Tag Archives: democrat

Ethical Compass

My first block in Westminster’s MBA program is drawing to a close, and it’s been an amazing experience so far.  It feels incredible to be back in school, and to learn new and exciting things everyday.  I’ve loved working through case studies with a room full of smart people and leaving each session feeling more enlightened.

One of the most amazing things I’m experiencing is that I am not just building my foundation of academic knowledge, but I am also learning more about who I am.  I remember starting my business ethics class thinking that I am Paul Krugman and John Cassidy’s protege, and that I am a liberal inside and out.  But realizing the ideas I was expressing during class discussions, I started to realize that I’m becoming somewhat conservative.

AAAAAH!  Somebody slap me and bring me to my senses, right?

Before I lose all my friends, I want to clarify that I am still a rational, well-meaning person, haha.  I just don’t think I’m as much of an advocate for a “socialist”-esque community like I was when I was in college.

One of our assignments for my ethics class required negotiating a social contract with the class by way of an online discussion board.  Following was my first post:

“At a high level, I believe the role of government should be to provide the freedom and empowerment necessary for individuals to pursue their goals.  This includes ensuring the protection of persons, property and human rights, promoting hard work and productivity, and providing incentives for the market to alleviate social ills.  It is definitely important to establish a society that is just and fair, ensuring opportunity and equality for all individuals.

I think this role can be fulfilled by a civilization built around John Rawls’ Theory of Justice.  Rawls reaches his conclusion from behind what he calls a “Veil of Ignorance”, meaning that he has no knowledge regarding what his situation will look like, and thus he cannot develop principles that favor his particular circumstances.  Without knowing what his position in life will be, he will be most likely to choose principles fairest to all.  This theory includes two principles:

1. Everyone is entitled to basic freedoms (e.g., freedom of speech, political liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc.)

2. Difference Principle: There can be inequality in any society as long as it makes the person in the worst situation better off.

Building upon his second principle, I think it’s important to control the level of inequality.  I definitely want to promote a “rising tide that lifts all boats,” but I think mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that a large disparity of social/income inequality does not exist.”

It literally took me three hours to determine the theory on which I would base my proposal.  It was no easy task to determine who would become the “winners” and “losers”, and I felt conflicted when putting this theory together.  But it just seemed to be the most justified and fair.

Surprisingly, I got very few comments on my proposal, but those who did comment on it agreed with me.  Even more shocking to me was that the recurring theme among a class full of MBA students was one what emphasized socialism – a heavily progressive tax system, an extended entitlement program for the elderly, disabled and unemployed, free education, free healthcare, free housing, even free grocery… Everyone was rallying behind a classmate named Viktoria, who was advocating for such a system.  It was very interesting to see that dynamic.  I definitely would love to see a world where everyone had open access to these necessities, but such a world cannot exist.  It is simply too expensive, and I don’t think that a system with socialist characteristics as well as the ability to progress technologically and economically would not be sustainable.

So the next post I made was:

“I agree with many of Viktoria’s points.  I especially love that her contract is primarily built upon a concern for the welfare of others, and places an emphasis on giving equal access to many of the resources conducive to a successful life.  I am 100% behind the protection of fundamental human rights.  However, I worry that a society built around her contract, namely the components relating to free education and healthcare, will be too costly and presents a high likelihood for wasted resources.

When resources are provided for “free”, there will always be free-riders who game the system at the expense of actual contributors.  I don’t feel entirely comfortable with a heavily progressive tax system, because I want to enter into a society that promotes hard work and [technological, academic, scientific] progress.  Though the Ayn Rand view appears to be controversial, I feel that it is truly representative of reality – many people are motivated by greed and profit, but many breakthroughs in medicine, science and technology–solutions to many of our country’s existing social problems–have come out of a desire to accumulate wealth and prosperity, as well as the liberty and resources to do so. I fear that the imposition of a larger proportion of taxes on high-income earners (hopefully the greater contributors in a society) would be a crutch to innovation.  The tax rate should be the same among all income levels – the wealthier will still be providing a larger portion of the government’s revenue, but at least it will be fair across all income-earners.

I think that Mike’s view is a much better approach to handling the “free education” portion of her contract.  I would love to advocate equal access to resources such as education and healthcare, but I worry that Viktoria’s approach may be too costly.  By admitting individuals into a specific level of study consistent with their likelihood to succeed in that subject are, we will be making the best use of our educational resources.  I also like that Mike sees excessive taxation as a form of harm – I mentioned in an earlier post that the government’s role should merely be to protect individuals, their property and their rights from harm, and excessive taxation can definitely cripple the economy from growing and negatively impact many people.

