Robert Gehrke: Your last-minute gift guide for these Utah politicians

USA Utah News

Did you put off those hard-to-shop-for people on your list? Are you struggling to find just the perfect gift for that special Utah politician in your life?

We’ve all been there.

In honor of those elected and un-elected folks who bring us so much joy, I put together this last-minute gift guide so you can finish up your shopping and enjoy some quality time with your family — provided they’re in your immediate household.

Sen. Mitt Romney has burned a lot of bridges with the hardcore Utah Republican crowd, from his vote to impeach President Donald Trump on down to this post-election criticism of the president. Mitt could use a friend. But Harry Truman said it best, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” So get Romney a puppy, as long as he promises not to put it on the roof of the family station wagon.
After being the second-longest-serving governor in Utah history, Gary Herbert deserves something extra special. I’m thinking a gold watch, a weekend getaway at the Four Seasons (Total Landscaping), a sweatshirt that says “Unavailable Jones,” and the relief of knowing that COVID isn’t his problem anymore.
In 2020, Sen. Mike Lee proved he’s not afraid to take a stand, even if it’s pure grandstanding that hurts a lot of people and only benefits himself. Like when he not once, but twice voted against a pandemic rescue package, or when he was the lone vote against accelerating benefits to people with Lou Gehrig’s disease. So Lee gets free admission to the in-the-works national women’s history museum and Latino history museum, which he tried to stop but thankfully failed.
The most consequential thing Rep. Chris Stewart did this year was accidentally (or not) letting a group of angry Republican House members into a secure briefing room during Trump’s impeachment hearings. Maybe we get him a Stewart-shaped doorstop to make his life easier and maybe the Joe McCarthy Radical Socialist Detective Kit, so he can root out the socialist menace wherever it hides.

Former NFL player Burgess Owens had a big year, knocking off Rep. Ben McAdams, all the while espousing some fairly nutty ideas. So Owens gets a tin foil football helmet, from the Q Collection, perfect for a congressman-elect on the go. It would look great as he promotes far-fetched Deep State conspiracy theories on his favorite fringe video blog.

The Salt Lake City School Board had its hands full trying to manage the coronavirus while making sure they blocked out time for bickering, infighting and playing online solitaire. So after all that, what do you get them? I’m thinking a lunch box monogrammed with House Speaker Brad Wilson’s name on it, so he has something nice after he takes it away from them and eats their lunch. Available exclusively online (for now) for the low, low price of $1,500.

After more than six years as the No. 2 in state government, the training wheels come off and Spencer Cox will be Utah’s next governor and with it comes the responsibility of keeping the Legislature in check. I’d suggest getting him the Little Tikes “My First Veto” set, which I hope he gets some good use from.

For as long as McAdams has been in office, he’s played it super-safe. Boring, some might say. No more! This Christmas, McAdams gets membership in former Sen. Steve Urquhart’s magic mushroom church and tickets to Burning Man. COVID-willing, this summer, Ben can take the Ben Bus on a magical mystery tour and hopefully things will get a little weird.

Since taking office, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has had to deal with an earthquake, hurricane force winds that uprooted hundreds of trees, and a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. She only needs Plague of Frogs and Swarms of Locusts to complete her Biblical Apocalypse Bingo card. Perfect for the collector in charge of your city!

What do you get for the state representative who has everything (including a federal criminal conviction)? Well, the obvious gift for Rep. Phil Lyman was a presidential pardon, but he already went and got one of those. So maybe get him an old map of Bears Ears National Monument so he knows which roads to stay off of once President Joe Biden restores the monument to its original boundaries.

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