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Friday, January 27, 2006

We Know More

By Pete Knudson
Utah Senate Majority Leader

Despite what approaches a retraction in the Trib, the word seems to have spread that the President of the Senate proclaimed ‘we know more’ than the public.

I was sitting in the room when that comment was made.

In a conversation about SB 156 , President Valentine was asked if legislators feel they are smarter than voters. I recall President Valentine said, 'We are NOT smarter than the voters, but we know more.' Meaning, of course, legislators have access to more information and are more actively engaged in the process.

President Valentine was mischaracterized. I wish some reporters weren’t so quick to twist our words.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Dan Harrie said...

As government editor for The Tribune, I don't want to weigh in on the shooting back and forth; except to this extent: There was NO retraction in the Trib.
Let me repeat that: No retraction. Nor was there anything approaching a retraction.
Moreover, there was never a request for a retraction because, as far as I know, no one ever disputed the quote. Please let me know if there is.
Perhaps the Senator refers to a light-hearted blurb we call Heard on the Hill. In that, part of Sen. Valentine's quote was used and the second part -- the controversial one -- was cut by a copy editor for space. Thanks for letting me clarify.

1/28/2006 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand where Sen. Valentine is coming from. However, there is a perception that most legislators don't understand what the average Joe faces. The presumption that a legislator knows what is best for us is disturbing when we see them spend so much time on issues not relevant to our well-being such as disputing evolution in the class-room and worrying about what clubs our kids can belong to.

Can I atleast suggest that legislators are out of touch with the issues that face most Utahns. Legislators have spent alot of time focusing on those things that are important to them. I rarely see a legislator asking me or my friends what is important to us.

2/19/2006 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Swazey said...

This wasn't a mis-quote; it was a partial quote from a reporter that usually does better. I was in the room that day too, along with several senators and reporters. My impression was that Valentine was being helpful, friendly, and disarmingly honest. 'We aren't smarter but we do tend to know more...'

Of course he knows more. Look at the pile of information on his desk. He is at the epicenter of state policy and politics. He has access to information and is involved in discussions that the average citizen is not. Do you think the Trib reporter would have been hanging out in the President's Office if there was nothing he could learn by being there?

Familiar with wonky state political info is exactly what you vote/hire a legislator to be. Doesn’t mean Valentine is better or smarter. He’s just doing the job people elected him to do. But he used the wrong words, and one reporter was quick to jump on it. None of the other reporters made a big deal of it.

Giving readers a negative impression of politicians is like shooting fish in a barrel. Sometimes it is well-deserved. This time it wasn't.

6/21/2007 5:22 PM  

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