20120213 David Kirkham UT Gov candidate

These are notes that I took while at David Kirkhams factory in Provo. He shared some stories, some ideas and a tour of the facility. It is very impressive what he has done and is continuing to do for manufacturing in Utah.

I have sold my cars from anywhere between $70,000 to $1.3 million. I made a proptype for Larry Ellison. He said, “Make me a car, no expense spared.” I made something. We machined that chassis out of aluminumn. We had to make a prototype car to figure out how to make his car. We created little holes that weren’t quite right. We made a new car and I got to keep the other one. $1.3 million. This is my wife Alisa.
A typical sale is over $100,000. By the time we are done it’s around $100 – $120. That Red car is bought by a Saudi prince. I have a car we are building that is going to Greece, Switzerland, Russia and England. In 2006 90% of our sales were in the States. Unfortunately in our economy the sales have flipped this past year. More than half are International sales now. In Poland we export to the EU. There are cars out there (the manufacturing floor) for Australia and others.
This is what I do and here (holding a car part). This is a rear level control arm. This is made of 26 parts and 41 operations of cutting, bending and welding. You can see that the left and right arms are different since they are mirrored. 26 parts and 41 operations. I was looking at it and found that it is different and hard to make so I took a block of aluminum and made it in one part. It is a left and right as you can see.
We need to do the exact same thing with government. We don’t need to just cut the government but we need to streamline.
We have a mandate in the Utah Constitution to deal with education. We need to streamline these things so that it is faster and better. This part is simple to create with a machine.
I have been talking all over the state and have talked to all of our teachers. 7% of our budget for education comes from the Federal government. I have talked to teachers and they know we can improve. I don’t know about UEA but they aren’t the only issue.
These teachers all tell me that they have a problem with Federal mandates that come down. They also have opportunity for training and the teachers said to me, “you know I have been to CA, WA and DC and they didn’t teach me anything at the Federal programs. I didn’t get anything out of it that I didn’t already know.” Why are we making a new History book?
Would you let go of the funding if we got rid of the strings? They all say yes. They want to be relased. One of the teachers I talked with asked what I would do to educate our children. I told her that I wouldn’t do anthing. You want the teachers, the principals and the parents teaching our children. You don’t want me to come in to the classroom. My job as Governor is to persuade the legislators to empower you to educate your children.
It should be local control. What if you have a problem with education and want to un-elect the Governor. You have to travel the state and explain it to everyone. But with a City Council you can start to change with just 10 people locally. These things need to be able to be decided locally.
I want to tell you briefly who I am and why I wanted to bring you here to this shop. I want to be really quick. In 1995 I flew to Warsaw, Poland and when I landed I felt like it was a time machine back 50 years. The streets were all made of concrete pavers. The lights were concrete and the rails and the city is Grey. I thought it was ugly.
You have heard about the Warsaw gehettos and the Jews resisted and the city was destroyed. There was nothing left. They killed 800,000 civilians in the town of Warsaw. I landed in to this Communist world that Stalin had rebuilt. There was not a single billboard in the city. Except one Coca Cola sign on the very edge of the town.
I went to a Mig 15, 17, 19 factory. When I was growing up my dad actually was dog fighting with them in Vietnam. I went to this factory where I got past the guards and we finally got in and they took me to the administration building and they told me the story of what they used to build. But now they didn’t have anything to do since in 1990 they lost their jobs with the collapse of the wall.
As I went through the factory I saw the men would stand at their machines all day. I thought that was wonderful. I was 28 and young and I saw opportunity. We had quit building here in the US because we had decided you couldn’t do aluminum chassises. I went to Poland and started this company out of the ashes of Socialism.
I started the first private enterprise in that region. But to have a good business you have to build something that people will buy. They couldn’t get the idea that cars have to be beautiful. They couldn’t understand that you have to see a nice car.
I asked my engineer and he said that they had memories of how it was. They would just make planes and if they were destroyed then they would just make more. So I had to gather these guys up and I flew them to Salt Lake and they stayed at our house. At 6 am the next morning they were up and I wanted to take them to Lowes because it is the greatest place on earth where you can buy anything. They didn’t have hammers there unless they made it. You couldn’t find sandpaper there. They didn’t even have paper. I had to show them how to build a beautiful car by drawing on the dirt in Poland.
I was going to take them to Lowes to show them walls and walls of tools and hammers… but I went to Albertsons instead because it was too early in the morning. I grabbed the cart and started throwing stuff in. The cart was stacking up deep and they were looking around and their eyes were wide. I had a really hard time getting them to follow me because they were so slow in the aisles. They stopped by the Kool-aid packages and they were deciding which one to pick. They were trying to figure out which Kool Aid flavor to buy. It was a hard decision for them. So I just took the two flavors and put them in my cart. They asked if they could get another one, then another one, then another one.
Finally one of them grabbed a handful and asked if he could try it? I said he was in America, he was free and he could try all of them. They drop the packages and cried.
I went back to Poland and saw them firing people. I worked on stuff in Russia and we were able to go and help in the Nuclear area as well since things are not good there.
I saw that stuff and how bad it was. So in Feb 2009 I saw TARP and didn’t agree with it so I founded Tea Party in Utah. I know where bailouts end up. The Tea Party has gotten quite large. At the first meeting there were like 100 people. That was when I became really involved. Locally, statewide and in the Nation.
In Provo they tried to pass an ordinance that your children could be arrested for truancy if they were not in school. I got involved because I thought that was wrong. The home schoolers really showed up for this one. I was on the front row and the place was packed. One of the council members said, “I knew you would be here because freedom was at issue.” I was ready to give a great speech. But there was this little girl who was 8 and didn’t say anything but just cried at the mic. They took the issue off the agenda and didn’t even discuss it anymore.
We did it at the state level with 477, the GRAMA law. I went to the Capitol and protested for 2 weeks. None of the legislators wanted to join in. I had been to the countries who restricted or limited access to information. The wealthy can get it with attorneys, they can force them. What about the poor though? This was the reason that I was so opposed. If you put in a request and the government doesn’t respond within 30 days, then it is denied. 82% of the public were against it.
I am opposed to 116. It is the immigration law that has a 208.3 million tax increase. Employers will withhold and remit this tax each year. Those who are involved will pay a “as yet to be determined fee.” I don’t like it when they pass that kind of law with some new unknown fee. Did you know that there was a 210 million tax increase? You probably didn’t because they didn’t tell you.
I am willing to ask the hard questions. I asked Governor Herbert if he read the bill, HB 116.
I testified before the Senate Finance Committee. I took on Senator Baucus. I told all of them it was their fault that we have unemployment. There is uncertainty. They pass a law so businesses don’t hire becasue we don’t know what to do. I have fought at the local and state level.
The governor should not command from on high. I am the advocate and chief to stand between the people and the legislators. They are elected by their own very local people but the Governor represents all the state. And he is also to stand between the Federal government and the State.
He is supposed to say no if it doesn’t protect life, liberty and happiness.
Grab something to eat, chat and we’ll do a walk through. While you are grabbing a bite, let’s answer some questions?

