Utah Forward Party

Phil Boileau
Phil Boileau

About Phil Boileau

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  • published Priorities in About 2024-04-12 16:06:29 -0600

    Priorities

    This year's Priorities vote occurred at the Utah Forward Party Statewide Convention on April 27th, 2024. Review the full results here. Be sure you've subscribed to our mailing list for updates on how we're working to identify common ground solutions to the stated Priorities throughout the year.

    Top Priorities

    Top Priorities are defined as those that received the most votes at convention.

    Representative Voting Methods
    Current plurality voting methods lead to fear that votes for preferred candidates will be “wasted” if they’re not from the traditional parties, forcing voters to choose “the lesser of two evils.” Forward Party candidates should propose policies to institute more representative voting methods.

    Representative Voting Districts
    The practice of gerrymandering leads to an overrepresentation of the party currently in power and minimizes the importance of general elections. Forward Party candidates should propose solutions that give voters throughout the state a fair and equal opportunity to select elected officials that represent their views.

    Polarization in Primaries
    Many current elements of candidate selection in Utah, including closed primaries and the caucus system, exclude unaffiliated and independent voters. This has been shown to result in more polarizing nominees to the General Election. Forward Party candidates should propose solutions to democratize the primary process and thereby promote political engagement.

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    Priorities

    Priorities received at least 50% of the vote at the convention.

    Environment
    Rapid growth and climate change in Utah have led to significant challenges related to the availability of potable water, climate change, air quality, and public access to the canyons. Forward Party candidates should propose forward-thinking and holistic solutions to balance growth with sustainability and environmental stewardship.

    Great Salt Lake
    The Great Salt Lake is a vital and iconic feature in our state. Loss of water levels in the Great Salt Lake has already resulted in increased pollution and other health hazards and threatens much of the tourism that supports Utah's economy. Forward Party Candidates should propose solutions to secure the long term health of the Great Salt Lake.

    Housing Availability
    Housing prices have risen in Utah to unsustainable levels. Forward Party Candidates should propose solutions to increase the availability of affordable housing for families of all sizes.

    Homelessness
    The rate of homelessness is growing in Utah, and those who find themselves unhoused are deserving of compassion and assistance. Forward Party candidates should propose solutions to assist those who find themselves unhoused.

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    How Utah Forward Priorities Work

    What is a Priority, and how is it different from a traditional policy?

    A priority is an important matter that should be addressed by our elected officials. This is different from a policy, which is a proposed solution for a priority. Party policies are often enshrined in a party’s platform document.

    The Forward Party is not just a new political party. It's a new definition of what a party is supposed to be. Instead of assuming the best approach is through a top-down platform document, Utah Forwardists identify their priorities for themselves. The Party organizes open discussion around possible solutions, and candidates present their plans to address those priorities.

    This approach accomplishes two important things:

    1. It opens up the field to a range of propositions which encourages open debate and data-driven solutions.
    2. It forces candidates to articulate a clear plan to address each priority. Voters can then compare competing candidates using our priorities as a measuring stick.

    Priorities are also different from values (read about ours here). Values are abstract, common-sense tenets we try to adhere to, whereas priorities are more specific to the issues.

    How Priorities are identified

    Members of the community submit priorities. The priorities with the most votes at our Convention are designated as “top priorities.” On an ongoing basis, the Forward Party will dedicate its efforts to identifying common ground solutions to the top priorities. This is a new process which we expect to improve over time.

    Here are the the steps:

    1. Utah Forwardists submit their priorities via a form once the submission window opens (before the annual Convention).
    2. The Priorities Committee compiles the priorities into a comprehensive list. This will include merging similar suggestions and standardizing language. The Committee will exclude incendiary submissions that are deemed not to be in line with Forward's value of Grace and Tolerance.
    3. Participants at the state convention will use Approval Voting to vote for all of the proposed priorities they believe should be priorities for the coming year.
      1. Any priority approved by at least 50% will be included on the published list of Utah Priorities.
      2. The priorities that receive the most votes will be identified as our top priorities.

     


     


  • published Leadership Resources 2023-06-13 11:35:17 -0600

    Leadership Resources

    This is a page for resource links for Leadership - bookmark this page! If you have any other ideas for content links you'd like added here, ask Phil - [email protected].

     

    VOLUNTEER SIGNUPS & EVENT IDEAS - PLEASE USE ME!!!