The bottom line is that everyone will enter the world with advantages and disadvantages.  Some people will need to work harder than others.  But my nirvana is a merit-based society that is constantly growing and innovating.  One where the government provides its citizens the freedom to do as they please so long as it doesn’t infringe on the freedoms of others, or inflict harm on others, and a society where the more privileged will do their part to alleviate social ills.  If more privileged individuals do not exercise their social responsibility to address social problems, the government should provide incentives for them to do so, but should not be the direct provider of any free public service.  The government should definitely step in when the rights and preservation of citizens are threatened, but overall I think individuals will need to make the best of the cards they are dealt in order to truly allow society to flourish and continue to progress.”

And, of course, I received even fewer comments on my second post than I did on my first.

I felt bad.  I felt like the ideas I was expressing were very different from what I’ve advocated in the past.  I just sat and thought, “Am I becoming one of them? Am I moving into the dark side!?”  But I realized that I’m not.  I am effectively applying ethical principles that seem like conventional Republican ideals to back policy decisions that a more moderate Democrat would advocate.  I’m still blue, but more of a baby blue than a royal blue.  It’s better to sit on the fence anyway – sitting at either end of the spectrum just starts too much trouble.  🙂

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Convention Weekend

Kathleen Villanueva - Utah Democratic Convention Credential


This weekend was a busy one for me.  Friday evening, I attended the Taylor & Mayne awards dinner to see Weston Clark deservedly receive the award, and I also went to the United Way Young Leaders annual party.  I was also invited to a SL Chamber event at the new aquarium and a friend’s launch party for his new product that I wasn’t able to make it to.  Yesterday, I attended my second convention ever as a delegate for House District 14.  Even though there aren’t as many big elections (no senate or presidential elections this year), it was still just as exciting as the last.

Two years ago, I went to my first convention ever – all alone.  While I had a lot of family and friends supporting my decision to run for delegate, I attended the convention alone, not knowing anyone really. But putting myself in the spotlight was one of the best decisions I ever made.  This year, I still arrived alone since I don’t really have any political frinds, but there were familiar faces everywhere.  It was so much easier to network and get introduced to such inspirational and well-meaning people.

Kathleen Villanueva Utah

Kathleen Villanueva and Luz Robles (UT-SD1 and Candidate for Utah House CD2)

I expressed my aspiration to work in politics someday, despite my wonderful situation at Cicero.  I am very grateful to have such an interesting and rewarding job, but ultimately I’d still like to pursue my dream of crafting policy that will better the lives of millions of people.  It’s incredible how I’ve always had a plan to work in politics, and after so many years, I’m still working so hard to execute it – while there are other people who never even gave two cents about politics, and ended up landing one of the neatest opportunities in it and falling completely in love with it.  I truly envy the people I just described, but either way, I’m moving forward, and I’ll get there someday. 🙂

I love meeting candidates and talking about the issues that are important to me.  I stressed issues including funding for education, long-term investments in infrastructure, technology and alternative energy, and an economic environment that both enables hard-working students out of undergrad to easily find jobs, as well as for business owners to innovate and grow.

In an effort to get more involved, I am now secretary of the Davis county chapter of the Utah Young Democratic Caucus.  I am looking forward to get more engaged and to make more of a difference in my community.  I really need to do more beyond my role in the Rules Committee.  I feel bad that I get jazzed up about politics during election years, but once the election is over, I kind of fall out of politics and just start concentrating solely in working and making money again.  I need to stay engaged throughout the whole year if I ever want to get there someday.

I don’t know if we’ll win any federal elections, or be able to replace all the retiring Democrats in our state legislature with more of our own… But I feel confident that we’re making progress.  Someday this state is going to turn purple. 🙂 I really want to help drive that change, and I can’t wait to experience what it will feel like to have helped contribute to such a huge victory.

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An Example of Poor Leadership

Congressional poll numbers are at an all-time low precisely because of the Tea Party and the like of Ted Cruz.  The people are against congress because they can’t get anything done – Cruz and his obstructionist antics embody that paralysis. “My way or the highway” is no way to represent the “interests of your constituents,” and neither is blackmail or extortion.  Yes, Cruz is beholden to the people who elected him, but once he hit the Senate, he also has to do what is good for the country as a whole, and what he is doing is harmful.  Not only will federal jobs and entitlements in his own state be affected by a government shut down, but those of other states will be impacted as well.

