This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah may be a political outlier in many ways. But, on one key point, Beehive State voters agree with their fellow citizens around the nation.
We think Congress is doing an awful job.
A new poll from UtahPolicy.com shows that 81 percent of Utahns polled rated the job performance of the legislative branch as either somewhat or highly unfavorable. Nationally, 14 percent of voters approve of the job Congress is doing.
The incumbent representative, Republican Rob Bishop, has diligently sought to reflect the views of his district in his six terms in Congress and has been pushing for a workable all-stakeholders deal on the future of public lands in the state. But, after 12 years in Congress, it is fair to count Bishop as being part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
The partisan gridlock that defines Congress is largely due to the Republicans who control the House doing all they can to frustrate and obstruct everything from the Affordable Care Act to immigration reform. That drive included an economically damaging shutdown of the federal government.
(It's not that the Democrats who control the Senate don't share some of the blame for the ineffectiveness of Congress. But none of them is on the ballot in Utah.)
Part of the reason why so many members of Congress are re-elected, even when overall disenchantment with the institution is so high, is that gerrymandered districts and the advantages of incumbency frighten away viable challengers. And you can't beat somebody with nobody.
McAleer is somebody. She is a West Point graduate and former Army officer, accomplished businessperson and the manager of a successful non-profit health care organization.
More to the point, she sees the need to deal with climate change instead of denying it. To fix, rather than eternally trying to eliminate, the Affordable Care Act. To pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship. To take billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks away from larger corporations so that small business has more of a chance to thrive. To recognize that the public lands in Utah belong to all of the American people and that trying to transfer them to state control is foolhardy.
As a former Army officer and current member of Defense Department advisory panels, McAleer is at least as well-positioned, and just as devoted, as anyone to the preservation of Hill Air Force Base, a cause upon which Bishop has based his congressional career. She can also be expected to continue, if not improve, discussions about the future of public lands.
The voters of Utah's 1st District would send a bracing breath of fresh air to Washington if they would exercise their right to recall their current representative and send Donna McAleer to Congress in his stead.