The Utah Public Employees Association (UPEA) Nominations Committee confirmed that Lori Benton, a Utah Department of Transportation employee, received the majority vote in the election for second vice president. Benton will ascend UPEA ranks to serve as president during the 2019-2020 year. Below is Benton’s General Council luncheon speech:
I have been employed with the state almost 23 years, and 19 of those years I have been a member of UPEA. I believe in what they do and they are our voice on the Hill. UPEA talks with legislators conveying what we as members want and truly represents all state employees in Utah. We’re the voice for them.
UPEA is the voice for the employees who are having employment issues or need to bounce an idea off on them or [need to know] how to go about fixing something in their daily work life. I have used that part of it myself and when I am having problems, I call Todd or Christy and tell them this is what’s going on, can you help me figure out what I need to do better? In doing some of that, situations have changed because I’ve changed, because I saw the other side and as you know, sometimes that’s all it takes is to step back and see the other side and put yourself in their place. I’m really thankful for the people who were willing to help me do all of that.
I want to remind you UPEA has several committees that we encourage you to join. If you don’t know which one to join, pick the one that you’re not sure about and then learn all about that by participating in the committee. I like to volunteer my time for those as well. The last couple years I’ve been in school, so I haven’t been able to devote a lot of time to that. Thankfully, that’s coming to an end for my employers, my husband, and family, and now, UPEA, so I’ll be able to say yes I can now, instead of no, I cannot. Sometimes, unfortunately, you do have to say no.
I’ve also volunteered for the VITA tax clinic and I have found that very rewarding. That is another thing I would encourage you to do, volunteer your time. Pick a place or cause that you support and volunteer some time, you’ll meet some absolutely amazing people from all walks of life who will change you. It will change you from the inside. It will make you more grateful for what you do have and teach you to look beyond that moment and see what’s beyond that and see how you can help other people. The tax clinic has done that for me, because there are people who just cannot afford to have their taxes done and you see that in their face when they walk up and they ask you how much you charge and you say there’s no charge and sometimes there are tears of joy and they say, “Wow, you’ve really helped me out,” and you find ways to cut their tax bill and things of that nature. And I’m not qualified. I’m not a tax attorney or anything like that, but there are some things that I do know, because they have the classes and they teach you that. Volunteering doesn’t take a lot of time and I find that I am a better person because of that. So I would always encourage all of you to volunteer for something that you stand for or something that you believe in.
My final thought that I will leave you with is poem called “Thinking,” by Walter D. Wintle:
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!