The only way to vote in the presidential primary (if you’re a Utah Republican) is to attend Caucus night March 5. I’ll vote for Nikki Haley for president — here’s why.

I voted for former President Donald Trump twice before. I agreed with some of his policies when he was president. But we have another choice for this election. We have a really good choice.

Some people want to vote for whoever is most “conservative.” Commentator David Frum says,

“If conservatism means protecting things that are precious in America, being mindful of the hazards of change, setting limits on power, setting limits on appetite, well, Donald Trump isn’t any of those things. Donald Trump is exactly the person and exactly the thing that conservative thought has always sought to exclude from power. The whole point of conservative politics has been that you want to have power distributed, you want to have power decentralized, you want to make sure that the people who come to power are people who both understand the constitutional restraints on power, but also have the personal, the character restraints on their own appetites. The anger and rage, the desire to target, the willingness to use methods that are anti-constitutional, the fascination with violence, these are characteristics of a different kind of politics than the kinds of politics in the past we have called conservative.”

—  David Frum, PBS News Hour

Trump added approximately $8 trillion to the national debt. This remains the single largest four-year increase in history.

Haley says government’s problem is spending, and data backs her up. She said, “Government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people. It was never meant to be all things to all people. We are seeing a bloated government that needs to go on a diet.” I’m impressed by that kind of principled policy direction and personal restraint. That’s conservative.

Haley’s parents were legal immigrants from India who taught her to be grateful to live in America. She and her husband Michael (who serves in the military) have been married for 26 years and have two children.

Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives for three terms and a two-term governor, Nikki Haley has extensive leadership experience. South Carolina was a national economic leader with a 15-year low in unemployment, over $20 billion in new capital investment and job growth in every county in South Carolina during her time as governor. She passed ethics reform, improved education, empowered parents and brought South Carolinians together when tragedy struck.

She was appointed by Trump to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., defended U.S. interests, worked to keep our country safe and championed human rights. She served as a member of the President’s Cabinet and on the National Security Council. Trump obviously thought highly of Haley to appoint her as an ambassador to the U.N. Now, his demeaning nickname for her is “bird brain.” He is vindictive, threatening those who donate to her campaign, saying, “They’ll be permanently barred from the MAGA camp.”

I believe a second term for Trump would embolden him to an even greater sense of revenge and self-interest. American journalist and author McKay Coppins said, “He’s made little secret of the fact that he felt burned by many in his first Cabinet. This time around, according to people in Trump’s orbit, he would prioritize obedience over credentials.”

Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said of Trump, “He will always put his own interests, and gratifying his own ego, ahead of everything else, including the Country’s interest.”

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster had the same experience, saying, “President Trump and other officials have repeatedly compromised our principles in pursuit of partisan advantage and personal gain.”

Scarlett Wilson was a prosecutor who worked with Haley in South Carolina. She said, “In all my years watching the leaders of our state come and go, Nikki Haley stands out for her grace and grit. Haley’s principled and strong leadership mended our state, and that makes me hopeful for what she can do for America.”

I believe in Ronald Reagan’s “big tent” where conservative values of law and order, fiscal restraint, morality and civility abound. I want a president who engages in constructive and collaborative governance — looking to the future, not the past. America deserves better than a president who is distracted with lawsuits alleging hush money to women for affairs, falsifying business records and other criminal prosecutions.

Trump said he “would encourage (Russia) to do whatever ... they want” to members of NATO who don’t pay their bills. We don’t need the leader of our country to constantly model reckless, fractious, argumentative, self-absorbed behavior. I have no interest in empowering leaders who call people names, bully and intimidate.

We have a choice. I choose respect. I choose honesty and integrity. I choose someone with extensive experience. I choose Nikki Haley.

On March 5 in the evening, I hope you will join me by attending your neighborhood caucus. That is the only way to vote in the Utah Republican Presidential Primary. Preregister and find your location here.

Kendalyn Harris is the mayor of Bountiful.