Stewart seeks Republican nomination, reelection; points to leadership, lands issues

Rep. Chris Steward addressed delegates at Roy's Pizza, St. George, Utah, April 18, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Elected in 2012 to the U.S. House of Representative serving Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Chris Stewart is seeking re-election. First, however, he must secure the Utah Republican Party’s nomination for the office. If he doesn’t, another Republican will be running for the congressional seat in the general election. To this end, he is meeting with party delegates in an effort to win their support.

Why nominate, re-elect?

“I’ve kept my promises,” Stewart said. “I’ve done the things I have told (the voters) I would do.”

Specifically, he said he has kept his pledge to cut government spending, as well as fight for Utah issues concerning lands and individual liberties.

“The budgets that I have voted on cut spending in a real meaningful way,” Stewart said.

On public lands issues, Stewart said he has been greatly involved in fighting to preserve Utah’s R.S. 2477 roads, as well as deal with matters related to grazing.

The congressman said he has also done everything in his power to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act, which he sees as a violation of individual liberties.

Not everyone is satisfied with Stewart’s performance in Congress. Steve MacFarlane, of Veyo, is a state delegate who originally voted for Stewart, yet might not the next time around.

MacFarlane and Stewart verbally sparred over the congressman’s voting record during a candidate-delegate meeting Friday. MacFarlane said Stewart wasn’t cutting federal spending by helping to pass the latest federal budget and farm bill. While Stewart said those measures had elements that cut federal spending, MacFarlane argued they nonetheless raised spending overall.

“There are differences of opinion,” Stewart said.

Leading in Congress

I don’t want to be a voice in Congress, I want to be a leader in Congress,” Stewart said, and believes he is accomplishing this by serving on particular House committees and subcommittees that can affect federal policy.

Though he is a freshman congressman, Stewart was appointed to be the chair of the House Subcommittee on Environment, and more recently was moved to the House Appropriations Committee. Both of these posts could have gone to more seasoned members of Congress, but went to him instead, he said.

Public lands and the Bureau of Land Management

Related to worries ranchers and others have about the sage grouse being listed as an endangered species and how that may affect grazing and other activities on public lands, Stewart said his position on the appropriations committee could help delay that.

“We can attach a rider on appropriations that precludes the administration from spending any money to list the sage grouse this year,” he said.

Not funding the project would allow the state more time to finish its own studies regarding sage grouse and impacts grazing and other activities may have on the bird. “(Utah) can manage that problem,” Stewart said. “You don’t need the federal government to manage that problem.”

Stewart also said Friday he would be introducing a bill Monday that would move management of wild horses from the BLM over to the state. The state manages deer and elk populations, so why not wild horses, Stewart said.

As well, Stewart said it concerns him that the BLM and other federal agencies have what he called “paramilitary units.” Images of BLM ranger in military-like apparel were seen during the standoff between the BLM and Bundys on April 12.

Since officials with BLM and other agencies aren’t elected to power, they aren’t directly accountable to the people, Stewart said. We will “look at government agencies and look at their paramilitary units and find out a way to defund them,” he said. “There’s no reason the BLM should have units like that. No reason at all.”

State Sen. Evan Vickers, who represents Senate District 28, was at the candidate-delegate meeting in support of Stewart.

Since Stewart has been in office, he has helped Iron County with its prairie dog issue, Vickers said. He has also helped speed up the process of dealing with the federal government.

“He’s been very helpful,” Vickers said.

Also vying for the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District are Larry Meyers, Vaughn Hatton, and Zachary Hartman. The Utah Republican Party’s state-level nominating convention will be held in Salt Lake City on Saturday.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Brian April 23, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I have to agree with MacFarlane. I was really excited for Christ Stewart, I love his books. I supported his campaign and voted for him last time. He talks the talk and sounds conservative, but he hasn’t walked the walk. Not even close. We don’t need another Hatch, McCain, or Boehner in DC, and Christ Stewart is already on track to become exactly that.

    If we let Christ Stewart stay in DC after saying one thing and doing another, we’re telling all future politicians “Lie to us during the election, we’ll let it slide and you can have a high paid career and a huge pension”.

    Personally, I like Larry Meyers. He has a long track record of conservative ACTION and is rock solid on conservative principles.

    State delegates for District 2: If you have another conservative candidate that you prefer, that’s fine. But please fire Chris Stewart!

  • Adam April 23, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Just because someone says Rep. Stewart is too moderate, doesn’t make it true. Rep. Stewart has been a strong conservative voice for Utah and for our country, and his complete voting record reflects that. I think he is an honest man, who has done everything he said he would do. I want a strong conservative leader representing Washington County, and I know he has earned accolades from conservative groups around the country, and being appointed to the Appropriations Committee, as this article mentions, as a freshman congressman, is HUGE. Keep up the good work Congressman, I think you deserve another two years.

  • LShep April 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    As a long-time republican who has been in the trenches fighting for our ideas for decades, I have deep concerns about those in the party who would demonize any other republican who will not join them in their no-compromise, “our-way-or-the-highway” approach. Voting “no” is easy. Crafting legislation that can move our nation in the right direction and gain a majority of votes is hard work. Getting most of what we want in legislation that had to be negotiated with a Democrat controlled Senate should be seen as a victory, but instead some want to focus on what we didn’t get and would rather that we got nothing. Chris Stewart is as ideologically solid a conservative as they come. I do not agree with every item in every piece of legislation he has voted for, and I know he does not either. But as I have studied those votes in question I have come to respect Congressman Stewart more. There are times to stand on principle without wavering, and times to take a smaller than desired outcome and recognize that it was the best that could be done today, then rise and fight again tomorrow.
    As a delegate, I support Chris Stewart and his principled, hard-working, common-sense conservatism.

  • btaylor April 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Wow! Some people are acting like Chris voted for ObamaCare, wrote legislation for amnesty, personally raised the national debt, raised money for abortion clinics, and Harry Reid. The only person who will vote exactly the way you want them to vote is yourself. If there is any question on Chris’ voting record just ask him why. He will always have a good answer. Chris has been so involved in Utah and National politics. Where has Mike Lee been on the horse issue or the lands issue or the endangered species in our state? In Washington is where. Chris has written legislation for the prairie dogs and is releasing legislation for the wild horses next week. Over 90% of our county commissioners support Chris and applaud him for his non-stop effort in helping Utah. He is an amazing man and congressman. It’s time for us to look inside ourselves and stop hating those who are really the good guys in this fight. Keep up the good fight Congressman! You have my vote and I dare say the majority in the 2nd district!

  • Tom April 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Go Chris! Hopefully he gets out of convention without having to go through a primary. He has been a great representative so far and I think he is going to be even better for Utah going into the future.

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