The Utah Republican Party has chosen new leadership and Utah’s Senators voted against tobacco regulation. The state Republican party held its organizing convention on Saturday and chose Dave Hansen as its new chairman. Hansen won the top post with more than 51 percent of nearly 1800 votes cast. Hansen is a former poitical director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Cache County Republican Party Chairman David James says the new leader has a big job ahead of him as the party wrestles with minority status in national politics with no one person speaking for the party right now.”As a result of that, people don’t line up behind any one individual so its easy from a distance to say, ‘wow they’re split; there’s factions.’ There’s all of that sort of thing,” James says. “I don’t think its nearly that significant as elections draw closer, as we get towards the end of this year and the first part of next year. Things will coalesce.”James says he’s confident the party will start to feel much better about itself and the leadership it has. He expects Mitt Romney to run for president again in 2012Utah’s Republican Senators Orrin Hach and Bob Bennett, meanwhile, were two of only 17 senators who voted against the bill last week that further regulates tobacco products.James says he’s not sure why both senators voted against the bill, although some people say they were lobbied heavily by the tobacco industry. On the other hand, James says, they may have just been against more government regulation and he says he goes along with that.James says registration of tobacco seems rather odd to him. “I’m not sure of what gets accomplished,” James said. “You know we’re taxing at a very high rate to discourage its use of rising and things like that that sees as an appropriate a way to go as anything.”There’s also some danger in regulating tobacco, in effect, that once it passes all the regulation you put a government stamp on it!” James asks if we really want to have something referred to as “government certified tobacco.”
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