I’m here today to propose that we move the Utah Capitol back to Fillmore.
Fillmore was once our head city, back when Utah was still a territory and statehood was just a glimmer in Brigham Young’s eye. The territorial legislature designated the town in Millard County as the capital for its central location. Only one single legislative session was held in Fillmore, then the legislature designated Salt Lake City as the territorial capital. Salt Lake held as the top city when Utah finally transitioned from territory to state in 1896, and it remains the capital to this day.
But I believe it’s time to move our lawmaking back to the central Utah city with a population of 2,624 citizens. More specifically, to the Maverik, just off the freeway exit in Fillmore.
I’ve developed this belief after stopping at this Maverik approximately 57,000 times. It’s the designated potty break for our drive to and from St. George, the southern Utah city we flee to any time Salt Lake County feels excessively cold. So, a lot in the winter.
It’s my family’s designated spot because the gas pumps are plentiful, the bathrooms are clean, the snacks are fresh, the soda fountain has pebble ice, and there’s a grassy area where dogs can take care of their business.
Our most recent visit was this past Sunday. We found ourselves among our fellow weekend warriors, filling their gas tanks, filing into and out of the restrooms, selecting their Frito-Lay products of choice, and pouring fresh sodas into their 64-ounce refillable mugs.
The clientele seemed to represent all walks of life — high school kids in club jerseys with their frazzled chaperones, parents wearing diaper bags shepherding their children along the cookie racks, truckers stocking up on Monsters, and locals chatting with cashiers.
It appeared to me to be a perfect sample of the citizens of our state. I was half-tempted to conduct a political poll right then and there. “This,” I thought to myself, “is the place.”
The place where Utahns from every corner meet for a brief few moments over bathroom hand dryers and Charleston Chews. The place where they try to avoid eye contact with each other while they stand next to their cars, awkwardly waiting for the pump trigger to click off. The place where they help each other navigate the self-checkout machine until inevitably giving up and calling over a human cashier to assist.
The place where great things could happen if we endowed it with the power to govern the state.
So here’s what I propose: Any piece of proposed legislation should be presented at the Fillmore Maverik on a weekend afternoon. All citizens of Utah in the Maverik at that time will be required to vote in favor of or in opposition to the bill. If it passes, that’s a new law. If it fails, the lawmaker can revise the draft and present it on another weekend the following session.
You may worry that the average conglomerate of customers in the Fillmore Maverik may skew too far red or too far blue. Let me assure you — there are always pickup trucks and Subarus in the parking lot. Mounted bike racks and ATV trailers. Customers in hiking boots holding carabiner key rings, and customers in camo buying cans of Bucked Up. No Utahn will be left unrepresented.
Salt Lake City has had a good 150-year run as home to our capitol building and lawmaking privileges. But it’s time to return those privileges to the place where the people are, and where the burritos are always fresh off the Bonfire Grill.