Our nation has a host of challenges and many in Washington are flailing about trying to create a new government-centered solution. I take pride in regularly reminding my colleagues of the fact that the great state of Utah is doing incredibly well. It provides me strength and encouragement when I get to come home each week and enjoy the benefits of what I have come to call "The Utah Model."
Here in Utah, we have thriving, close-knit communities that depend on one another. We are a fabric of intertwined associations: husbands and wives; parents and children; neighbors and neighborhoods; volunteers and congregations; employers and employees; clubs, teams, groups, and friends.
Our success stems from the strength of two separate but mutually reinforcing institutions: a free enterprise economy and a voluntary civil society. These two systems are not good because they work. They work because they are good.
Together, they work for everyone because they impel everyone to work together. They harness individuals' self-interest to the common good of the community, and ultimately the nation.
This "Utah Model," demonstrates that freedom in America does not mean we are on our own. It means we are all in this together! Our success in the state is what motivates me to fight to promote these values in Congress.
This year, we have had several debates in Washington that needed a heavy dose of the Utah Model. On guns, immigration and Obamacare, the Washington Model has been to grow the power and influence of the federal government while ignoring the real source of our challenges.
Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the country was rightly focused on steps we might take to help stop such horrible crimes from happening. Unfortunately, the proposals offered in the Senate, including the expansion of background checks, served primarily to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens, while doing little, if anything, to prevent the kind of tragic violent crime that took place.
Likewise on immigration, the "Gang of 8" bill was negotiated in secret by insiders and special interests, who then essentially offered it to Congress as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. It granted broad new powers to the same executive branch that today is mired in scandal for incompetence and abuse of power. And rather than fix our current immigration problems, the bill makes many of them worse.
And now, just months away from fully implementing Obamacare, which we always knew was going to be unaffordable, now we know it's also going to be unfair. When the president unilaterally decided not to enforce Obamacare's employer mandate, he was admitting that the law is not ready to implement. But instead of protecting all Americans from this train wreck, he chose to protect only big business, while unfairly forcing everyone else into Obamacare's unstable and unsound system.
We have some very serious challenges ahead and I am going to continue to need your input as we fight for limited government, job growth, a robust free market and thriving civil society. With your voice and the values of the "Utah Model," I am confident we can get our great country back on track.
I am holding a town hall in Plain City this week and would like to invite you and your neighbors to join me for an important discussion about these issues and the future of our country.
I hope you can attend this event on Thursday, Aug, 22, at 7 p.m. at the Senior Center at 4160 W., 2200 North in Plain City.
Lee, a Republican, is Utah's junior senator.