Candidate Conversation: Rep. Rob Bishop works to stay in Congress

Oct 31, 2018, 12:27 PM

Editor’s Note: This is one part of a 12-episode series of Candidate Conversations with the Voices of Reason Podcast in which hosts Amy Donaldson and Jasen Lee talk with Utah candidates running for federal office. The podcasts offer unique depth into the candidates’ priorities, backgrounds and reasons for running to represent the citizens of Utah. This is an effort to help voters learn more about those running for office and their positions on critical local and national issues.

SALT LAKE CITY — As his biography says, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-UT, is a life-long resident of Utah’s First Congressional District.

Born and raised in Kaysville, he graduated from Davis High School and later from the University of Utah with a degree in Political Science. For the past 44 years, he’s lived in Brigham City.

It’s that pedigree and dedication to his roots that he took with him to the state legislature where he served 16 years and then to Washington D.C. in 2003 after first going to the U.S. House of Representatives following the retirement of longtime Congressman Jim Hansen.

Inheriting the Bishop family business

Speaking with Amy Donaldson and Jasen Lee on the Voices of Reason podcast, he said the path toward a life in politics began almost before birth.

“My dad was mayor when I was born, (so) I thought that was the norm,” he said. “I was always interested and feeling like it was an obligation to serve in some capacity.”

He said when the opportunity became available; things came together and eventually lead him to the position he now serves in.

In addressing numerous topics during the Candidate Conversation, Bishop was quick to point out that the political polarization often portrayed about Congress is not nearly as bad as outside observers might believe it is.

“There has always been partisanship in Washington,” he said. “(But) there have been times when it has been far worse than it is today.”

The hard knocks of politics

He described a time in history when at the very first congressional session in Philadelphia on February 15, 1798, Rep. Roger Griswald of Connecticut attacked Rep. Matthew Lyon of Vermont after the House failed to discipline Lyon for spitting tobacco juice at Griswald two weeks prior.

“He came back with a yellow hickory stick and began beating the crap out of Lyon. (Lyon) then rolled over to the fireplace, grabbed the tongs and then started fighting back,” Bishop explained. “All day, fights were breaking out between Federalists and Jeffersonians. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

He noted that there is a “whole bunch of bipartisan stuff that happens that no one never talks or hears about.”

“What I have to tell people is that Washington sucks, but it is not nearly as bad as it’s portrayed (in the media),” Bishop said.

Hear the full Candidate Conversation along Bishop’s thoughts on issues, including public lands management, military spending, and tax policy as well as why Utah voters should re-elect him on the Voices of Reason podcast.

Bishop is in a three-way race to keep his seat. He is being challenged by Democrat Lee Castillo and Eric Eliason, who is running on the United Utah party ticket.

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Candidate Conversation: Rep. Rob Bishop works to stay in Congress