TICKET TO TAMPA “Romney can thank me later”

First Class or Economy? That was the question.  I am so fortunate to be elected to attend the 2012 National Convention in Tampa, Florida at the end of August. An honoGone Votingr yes, but with that honor comes the “privilege” of paying for it.

I woke up puzzling… Should I, for the first time in my life fly First Class? Make it fun, get the royal treatment? Maybe justify it as a 50th birthday gift to myself?  I looked up fares. The average First Class round trip runs about $2K. I am not a frequent flyer, no perks there. I am however a frequent driver of the 6 hour round trip to Salt Lake City, but they don’t offer rural folks free gas cards for that.

Then I had an epiphany. I pictured Michelle Scharf and I watching all our VIP friends load into the First Class seats while we sat by the bathrooms in Economy and I remembered, “We are the fun people, we are the great sports, we are like the majority of Americans, Economy is part of the adventure of life, if I were in First Class and saw Michelle and I in the back of the plane, I would swap my First Class seat in a heartbeat to hang out with funny, life loving people!”

I’ve always been a “bloom where you’re planted” kind of girl. I have never had a “First Class” kind of life and if I did, I am pretty sure it would bore me. So even though I could have paid for it, I couldn’t see spending my hard earned money or my husband’s on this frivolous pleasure.

When Mike Lee was running for Senate I remember telling him “When you are rich and famous and you’re struggling with humility, just remember you have a friend in Vernal, whose mailbox is welded to a tire rim.”

Although I’m excited to travel and attend the convention, I secretly think Romney should be excited to have Michelle and I blowing our summer fun money to vote for him.



Joni Crane at Uintah County 2012 Lincoln Day Dinner

Joni Crane (Working AND having fun) at the Uintah County 2012 Lincoln Day Dinner, over 500 people met their elected officials or stayed for dinner and candidate speeches!

I’m “just a mom” from Vernal, Utah. Like many other people in the Uintah Basin, I have become frustrated with the political climate in our nation. My family, like many of yours, has been impacted by the Department of Interiors grab of oil leases that would have helped our economy here in the basin.

The mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance from a company in the red (the US Government), pay Cap and Tax energy fees, and bail out private companies – and even entire states – has my checkbook balance looking slimmer by the hour. Folks where I live are, (for the most part), great stewards of public lands and forests. We play with our children, camp with our families, provide food for the winter months, and find pleasure and relaxation fishing and camping. Being a Cub Scout leader, of course I love the outdoors, and I teach my scouts to be conscious of their impact on the environment.

So the million dollar question is, “What Can One Person Change”? Well, it turns out that it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I tend to lean Republican but had become disenfranchised by many of the GOP’s liberal ideas that made it hard to tell them apart from the Democrats in Washington DC. I wondered: “Do I really want to be a Republican anymore?” I re-read the platform of the Republican Party and realized it was not me that had strayed from the ideals listed, but the party itself that had strayed. Believing strongly in the stated platform, I decided to do my part to help my party return to its’ fundamental values.

My friend Verena has a favorite quote that goes like this “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” The seeds of today are my children as I see it, and I need to help get our country back on track today for them. That’s the only way I can see them blossoming into the adults I hope they’ll become. Because of those feelings, I made a call to a high ranking Uintah County GOP person and stated that I would like to be a bit more involved. I felt it was my patriotic duty. I am descended from eight Revolutionary War Patriots and it seemed the least I could do.

Time passed. I hoped they would give me some little job so I could feel like I was making a small difference. Not long after, sitting in a Vernal Band Booster club meeting, I received a phone call from a friend. She told me I would have to attend a lot more meetings since I was just “nominated and elected to the Uintah County Republican Party Central Committee.” “What? You’re kidding, aren’t you? Do you know my political views? I haven’t been happy with the GOP lately, I went to a Tea Party rally, I watch Glenn Beck, and to top it off, I just got my concealed weapons permit. Do you want to take a day and sleep on this?”

I was told there was room for me and my views on the Uintah County Committee, and I have been warmly welcomed by many people who serve on this committee and who I admire greatly. In the short time I have served on this committee, I have been shocked at how much I didn’t know about local, neighborhood politics. I worked in Washington DC for the Illinois Congressional Delegation and planned events in the U.S. Capital, but had no idea how a neighborhood caucus meeting worked.

So here’s the skinny: Every neighborhood has a precinct area. It is defined on a map by the county. There are about twenty-six precincts in Uintah County alone. On March 23rd of this year, each precinct in the state will hold a caucus meeting at 7 pm. The locations will be announced in your local paper. At this neighborhood caucus, a Precinct Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer will be elected. Also at this meeting State Delegates and County Delegates will be elected. (In some precincts, turnout is so low that they cannot fill all four officer positions and officers serve as delegates as well.)

State delegates attend the state convention (on May 8th this year) and will be voting on state-wide races – governor, Congressman, Senator and the state officials whose districts cross multiple counties. The county delegates attend their county convention (this year, Uintah and Duchesne counties are holding theirs on April 20). They vote for people holding county-wide positions – county commissioners, sheriff, etc. If you are one of the few people who actually attend your neighborhood caucus, you are VERY likely to be elected to one of these positions.