This is why it’s so important to elect genuine leaders who care about real issues, and who will actually place an emphasis on solving the nation’s problems – not attention-seeking, arrogant jerks who will selfishly create MORE problems only after 9 months in office.

How the hell did something like providing healthcare to poor people become the biggest threat to American civilization anyways?  If opponents would only read the facts, they’d find that Obamacare isn’t as horrific as the media makes it seem, and they’d find out that all would ultimately benefit from such policy.

Inhale, exhale. </rant>

UPDATE (10/1):


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Coming out of the State Convention :)

Kathleen Villanueva - Official National Delegate for Utah Congressional District 1

I still can’t believe I won the election for the National Delegate spot in representation of my district. I’m so stoked. Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to pay for this trip, but that’s the least of my worries.

It feels so great to have made an accomplishment. I need to make these little achievements from time to time to remind myself that I’m still making progress, even though I’m not exactly where I want to be. I’m so lucky to have this opportunity. I probably won’t ever run for national delegate again so that someone else can have this chance – I’m just so stoked to be able to say I was able to attend the Democratic National Convention as a 21-year old. Now I’m going to aim for becoming a Super Delegate once I’ve become accomplished enough & “stomped ass” on enough Republicans! Haha. And I won’t be afraid to vote for myself next time – So many people reprimanded me for not doing so this time! I don’t know why I felt so uncomfortable doing it. asdf;kljsa

I just wanted to add this little note – the thing that was really sad about the convention is that there were a lot of great candidates and volunteers who worked really hard and invested lots of time and financial resources on their campaigns, but there could only be one nominee. Delegates had tough decisions to make last weekend. I really liked Dean Collinwood in that I thought he was a good candidate with solid values, but I had a feeling that Jay Seegmiller would win the nomination because of his excellent track record and all his great accomplishments as a state legislator. I can’t vote in District 2, but I’m excited to see Jay Seegmiller take on Chris Stewart. (Who the heck is Chris Stewart? o.O) It was really sad to see Pete Ashdown booted out of the race because he’s such a nice man with wonderful perspectives and good intentions. I shook his hand and thanked him for running after the convention. But I am confident that Scott Howell has great potential to beat out whoever the Republican nominee is. This is going to be such an exciting race!

If anyone who supported me during this election is reading this, I want to personally thank you for believing in me more than I even believed in myself. This is such a great opportunity and I owe it to so many great people. Please keep in touch! And make sure to vote for Donna McAleer for UT-CD1 on June 26th in the Primary!

When I heard Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT2) stumble on my last name, my heart jumped and I couldn't believe I had won!

And here are some features in the St. George News covering the convention results, & the Salt Lake Tribune where my tweet was published! Gosh, I’m just really excited to be a part of the political process – such an awesome experience.

I don’t know what these stepping stones will lead to in my next chapter of life, but whatever it is, I look forward to it.

Also, I interview with the Philippine Embassy tomorrow about my ambassador application – Ah, It feels great to have so much to be happy for lately.

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Work in Progress

The following is a draft of the mass email I’m going to send to all Utah State Delegates before the upcoming convention – I’d appreciate any critique, suggestions, etc. And please don’t laugh too much at me for being so cheesy.

Dear ____,

Hello there! My name is Kathleen Villanueva and I am running for National Delegate. I’m reaching out to YOU in request of your support for me to represent the First Congressional District or the State At-Large this September at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The reason I am running for National Delegate is because I want to get involved in doing something meaningful for our community as well as become better acquainted with how residents like you feel about important issues facing our nation and our state.

As you know, our interests as Democrats in this red state of Utah are constantly challenged and disregarded. One of the things I feel is most important for everyone to understand is tolerance. We all come from different backgrounds and believe in different things, but it doesn’t mean that our opinions don’t matter. The values we believe in as laborers, people of color, innovators, entrepreneurs, the disabled, veterans and the LGBT community of Utah need to be represented at the federal level. In our diversity of culture, skills, beliefs and experiences lie the keys to change and opportunity that we would all like to see in our communities and in our country.

