Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My legislator went to China and all I got was this lousy t-shirt: Sen. Mike Dmitrich

In Part 2 of our Better Know A Boondoggler series (not in any way affiliated with and/or stolen from Stephen Colbert), we feature the Minority Leader of the Utah Senate, a proud member of The China 14 destined for the province of Liaoning next month.

Sen. Mike Dmitrich (D-Price)

Occupation: Natural resources consultant

Sign: Libra

Likes: Knowing that 38 years in the legislature means never having to say you're sorry

Dislikes: Being limited to one taxpayer-funded vacation this summer

Legislative goal in China: "Goal? Who needs goals? My constituents wouldn't vote me out if I moved to China."


The Senate Site said...

Sen. Dmitrich is a good man and he is participating in this trip for the right reasons. Maybe you missed it. Cynicism is bad for your heart.

Voice of Utah said...

Attacking a person's action is not the same as attacking the person's overall character, Ric. Good people sometimes do bad things. Often they rationalize it until they sincerely believe it is legit, but it still pings the ol' b.s.-dar for the rest of us. We (along with almost every other non-politician we know who has followed this story), are calling b.s. on this one.

If there's a compelling justification that we've "missed," we'd love to hear it. We've read Valentine's thing, the Liaoning p.r. guy's thing, all the news stories we could find, and so far we haven't seen it.

We don't automatically assume that all such trips are b.s. For example, we thought Huntsman's trip to China with business leaders sounded well thought out, even before we learned that Huntsman's portion was privately funded. But hey, maybe if the China 14 release a detailed agenda showing who they're meeting with, the specific potential benefit from each meeting, the likelihood, process, and timing of such benefit -- you know, the stuff people like me have to show to get reimbursed for business development expenses -- we won't Better Know all 14 legislators.

The Senate Site said...

We gave the itinerary to the press last week. I'll PDF it and post a link here tomorrow. It won't be everything you're looking for but it will give you a better overview of the trip.

Your point about actions v. character is well taken. I may be a little sensitive on the subject - I see legislators who are genuine (most of the time) and sincerely trying to make good decisions (most of the time) and they tend to get far less credit than they deserve.


Voice of Utah said...

Fair enough. I hope that, a year or two down the road, we find ourselves issuing a wea culpa. Then we won't be grumpy old cynics any more.

The Senate Site said...

Thanks V of U. I hope the same thing.

I like what Mark Twain said (as quoted by Utah Phillips): "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."

Hopefully we'll deserve it. Government integrity is never a given, so I do appreciate folks being watchful (the Price of Liberty, says Jefferson) but the constant merciless negativity wears on me. I appreciated your classy response to my previous comment.

Here's the itinerary for the Liaoning Trip.