The American experiment represented a departure into the political unknown. The founders were willing to risk it all to test the theory that people can govern themselves. Today, the phrase implies that we must protect the outstanding quality of life we’ve worked so hard to achieve in our state and our country. We need elected representatives at all levels who understand and respect our founding principles to accomplish this feat. The good news is that Utah has Sen. Mike Lee, one of the nation’s leading constitutionalists, on our side.

Since his election in 2010, I’ve gotten to know Lee well. I know he understands the liberty of future generations depends on a commitment to the founding values. He knows while the American experiment has been a success, each generation is responsible for carrying the torch.

Utah has seen the success a state can experience when engaged in a strategic partnership with the federal government. Conversely, we know the failure resulting from an overzealous federal government that doesn’t understand the needs of the state or its people. Our state’s success is in large part because Lee is willing to champion the state’s role.

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As we tackle challenges, we must think locally to solve big problems. Lee understands the federal government is not the state’s peer, but the states should be overseeing the federal government. For Utah to maintain its successful outcomes, we need a senator in the federal government willing to stand up for state authority. 

We need a leader with a thorough understanding of these dynamics, considering that the federal government owns more than half of the land in Utah. Many Utahns have become accustomed to the inconveniences and loss of revenues resulting from federal land ownership. As evidence of his expertise on the issue, Lee introduced a creative legislative strategy to alleviate the state’s housing crisis by allowing the state to purchase federal land for housing development. Legislation like this demonstrates the legislative skill needed to pursue and execute opportunities that strengthen state and federal government relations and help Utahns.

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This is the type of leadership we need to represent our great state. Our ability to self-govern has made us the fastest-growing state, best economic outlook and historically low unemployment. Rather than going into debt as the federal government does, Utah prepares for downturns and creates rainy-day funds. Rather than raising taxes and laying off teachers during a pandemic, Utah provided Utahns tax relief and bonuses to teachers. Utah succeeds when it makes decisions for itself.

Our partnership represents a success story in the ongoing American experiment. It’s an example of what’s possible when state and federal officials work together within their proper constitutional roles. To ensure that we retain and enhance our quality of life and pass it on to our children and grandchildren, we must elect leaders dedicated to carrying that responsibility. That task is best achieved with Lee in the Senate and why he has my full support.

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J. Stuart Adams is president of the Utah Senate.