Never fear, Utah. Rep. Paul Ray intends to put California in its place

Thursday , August 10, 2017 - 7:55 PM

Rick Bowmer

In this March 2, 2015, file photo, state Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, votes on the Utah House floor in Salt Lake City. Ray is planning legislation calling on his fellow lawmakers to endorse a movement in California for that state to secede from the United States. Utah Ray says he's sick of "whining" by California. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)


Utah Rep. Paul Ray, a Clearfield Republican, could be a hero.

He could dedicate himself to reducing the number of young Utahns who commit suicide, the leading cause of death among children ages 10 to 17.

He could demand meaningful action on the state’s opioid crisis, which claimed 24 lives a month in 2015.

Or, since Utah leads the nation in per-capita jail deaths, he could author a bill requiring independent jail inspections. Utah recorded least 23 in-custody deaths in 2016, including five in Davis County.

Ray, by the way, lives in Davis County.

But no. Those issues are child’s play. Ray has bigger plans.

He’s drafting a resolution urging California to secede from the United States.

This is why people hate politics.

California voted overwhelmingly for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. When she lost the Electoral College vote to Republican Donald Trump, disaffected Californians began talking about secession — a Calexit, based on Britain’s 2016 Brexit from the European Union.

That incensed Ray.

"I'm sick and tired of the whining we get from the state of California," he told Michelle L. Price, a reporter for The Associated Press.

So his resolution calls on California to leave, warning Utah will impose tariffs and other economic penalties when it does.

"We're all in this together. That's why it's a union. And if they don't want to play ball, then get out," Ray said.

Oddly, however, Ray said nothing when the Texas Republican Party barely rejected a floor vote on secession at the 2016 state GOP convention.

No, he’d rather alienate California, which sends more tourists to Utah than any other state, according to Utah’s 2017 travel and tourism report.

Go ahead. You already hurt Utah’s tourism industry by lowering the legal blood alcohol threshold to .05. Your posturing on public lands cost Utah the Outdoor Retailer shows and $45 million in annual revenue.

What difference could it possibly make if Utah lawmakers officially declare their hatred for Californians?

Go ahead. Be a hero.

Because urging California to secede is more important than anything else you could possibly accomplish for the people of Utah, Rep. Ray.