Q? You mentioned a reduction of 7% in education?
A. We can save money if we don’t have to implement the programs. The numbers are hard to find. The people who are closest to it are telling me that they are spending far more time than 7%. Our teachers are on the front line.
Too much administration versus education.

Q? Have you heard about New Zealand’s education system?
A. Marvelous, isn’t it? They privatized much of what is going on this country. If we privatize many expenses will go away. The schools in New Zealand shrank their costs. When you open to competition and accountability then it fixes a lot things. When you don’t make money you go out of business. We need to hold them to the same standard.
I read about that a lot of years ago and their costs have gone way down. 7% from the Federal we should let go. It is cheaper to let it go if we have to pay 30% on top of their 7%. We have been educating for 2000 years and we don’t need command from on high to do this.

Q? Should we educate non-citizens?
A. Tough question. The issue is the Supreme Court says yes.

Q? If we vote you in will we have an ethics problem like Herbert?
A. I am probalby doing this backwards. The cars I sell are very expensive so I am comfortable. The amount of money in politics is not that much. It is not interesting.
Let me tell you about my company. In Poland everybody bribes everybody. That is how you run your business. I started the company in Poland as a partnership with the Government, but that didn’t work, so I bought the company completely versus joint venture with the Government. I was the first person to own 100% of a company in Poland. One day the Polish IRS came to our shop. They said they had come to audit us. And my guy said that we have to pay them off to get them to away. I was not willing to pay them to go away. He looked at me like they would destroy our office if we didn’t pay. I said, “We are not paying. Period.”
They pulled all of our files and dumped them on the floor. They tortured some of my guys in there while going through the books.
Finally at the end of the week the IRS got really angry and then left. They weren’t getting anything and they never came back.
I don’t pay the “danga.” I just don’t do it.

