Boyd Matheson: A run for office should be motivated by a vision, not by the candidate roster

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

As it relates to the Utah Senate race, we have heard nothing of vision. We have heard a lot about whose seat it is, who might run, who might not run, and a mind-numbing game of “I will run if so-and-so doesn’t,” or “I won’t run if so-and-so does,” and the highly confusing “I will run if so-and-so does not, but only if so-and-so also does not.”

The rumor mill is running rampant. The insider tongue-wagging is in high gear. And the hyper-analysis from pundits and politicos is pedal-to-the-metal in anticipation of the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Utah. With that election as a backdrop, it is a good time to remember what elections should be about. Elections are never supposed to be about what was, or even what is. Every election, at every level, should be about the future — about what is next.

Serving as chief of staff in a U.S. Senate office provided me many opportunities for interesting discussions with people who were considering running for public office. As the gatekeeper, I developed a checklist for rapidly assessing candidates. There are a few critical questions that supersede all the others when considering a potential political candidate: (1) What is the candidate’s vision, agenda or big idea? (2) What is it in the candidate’s agenda that would make the entire effort and sacrifice worth it, even if they ran and lost? (3) How would the candidate continue to contribute and make a difference if they did lose the election?

Candidates should take note that the American people are tired of politicians whose only vision is a vision of themselves in high office. Citizens are longing for authentic leaders who have a vision for their community, state and nation. I have long said that everyone wants to be an author — no one wants to be a writer. Everyone wants to be a senator — no one wants to be a candidate.

As it relates to the Utah Senate race, we have heard nothing of vision. We have heard a lot about whose seat it is, who might run, who might not run, and a mind-numbing game of “I will run if so-and-so doesn’t,” or “I won’t run if so-and-so does,” and the highly confusing “I will run if so-and-so does not, but only if so-and-so…

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