Both of us call Utah home, but years ago we worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Andrea Wright Matlin worked for Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Tessa Hafen Stewart worked for Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada. Despite working for bosses on different sides of the aisle, we were very good friends, and remain so today. The same was true of Sens. Reid and Bennett, who served at a time when there was greater civility and respect than the current rancor and hostility so prevalent in today’s political realm.

Sen. Reid and Sen. Bennett felt strongly about their respective parties and the conservative or liberal positions to which they ascribed. However, they also worked together on many issues such as land and water, and other concerns of particular importance to the West.  

In his 2010 farewell address, Bennett said, “Yes, there is a difference between the two parties. Yes, we disagree. But if we can disagree in an effort to solve the problems of the country and be willing on occasion to say maybe the other side is right, we will move forward.”

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At the time of Bennett’s passing, Reid spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate and said, “Bob was blessed with an unshakeable moral compass.”

Both followed their gut, motivated by the desire to honor the office they held and serve with their conscience. They were good friends and had a deep respect for one another — despite differences in how they approached policy issues.

They always put country first. They loved America and felt a deep love for the state and people they each represented. They understood the importance of democracy and had great reverence for the U.S. Constitution

We have found these same qualities in Evan McMullin and, as former staff members for Democratic and Republican senators, strongly endorse him to serve as the next U.S. senator from Utah.

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We’ve found McMullin to be thoughtful, reasonable, honest and trustworthy. He’s been transparent about where he stands on policy issues. Voters may learn more about McMullin at, and at in-person events. 

You don’t have to take our word for it though. We encourage every Utahn to meet McMullin. He is approachable and accessible. He has been working around the clock, campaigning in every corner of this state. Find a location near you where McMullin will be holding an event, rally or house party, and go listen to him speak. Ask him the hard questions. Tell him what is important to you. And, of course, watch the upcoming debate on Oct. 17.  

McMullin won’t check every box for every voter, but we think you’ll like what you hear. You’ll find that you can trust him with your vote, particularly on the single most important issue facing our country today: protecting American democracy.  

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This race matters, nationally, and here at home. McMullin is in this race — and working tirelessly — so that Utahns may vote for a candidate who will protect our democracy. We have the opportunity to show Americans that Utahns support democracy and honor the U.S. Constitution — just as our bosses did. And, we have an opportunity to hold those accountable who actively worked to undermine democracy in America. 

Your vote matters. It’s a sacred responsibility with real consequence. We encourage you to vote for Evan McMullin!

Andrea Wright Matlin worked in Washington for Sen. Bob Bennett from 2000 to 2002. Tessa Hafen Stewart worked in Washington for Sen. Harry Reid from 1998-2006.