Guest editorial: In voting to replace Prop 3, Tim Quinn ignored the voice of his constituents
February 23, 2019
In a recent edition of the Wasatch Wave, Rep. Tim Quinn, R-Heber, published a message to the voters of Utah House District 54. He explained, including visual aids, why he voted for S.B. 96, overriding the will of Utah voters regarding Medicaid expansion. He seems to have overlooked the fact that his constituents voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 3 with the intent of coming to the aid of many good people of Utah.
He wrote of "principles of compassion and concern" while explaining that overriding the will of the voters is "what happens when people of different views work tirelessly together." His visual aid cited creation of "programs to help people toward self-sufficiency." He used nice, politically acceptable buzz words to justify his vote.
Sen. Allen Christensen, R-Ogden, was a little more straightforward when he said, "(Prop 3) got passed without a thorough understanding of what it was." (Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 10 and Jan. 25) In other words, the people of Utah aren't smart enough to look out for their own best interest.
This hubris is a rejection of our collective intelligence. We have all read and heard about Prop 3 almost daily in whatever news channel we chose. There were plenty of articles both for and against it so we all had an opportunity to understand what we voted for.
No one was forced to vote on any propositions. This was not a simple party line vote; we didn't get to just choose R or D. Instead, each of us had to consider our personal values and vote according to our beliefs. For some of us, those beliefs include this simple Bible phrase: "Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Rep. Quinn has certainly "done it" unto the least of our fellow Utahns. He chose to withhold medical care from some working and low-income folks who lack access to health care provided in many other U.S. states and in nations around the world. Also, Proposition 3, as written, could have gone into effect this April. S.B. 96, on the other hand, will require a waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services, which may delay start up — if it's granted. It's tough to wait for health care when you need it and it's tough to be self-sufficient when you are in poor health.
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In addition to winning the overall vote statewide, Proposition 3 earned majority support in 17 out of 29 state Senate districts and 44 out of 75 state House districts, including our House District 54, which Mr. Quinn represents. It seems the people of Utah spoke with a pretty clear message — which Rep. Quinn chose to ignore.
Please consider another set of facts: Rep. Quinn won the 2016 election by 162 votes in District 54, which includes Wasatch County and part of Summit County. The person he defeated would have voted for Prop 3. Quinn's very small margin of victory was considerably less than the number of favorable votes in this area for Proposition 3. Prop 3 won by 387 votes in Wasatch County and 5,934 in Summit County.
The next voting opportunity for this House district is in 2020. Let's hope we can find a candidate who will hear our voices, trust our judgment, and vote accordingly.
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