    To help us stay organized and make sure our projections are correct, PLEASE HELP US KEEP TRACK OF WHO IS PLANNING TO VOLUNTEER FOR WHAT BY USING THESE FORMS.

     

    Forms, event/volunteer views, and other important links

    If you don't have access to something listed here, email [email protected]

    How to Communicate

    • DISCORD is by far the best way to stay active in this group. You can Direct Message (DM) anybody else (see Leaders List for Discord Handles), and you can use special characters to bring special attention to your messages for anyone in a group.
      • Use @[Discord name] to send a push notification to a particular person
      • Use @Utah to send a push notification to everybody in our Utah channel
      • Use #[channel name] to send a push notification to everybody subscribed to a channel
        • Most relevant - use #ut-leadership to send a message to all leaders! You can also @ roles, for example, @UT.Leadership, @UT.Salt Lake, etc. The roles typically have an associated channel so either works.
    • How to set up Discord
      • Follow this link: https://discord.com/invite/knmuFxfehD
      • Set up an account (if you don't have one already)
      • follow instructions found here (message Adam or Phil if you need access to the Admin drive) for setting up Discord notifications in a way that won't be annoying.
      • If you've been designated as a Leader, tag Adam (@wades10) in the #ut-discussion thread and mention your name. He'll add you to the private leadership thread.
      • Once you're set up on your desktop, add this app to your phone too! The notifications are most useful like this - otherwise you may miss out on important conversation.
    • To email the whole Leadership group: [email protected]

    Office Hours

    Every Thursday when we don't have All-Leader meetings (every Thursday except the first Thursday of the month), we'll be hosting "Office Hours". The concept is simple, this will be a predictable time when you can get Phil, Adam, Miles, or Laura's attention and support on any projects or issues that you've been having.

    If there is no interest, a meeting won't be automatically started, so you may need to ping Phil on Discord (PhilB#5995) or text (313.231.7968) in order to start the Google Meet

    Office Hours Details:

    How To add this page as an app to the home screen

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  • donated 2024-06-13 15:04:08 -0600

  • published Takes in About 2023-04-28 13:40:28 -0600

    Takes

    Adam's Take - July 2023
    Posted by · July 21, 2023 1:00 PM

    Phil's Take
    Posted by · April 28, 2023 1:40 PM

    See all posts

  • published Phil's Take - April 2023 in Takes 2023-04-28 13:40:05 -0600

    Phil's Take


    Gallup poll on Party Affiliations: https://news.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

     

    For what it’s worth here’s what I think: I think that whether or not you live in Utah, whether you’re a Democratic, Republican, or like me, a None-of-the-above, supporting the Utah Forward Party at this moment is a fundamentally productive thing to do. Really. A small expression of support here, in this specific moment, could have an outsized impact on the long term health of our country.

    Read on if you’re willing to hear me out.

    Facing the Problem


    Politics is broken, and our broader society has been unduly strained because of it. Everyone feels it in some way or another, and we’re all feeling pessimistic. Here’s why:

    1. Political power is derived from the approval of the masses - that’s a good thing.
    2. The approval of the masses can be manipulated by powerful entities like politicians, businesses and the media - that’s neither good nor bad, it’s just a fact of life.
    3. In the pursuit of power (and wealth), these entities have collectively decided that polarization is an easier sell than cooperation; it’s harder to run a campaign on productive solutions than it is to simply run against the other guys, “This idea might work” has been largely replaced by “That guy sucks.” - that’s a cynical thing.
    4. This polarization has bled out of the Beltway and into our living rooms. Many of us no longer believe in the possibility of compromise; four in ten Americans believe Civil War is at least “somewhat likely” in the next decade. - that’s a dangerous thing.

    Combine all this with a cocktail of incredibly volatile new technological advancements, disconcerting shifts in worldwide population density and resource consumption, and the global decline of small-d democratic values…I don’t want to say it’s a powder keg…but it might be a powder keg.

    In truth, maybe there’s nothing to be done. If you think nuclear war is already inevitable, or that the next pandemic is going to finish us off, or that we’re all about to become homogenous dehumanized cyborgs whether we opt in or not, then none of this matters and the efficacy of government has no role in any of it. Maybe this is just what it looks like when an empire declines.

    But that’s a little fatalistic, yeah? Aren’t some of these solvable problems? Shouldn’t politics be less ugly?

    So what do we do?


