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New grass-roots group vows to put political pressure on Utah representatives to resist Trump


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SALT LAKE CITY — Dates. Times. Places.

Those were the main tasks at hand Wednesday night as Salt Lake Indivisible, a new organization vowing to resist President Donald Trump at every turn through grass-roots methods, met for the first time. Suggestions focused on "action-based" protests of the new president — including one former GOP official's proposal to turn Republican primaries upside down in an effort to elect anti-Trump politicians.

About 150 people crowded into a meeting room at Wasatch Presbyterian Church to agree on Salt Lake Indivisible's mission and organize into groups designed to put heat on Utah's congressional delegation to oppose Trump's policies.

"If you are concerned with the unexplored influence of Russian operatives on our election; if you are concerned with the ever more frequent attacks on a free press; if you are concerned with the absurd Muslim ban; if you are concerned with Trump's destabilization of the world order, then this is the place for you," said Joanne Slotnik, a recently retired Salt Lake City attorney who served as executive director of the state's Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee and once worked for the Utah Attorney General's Office.

Slotnik and co-founder Lincoln Hobbs, Salt Lake-based real estate and general practice attorney, said the sole purpose of Salt Lake Indivisible is to enable members to apply consistent political pressure to Utah's representatives and senators in Congress to push back against the new president's decisions.

Hobbs said the organization, along with more than 2,000 Indivisible chapters nationwide, is taking a page from the playbook of Tea Party activists in order to achieve that goal.

The Indivisible Guide, an online call to action that is in part the inspiration behind Indivisible chapters, was written by former congressional staffers who denounced the ideology of the Tea Party, but praised its resistance tactics.

"We don’t want to be divisive. We want to be professional, we want to be respectful, but we want to be heard," Hobbs told the crowd.

Scores of new Salt Lake Indivisible members stood around large easel pads to outline strategies to boost town hall meeting attendance, demand more town hall forums and write letters to the editor to various publications. That was in addition to discussion about coordinating phone calls, letters and emails to congressional offices in opposition to specific Trump policy proposals or appointments.

Guest speaker David Irvine, former Davis County Republican Party chairman and four-term representative in the Utah Legislature, suggested that Democrats register as Republicans and vote for anti-Trump conservatives in GOP primary elections. Cheers erupted when he introduced his proposal.

"I really believe that’s where the pivot point comes," he said.

Irvine said Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Mia Love would be especially vulnerable in a primary election filled with Democrats seeking anti-Trump leaders.

Salt Lake Indivisible, which calls itself a nonpartisan group, has gained more than 2,000 members on Facebook after creating a page there in mid-January. It is a sister chapter to Utah Indivisible, which has more than 1,700 members.

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Ben Lockhart

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