A congressional resignation, hurry sickness and the need for respectful restraint

Jun 2, 2023, 6:00 PM

Chris Stewart resignation...

FILE - Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart looks on during his town hall meeting on March 31, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Stewart is resigning from his seat in the narrowly divided U.S. House of Representatives. He said in a statement on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, that he had decided to retire due to his wife's health. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, announced his resignation from the U.S. House on Wednesday due to his wife’s health concerns. No sooner had the five-term congressman confirmed his upcoming vacancy and the rush was on to replace him. 


In the aftermath of Rep. Stewart’s resignation, on Wednesday morning, candidates on both sides of the aisle are starting to make their intentions known about being a potential replacement for the Utah congressman.

Candidates starting to line up as potential replacement for Rep. Stewart

Where’s the fire?

To me, this is one of those “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

We have this hurry sickness in our society that often prevents us from showing respect and restraint. We’re in such a rush. Before the ink had even dried on the congressman’s letter, many were rushing to the microphones, to the cameras and social media to be first in, to be the first to declare, to jump in the fray or to say, “I’m seriously considering.”

I think that’s wildly inappropriate. When you have someone stepping down, someone who has served our state and our country well, someone who is stepping down to address an illness in the family with the representative’s wife — and we wish them all the best. Can you not wait? Could you not wait a nanosecond?

I really think that running for office is something that should be a deliberate decision. It should never be a reaction to what somebody else has done or hasn’t done.

I worry that in our rush for someone to have a platform  — not a position — a platform for whatever their agenda might be, we end up in this space of hurry sickness once again, which rarely leads us to get the best candidates to make the best decisions or to do the work that will actually be best for the greater good.

Can you show some restraint and respect?

Restraint always works. Restraint always shows respect, which I think is an important thing, especially when you’re looking at someone running for public office.

The rush is irrelevant; it’s a distraction. And again, I think it’s disrespectful — regardless of who the candidates are. To me, that’s why our politics are so broken. We’re not willing to show restraint.

When we’re racing and chasing all the time, all we are left with is clickbait, headlines, social-media banter and fundraising emails.

A real leader understands how to overcome hurry sickness, show respectful restraint and pause before making a big decision or launching a big effort.

I think we can do better.
I think we are better.

Related reading: CNN: Utah Republican Chris Stewart to resign from Congress


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A congressional resignation, hurry sickness and the need for respectful restraint