A month before the 2020 presidential election, Sen. Mike Lee pointed to Donald Trump and instructed an Arizona rally crowd, “Think of him as Captain Moroni.

Many Utahns, fellow Republicans and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were rightfully upset with Lee’s statement, which compared a hero from LDS scripture to a man whose conduct often flies in the face of the way church teaches us to live our lives.

But it wasn’t just the flawed analogy that bothered me, personally. It was that an analogy between a politician and someone I consider a sacred religious figure was made at all. I was deeply disturbed to realize we had arrived at a place in our political discourse and in my party where some felt it appropriate to deify our elected officials. 

I believe the job of a U.S. senator is to serve the people they are elected to represent with humility and a willingness to listen. Their mission is to bring all kinds of people to the table to work together and find solutions to the problems facing their constituents. Politicians must be open to feedback and they must be able to course-correct when necessary.

This is why I opened my door to constituents for Bagels With Becky every Saturday during the legislative session for the 10 years I served as a Republican in the Utah House of Representatives. I’d sit with my constituents on my living room couch, and together we’d eat bagels while talking about their hopes, concerns and, sometimes, complaints.

Those conversations informed the many pieces of legislation I passed, and the type of legislator I became.

In keeping with that tradition, I’ve been traveling across the state since announcing my candidacy in May and I’ve heard from all kinds of voters in all kinds of places who are frustrated with Lee’s ineffectiveness. Throughout these conversations I’ve identified themes in Utahns’ aspirations and concerns for our future, which have shaped my three policy priorities:

  1. Family economic prosperity. We must support families from young adulthood to retirement by engaging in proactive conversations around health care, affordable housing, child care, family leave and education.
  2. Clean air. Our children, vulnerable populations and all Utahns have the right to go outside and enjoy our beautiful landscape without putting their health at risk. Our businesses should have the ability to recruit top talent without being hindered by poor air quality
  3. Immigration reform. Immigration has been an issue that politicians have kicked down the road. It’s time for us to secure our borders while ensuring those who arrive in this country legally and through the proper channels are afforded dignity.

These are big issues that require big solutions. They are not Republican or Democratic issues, but issues that affect every Utahn. They cannot be solved with platitudes or grandstanding, but through finding common ground, coalition building and grit, with a willingness to accept feedback, and to listen. While Lee is looking for the nearest camera or microphone, I am ready to tackle these issues in the U.S. Senate for every Utahn the same way I effectively tackled issues during the 10 years I served in the Utah Legislature.

I need your help to get there. Our campaign is in the midst of gathering signatures to ensure my place on the ballot for the June Republican primary. We need 28,000 registered Republicans to sign our signature packets. You can help by volunteering to gather signatures or by simply signing a packet at one of our signature gathering events.

In addition to gathering signatures, I will be supporting the caucus-convention path and look forward to joining delegates from across the state at the Utah State GOP Convention on April 23. The Republican nominee selected by delegates and any nominee who successfully gathers 28,000 signatures will be on the ballot for the June 28 Republican primary election. The winner of the primary election will face any independent or Democratic challengers in the November general election. 

The primary is our chance to show Lee we will not tolerate a leader interested only in political gain at the expense of decency, civility and reverence.

Utahns are tired of divisiveness, ineffectiveness and the extreme rhetoric Lee is so often known to deploy. This June we have a chance to unseat him and elect a leader who understands politics should not be about sowing division, a cult of personality or staunch obstructionism, but instead should be about solving problems and bettering the lives of those who elected them to office.

It’s time for more proactive, productive and inclusive leadership, and I’m ready to bring that leadership to Washington, D.C.