If you are a delegate, you make a big difference by helping select local and state officials who will run for election. If any one delegate receives more than 60% of the delegate’s votes, they do not have to run in a primary. That person is automatically the party candidate. It is that simple. Your one vote could mean the difference between a costly primary or a party nominee who won at convention.

So, the next time we all want to moan about what awful people are representing us, we need to take a good look at our calendars to see what was so important on Caucus Night that we couldn’t leave our house for a few minutes to make the world a little better. By deciding what you believe now, you’re in a position not only to influence the election, but to be agents of change in your very own neighborhood and community.

You will have an opportunity to scrutinize every issue at stake today, to decide which ones matter to you and to cast your vote confidently in order to create the world you want to live in and want your children to inherit.

Update: Since writing this article I have been elected as the Uintah County Chairman, was elected to serve as the 2nd District Congressional Rep to the UTGOP Executive Committee and am currently serving as the 1st District Congressional Rep to the Executive Committee.

Also, I was just elected as an Alternate National Delegate and will be heading to Tampa for the 2012 National Convention. I have stayed true to my commitment to get Platform Republicans elected and to try to influence those who have lost their focus to recommit to the principles our founders embraced. One person can actually make a difference, if I can, you can. Just do it.


Glenda the good witch of the north from the movie "The Wizard of Oz"

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Last week my kids and I sat down to watch The Wizard of Oz, an American classic that all true blue patriots love! And it made me wonder what the appeal was to the typical American. I am sure my very liberal English literature teacher would not agree, but this is my perspective.

As I saw the tornado coming for Dorothy and cringed as her family locked her out of the storm cellar. I realized this is how many patriotic Americans including myself are feeling right now. The movie progressed, and the feelings and similarities were staggering…

The tornado is like the new Progressive agenda that is steamrolling through our country. The storm cellar door, reminds me of the congressional committee doors that have been locked or re-keyed to keep out opposing views.

I realized, as the house went flipping through the sky and crash landed, that like Dorothy, we are “not in Kansas anymore.” Kansas represents the flawed but stable world as we knew it.

We have already realized in this mess, that there are good witches like Glenda (believers in the founding fathers and our Constitution) and bad witches of both the East and West (officials who quote Mao, love Stalin and minimize the tragedies of Marxism,  Socialism, and Communism).

As Dorothy makes her way down the yellow brick road, which I see as the hope for a return home to our constitutional foundation, she encounters the Scarecrow  who is in search of understanding. Like many of us who have not actively participated in our government, he represents those who are re-learning and re-thinking the reasons and principles behind our founding fathers contributions to our Constitution.

When they come upon the Tin Man who is seeking for a heart and compassion, logical reasoning, I think of our small business owners who are being left behind. Who would love to offer all they could to reliable employees but have been taxed and regulated to the point of bankruptcy.

And then of course there is the Cowardly Lion, which brings to mind disenfranchised citizens who ask themselves “What more can I do than vote?” I say to them, be brave, go out and actively live you beliefs, share your beliefs, and promote your beliefs publicly.  The brave are serving in our armed forces, are standing up against incredible odds and telling us the truth. Repay them by having the courage to speak and participate.

The main lesson in the movie though, is that we stop looking to pretenders to solve our problems for us. How do we clearly identify pretenders? Pretenders are those that would have you believe they are aligned with your beliefs when in fact their records show that they are not.

As citizens we often take the easy path and believe the lip service we are given. We need to, like the Scarecrow, seek the knowledge we need to successfully make our way down that yellow brick road. Check their records and their promoters.

The wizard is a good hearted man, he means well, but ultimately he must pretend that he is something he’s not in order to keep control of the little people. He doesn’t mean to be a liar, but he does it, as he believes, for the greater good.

In the end however, no one needs a “power mongering” Wizard. The City of Oz is more just and fairly run by a plain and honest scarecrow who has “common sense” not a Harvard degree.

Progressive intellectual snobs, of course, will call this analogy, uneducated and simple minded, but I say to them:

Rubbish! You have no power here! Begone, before someone drops a house on you!


When you get to know tons of people, and you serve your community in many capacities, you tend to learn a lot of interesting information.

Some of if is trivial and some of it, at times, can be earth shattering.

I have always been sad that our news in the Uintah Basin is “weekly.” It seems that there are so many items that fall through the cracks that we would all like to know about.

This is a place that I hope will keep many people up to speed on many different subjects. Feel free to drop in anytime to see what is going on in my end of the basin.

If you frequent my blog you are likely to hear about the Uintah County Republican Party, the Community Emergency Response Team, Oil & Gas Issues, Boy Scouts of America, Crime & Bail Bonding, Redneck Family Life, Fly Fishing, Community Service, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Genealogy, the LDS Faith and how to have fun in Vernal.

If you have news, feel free to send it to my email: jonilcrane@gmail.com and I will review it, and see if I can be of help to you in getting your message out.

You don’t have to guess what I am really thinking. I tend to be overly honest and pretty blunt (in a tactfull way). Pull up a rocker and enjoy the view!