I was born 21 years ago on Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines and I have lived in Davis County for 17 years. I attended Hill Field Elementary, Layton Elementary, Bluff Ridge Elementary, Central Davis Junior High, Syracuse Junior High and Northridge High School. I recently graduated from the University of Utah in Political Science, Economics and International Relations, and ultimately I hope that someday in the future I may be someone who can work to foster growth and development for the Beehive State. But for now, I would like to represent our community and cast my vote for President Obama because I am confident he will continue to deliver positive change and make progress in this country with our best interests at heart – and I won’t be able to have this opportunity without your support.

I will continue to communicate with our community beyond Convention to ensure that constituents’ concerns continue to be addressed by the folks who are obliged to listen to them. I kindly appreciate your support and I would be more than happy to meet if you wish to have a more detailed conversation with me. I am very interested in learning more about what is important to you, so please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you so much! See you at Convention!

Mobile: (801) 888-1707

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Why I am a Democrat

Living in a country with a two-party system isn’t easy. It doesn’t offer any flexibility for the voter by forcing them to choose one side or the other. I constantly grapple with this problem on a daily basis just when reading about all the different issues these parties are arguing about, and I really wonder if there is a Democrat out there that is a pure Democrat or a Republican that adopts the entire Republican platform.

I consider myself to be a moderate because I have mixed views in so many areas, but since I feel it is important to be affiliated with a party, I chose to be a Democrat.

Originally, I thought of myself to be a Republican. I believed in human nature – every man for himself. I believed in the Horatio-Alger Myth, where working hard will ultimately get a man to achieve the American Dream. Those at the top are there because they worked hard to get there and similarily, those at the bottom are there because of the choices they made too. I thought welfare spending was a waste of money because people would give into moral hazard and become reluctant to find a job. I guess you could say I was pretty “hands-off” when it came to the economy, and I believed in pure capitalism. You work for your money, so it should all be yours. I was elitist and an asshole, but it all made sense to me.

But as I was exposed to the wonderful, terrible and messed up world of politics and economics, I started to change my mind. I guess I’m still an asshole, but a more enlightened one in that I realize that the way the world works isn’t black and white. There are a ton of gray areas where you could see both sides of an issue. As an econ major, I learned that the average American income hs been stagnant for over 30 years, while the very top 1% of American incomes have gone up by over 200%. I felt as if the Republican ideology didn’t care about this. While I was in Washington, the Republicans didn’t put together one jobs bill. Instead, they would tie jobs into another bill that is important to them, like the Keystone Pipeline. When the Super Committee was trying to cut $1.2 trillion out of the budget, the Republicans wouldn’t budge when it came to tax reform and they refused to raise taxes on the top 1%, who I feel could clearly afford to pay their fair share of taxes. Instead, Republicans wanted to cut spending in all departments. This is when I realized that the GOP is the Rich Man’s Party.

The problem with not giving a damn about anyone but yourself is that everyone in society is interconnected whether you like it or not. A lot of our most successful entrepreneurs went to public colleges on government financial aid, and now they want to cut spending in higher education. Many Republicans formerly served in the military, but don’t want to be bothered with policy that assists veterans in assimilating back into civilian life after being overseas. A lot of them also never had to deal with discrimination and fail to acknowledge measures to create equal opportunities for minorities, women and the disabled.

I think a real problem in our system is the intolerance of people’s differences, and the lack of willingness to see things from a different point of view.

It’s easy to be selfish, and ignorant to the lives of others. But it really is important to be open-minded and understanding toward people’s differences. This is why I’m a Democrat – because I care about the interests of everyone, even those who I don’t understand. I was lucky to get into a good college and have parents who worked hard to pay for what my minority scholarship didn’t pay for. But not everyone is this lucky, and some people have to work right out of high school to support themselves or their families. Being raised a Catholic, I’m pro-life and I would never put myself in a situation where I would have to get an abortion. But I know people make mistakes, especially teenagers being raised in this type of generation, and if they feel that now is not a time they are able to support a child, they should make the decision they feel is best. I have always had health insurance and my mom would send me to the doctor’s office for everything from a mild cold to preventive care, and this may have made a difference in my health that I may never realize. I think it’s important for everyone to have an opportunity to have health insurance just as I do for anything else.

I’m not very good at organizing my thoughts. I’m not a very strong writer. But I just wanted to explain why I decided to align myself with the Left and why I feel what it advocates is important. Our system most definitely is not perfect because human nature is not perfect, but in order to get closer to a better future, I’ve always thought it was important to ‘be the change you want to see in the world,’ as Ghandi said. And whether you agree or disagree with what I believe, I hope you all do the same.

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