Q? Lets start with how can we work with our US Congress to help get our lands back to free up resources.
A. We have a trillion dollars worth of resources by many accounts. 69% of our state is locked in Federal lands. Chris Christie is a Republican governor in New Jersey which has big Democrat majorities. He has shown the way that a governor can get things done. You have to take it to the people. You have to be wiling to go to every city in the state, not for fundraising but to tell them that we have lots of resources and opportunities for education funding.
You go to the people and you scare the Federal government in to not re-electing them. They want to get back there. If you get a bunch of people chanting then you get their ear.
Because of what I have been doing Senator Hatch has called me a lot. You will put pressure on the delegation. You then have to go around to the other states. Our secret weapon is our Senators. That is how we can get the pressure. Mike Lee won’t need any pressure. And with Hatch, well, we can fix that in a few months. The Senators in a few states are all you need. You don’t take it to the government directly because they will ask for the money.
The people, that is where the real power is.
(Alisa) One of the things I have noticed is that when the governor has had a platform given to him he usually has much more time to speak than others. He likes to tell us how great we are but what he doesn’t tell us is what the hard work is. He doesn’t engage the citizens. He hasn’t asked. We don’t pay attention and so things just go on. When he has that platform he just tells everyone good things. He doesn’t tell us what needs to happen and what is critical for us to do. I think that that is one of the things that Dave is good at.
(Dave) I have worked with communists in factories and I got it done. I have done it for 20 years.

Q? Question about Pension fund unfundedness?
A. Everyone is welcome to contribute to their fund. I think everyone should have a chance. We have terrible problems with our pension. It is nowhere near as bad as CA. Instead of defined benefits we need contributions with return on investment. We have had to pay more taxes to pay for the defined benefits. Instead we will have to let them know that they can enter the market and let employees go in to that.
I will take you back to Poland. I was there when they fired 20,000 people. There were 100 people the next day who lined up at my door and wanted a job. They were literally cut off by the government and could not get a call back. If you were 50 or older you weren’t even part of the pool that could be hired. They did end out rehiring 2,000 of the 20,000 that were fired.
Everyone is promising to cut Federal programs and funds. But what are we going to do with those people? The time will come. It is not “if” but it is “when.” Isn’t it interesting how it is all tied together. You need to have a government that is ready to look at the problem and get you results.

Q? How are you going to get results?
A. You have to go to the people. Absolutely. If you really want to motivate Hatch or others you threaten their office. You threaten that. The Governor is not holding Townhall meetings. When was the last time he did? The people elect the representatives.
Chris Christie showed the way. I did what he did. I went up and down the state. I got a call from the Tribune yesterday about the Church who says that they will not hold meetings on Caucus night. I celebrate that. The people together will usually make the right decisions.
Officials want to keep their offices.

Q? How do you get elected?
A. Holding meetings with delegates. We were up against the machine with Senator Bennett. We have to do all of the above. If we go to a priamry we will fight there as well. I have based my life on fighting to get things done.

Basic idea is streamline and innovate. That will save money and increase output. We need to do this.
NOTE: Near the end of the tour he asked an employee to tell us what his job was, and he faithfully recited “to put myself out of a job.” The idea is that if an employee can figure out a better way to do what they are doing AND automate it, then the company and the employee will be rewarded with increased output, value, and opportunity.
Yes he is bringing jobs to Utah in this facility since it enhances his ability to innovate and produce better results.

Q? Why you versus Morgan?
A. That is why I took you through the shop. I make things and create jobs.
I am also able to negotiate and get results. I was able to successfully negotiate without having special interest handcuffs. I have vast international experience and am successful and I want to take that to our state government to streamline it.

Q? What about nuclear energy?
A. Nuclear energy needs to be clean and safe. I think we need to do that. I think one of the saddest cities to go to is Moab now. They had lots of mining jobs and infrastructure. Now they have a mess of the mines. There is not much going on there but tourism. That doesn’t help the waitress during the off season. We want high value jobs. We need better jobs and careers. I am all in favor of nuclear energy and I don’t want tailing messes left all over.
I have driven the Squaw Peak 50. I have climbed the mountains and the peaks in the area. I am big environmental guy and I like to keep it clean. It is not an either or if you can do it in an environmentally responsible way.

Q? How is your funding?
A. We can always use help if you have time or donations. Can you fight the fight. I don’t have to go to traditional resources though. But $5 dollars will get you another bit of gas. When I called some of my customers about fundraising I ended out selling two bronze cars, so I am doing okay.
Please show up March 15th! Whoever you are voting for.

Q? What’s the real plan with the Fedral pressure around every turn? I was there at the conservative cabin meeting and at other places. I thought Herbert would fight the fight.
A. I have been in the fight. It is a different thing to go in to tough negotiations. I was successful in the nuclear weapons factory. I have been to where wars were as bad as it gets. You have to take it to the people. You have to take it to them.

(Alisa) I was talking to Rep Herrod and I said that the Governor just stood up and said all the nice things they were doing. If I didn’t know better then I would say he was on top of it. However, we spent all the fight money on roads rather than lands. If the Governor is serious about it he will put a serious amount of energy in to it. We have to do this. According to our rep he isn’t. It isn’t happening.
We have 3 other people who have asked us to run. Things are not happening with him now. It deserves a lot more looking in to.

About mohpolitics

Comments are closed.