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Deidre Henderson: I’m running for Congress as conservative ‘voice of the little guy’

Food trucks at the Utah State Capitol on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017.
Food trucks at the Utah State Capitol on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting a food truck rally and stopped to talk with Clayton Johnson at his PyroManiacs Pizza truck. He told me the bill I sponsored in the state Senate earlier this year will save him an estimated $20,000 a year in compliance costs and licensing fees. “We are in the business of making pizza and making money,” he said, “not in the business of doing paperwork.”

I could not have been more pleased. A lot of protectionism had been going on, with some cities banning food trucks outright and others technically allowing them but saddling them with heavy fees and oppressive regulations. The voice of the little guy — in this case food truck owners — is often drowned out by the cacophony of loud and large voices that always seem to have a seat at the government’s table. Food truck owners like Clayton needed a voice to speak up for them and help them remove unfair barriers so they could make a living. I was happy to be their voice.

This is just one example of the tangible results of my work during five years in the Utah Senate. I’ve consistently cut the bureaucratic red tape that impedes people's ability to do business.

Some regulations are well-meaning but have unintended negative consequences. Other times, though, regulatory power is used as a club to beat back competition, even requiring new business owners to ask their direct competitors for permission to operate.

In one instance, a rule-making committee of appointed individuals — all of whom were private citizens — abused their regulatory authority by using protectionist rules to obstruct state law and discriminate against their competitors. The committee held public meetings with no public notice and dared their competitors to take their complaints to the Legislature.

This went on for 11 years until I sponsored three bills that stopped it. Now we have more checks and balances to prevent government-appointed committees from using regulatory power to obstruct the law and restrain the trade of their competitors.

In another instance, contact lens manufacturers had begun implementing predatory, anti-competitive pricing schemes. I sponsored a bill to once again allow people to benefit from shopping around to find the best price for their contact lenses. This legislation protects the free market and benefits consumers. A lot of people talk about reducing the size and scope of government. I’ve actually done it. I have been a consistent voice for consumers and for business owners like Clayton Johnson by eliminating unnecessary rules and streamlining regulatory processes.

One of the main reasons I am running for Congress in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District is to do in Washington what I have done in Utah — to be the voice of my constituents in getting government out of their way.

My goal is to leave Washington less powerful than I found it.

Deidre Henderson (R) is running to fill Jason Chaffetz's seat in the 3rd Congressional District.