a follower - has no ties to Washington, accepts no money on a national basis.
His opponent goes against all of the above.
Q: How do you thing this race can be anything but a waste of family and business assets in this state. A: No personal and business assets at risk in this campaign. Money is root of all evil in American Politics. Needs to be changed. Google, eBay, MySpace all rise to a level of new attention without much advertising at all. Politics needs to be that was as well. Personal networking is more effective advertising. Word of mouth is powerful. We need to shift the paradigm. We have representation of ex-attorneys, big businessmen. We need OTHER types of people there. Shouldn't need millions of dollars to be a politician.
Q: What do you call a senator who's been in Washington for 18 years? A: HOME. People who were around in 1976 know what he campaigned on, and people do bring it up. But we want to talk about new ideas, new issues, not old rhetoric. Democracy comes through communication with people. transparency is critical to the freedoms we enjoy.
Q: Guns and gun control? A: Views have changed a bit based on the information gathered from the WIKI platform on his campaign website. at the beginning, gun control was reasonable to him, but now it punishing the innocent - criminals will get a gun anyway. Gun control is not useful. Bearing arms should be allowed, and constitution should be followed here.
Lobbying on the hill, people were surprised he declared as a Democrat when they thought he sounded more like a Libertarian. There is a shift in the west, such as that with Brian Schweitzer (MT), if it's none of your business, it's none of your business, and government should stay out of the issues like that. Moral issues as well. Unless there's a minor involved or someone who didn't give consent, government should stay out of it.
"Liberty is not how I describe my own freedoms, it's how I define the freedoms of those with whom I disagree."
Q: How will you overcome and appeal to the people who vote with blind faith in Orrin Hatch? I have concern for my children's future - the debt they are being shackled with. The republican party no longer follows the fiscal restraint it once did. no longer upholds the ideals that it once did - first and foremost the Ideal of small government, and of fiscal responsibility. In 1976 Hatch said he would resign if he couldn't balance the budget and make government smaller. Campaign promises are cheap. He hasn't resigned. Senator Hatch has not shown discretion with keeping his mouth shut with regard to Asama Bin Laden. Shortly after 9-11 Hatch told the AP that we were monitoring his satellite phone. Shortly after that, the satellite phone went dead, and we still don't have Bin Laden. That's not good judgment. Employees like that get fired.
Talked about WIKI campaign. Guns position has changed a bit. Other areas? Iraq - debate not moving forward. No other solutions being put forward. We should ask the Iraqi people if we should stay or not, if they want democracy, We should put that to the test - if they want us to stay great, or leave, fine. This moves the debate ahead.
Went to Washington last week, talked about Iraq, talked about transparency, but there hasn't been any politicians willing to open up. No leaders are willing to become transparent. Lack of democratic leadership. He can help that.
Stop buying Iranian oil. We finance Hezbollah when we buy Iran's oil, but we keep doing it anyway.
We need to have the courage to stand up and say we aren't going to do this anymore.
Q: how do you feel about living wages and minimum wage. A: started X-Mission by hiring people at 7 per hour WITH full benefits. He was making less than that at the time. It was hard to get by. Entry level now is 11 with bennies. Many companies can't do this, but there are many more who CAN but refuse to take responsibility for their employees, and are fine with them being wards of the state in terms of health care, etc. Costco vs Walmart... Costco pays full benefits, walmart is always under fire. Minimum wages should be raised. Businesses should be held accountable.
Q: How do you respond to people who criticize you for using your unique internet business to promote your campaign? A: he has declared everything as an "in kind" donation to his campaign. He has also offered free web space to any other candidates as well. Communication and free speech is the essential ingredient in levelling the playing field in politics.
Q: Immigration? A: Need to reform legal system. It is inadequate for the demand that is upon us right now. Secure borders - no long fence... department of defence monitoring is better. National Guard. Send illegals home who come across illegally. Do it legally. Green river couple deported example of how broken it is.. once it is fixed, HOLD EMPLOYERS ACCOUNTABLE. No guest worker program.
Q: dems more fact-based, repubs more faith-based... how to reconcile? A: he can't compete with God... if somebody believes Repubs ordained of God, there is no way to change that. it's a generalization, but everyone should have a seat at the table. All Americans. Expand democracy.
Q: School vouchers A: If government is going to give money to schools it needs to be non-discriminatory. When you get extremists starting a school, money should stay away from that. The better answer is full funding for PUBLIC schools first.
Q: Incremental gas taxes to discourage conspicuous consumption? A: Hatch says it is a good idea. Sides with Hatch on this one. high gas prices hurt all aspects of the economy. We have great opportunity to exploit alternative fuels... Utah should take a lead here, but they just look for more oil.
Q: how has being a candidate changed you? A: He was an introvert. It's a journey for him to become an extrovert. Everybody should try to be a candidate. It will make you a better person.