    I’ll start by asking you to listen, really listen, to what my friends at the Forward Party are trying to say:

    They’re saying productive political discourse built on compromise won’t exist unless it’s incentivized, and currently, the opposite is true. This is for two reasons:

    1. You don’t need to compromise if there are only two parties. Voter dissatisfaction is inevitable, so if you’re not in power, just spew a bunch of vitriol and wait out the pendulum swing. Eventually your team will take over and you can set your agenda then.
    2. The gerrymandering of districts and closed, simple majority voting systems mean the Primaries are now more significant than the General Election. This produces elected officials who are beholden to a more extreme sub-grouping within their respective parties and who believe that compromise shows weakness. This leaves the moderate center less represented than ever before.

    I actually think the solution is pretty straightforward:

    More parties means healthier dialogue and progress through compromise, and the path to more parties is through election reform. It also helps if you treat your rivals with a modicum of respect.

    I genuinely want both the Democrats and the Republicans to be better versions of themselves. At one time, they were meant to represent both sides of a reasonable philosophical debate about the role of government, not just the misplaced tribalism we see today. But there are no incentives for the parties to change on their own. I’m pretty certain that somebody else will have come along from the outside and save them from themselves.

    Why Forward?


    I’d rather not wait around for the next great national trauma to befall us before we’re spurred to action. Do we really need a presidential assassination attempt, or a terrorist attack, or for someone to self-immolate on TikTok before we’re spurred to seek solutions? Is that really what it takes to see a paradigm shift?

    I think that small moves made by well-meaning nerds have a better chance at really making the world turn. Enter Forward.

    I find it’s best to think Forward as both a movement and a political party.

    As a movement, Forward’s primary focus is on election reform, or the science and structure of how elections are optimally managed. This means changes to voting methods (Ranked-Choice Voting, Approval, STAR), campaign finance reform, open primaries, etc. A politician or voter therefore doesn’t have to be in the Forward Party to share the principles of the movement.

    But without real political power at our backs, we cannot reasonably expect meaningful progress on election reform; hence the Forward Party. It was founded to support candidates dedicated to Election Reform as a policy cornerstone, and to give a home to disenfranchised centrist candidates who’ve opted out of the toxic cycle of business-as-usual. It’s also redefining what a party is supposed to be - rather than a collection of specific stances on hot button issues, it’s a bottom-up framework for approaching those issues.




    Forward isn’t built on a radical ideology or as a fringe governmental philosophy, and by design it avoids the hot button issues that divide us, so we instead focus on what binds us. There are no plans to run a presidential candidate in 2024 or beyond and we’ll focus instead on local races, yet it still has a strong national voice. These are good reasons to believe Forward may succeed where third parties have historically faltered.

    I wonder if there are millions of Americans, from everyday voters to sitting members of congress, who align with Forward’s principles, but who remain reluctant to step up until this nascent ideology crosses some tipping point, and the experiment becomes viable.

    Why Utah?


    Like all political movements, Forward needs to be rooted at the local level. I believe Utah is particularly well-positioned to succeed in gaining local traction.

    Over the last few election cycles, Utah has also shown itself to be more amenable to independent thinking; let’s call it the frontier spirit. In Utah there are currently more unaffiliated voters than registered Democrats. This is the state where 73% of Democrats support a Republican Senator (Mitt Romney) and 48% of Democrats support a Republican Governor (Spencer Cox).

    Utah is just one square on the gameboard, but I believe its position is strategically significant. If you agree with how I define the problem, and you see Forward as a potential solution, the success of our efforts in Utah may have outsized national reverberations. It makes sense, right?

    How do we make progress?


    The good news is Utah has a comparatively simple process for new political parties to gain legal recognition and ballot access. We need 2000 signatures and to host a convention to elect officers and ratify a party constitution. Those are our crucial next steps. That’s eminently achievable, but that effort requires volunteers and resources.

    Here’s what you can do to help:

    • If you live in Utah, sign our petition. If you want to do more, we can give you a signature packet to distribute to your friends and family, or you can simply join our mailing list to stay apprised of future opportunities.
    • If you live outside of Utah, consider making a donation (here’s my fundraising page), and check out the National website to learn more about the Forward Approach and to connect with Forwardists in your state (we’re in all 50).

    In the very least, try to not be angry with people about their politics; their truth is not your own, and I’m pretty certain there’s more to be gained from listening than from shouting. Thanks for listening to me.

    Phil Boileau
    Outreach Lead, Forward Utah

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