POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Rep. John Curtis taking constituent concerns back to Washington after in-state tour

Sep 16, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Sep 18, 2023, 10:30 am

A conservative approach to climate change. Rep. John Curtis speaks at the second annual Conservativ...

Rep. John Curtis speaks at the second annual Conservative Climate Summit at Utah Valley University in Orem on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.(Laura Seitz/ Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz/ Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. John Curtis from Utah’s 3rd Congressional District finished up his in-state-work period in August after spending time touring his district to hear concerns from constituents.

Curtis compared going back to D.C. to an airbag deployment due to complicated politics.

“That is a perfect description,” said Curtis. “And when you’re away from here for a few weeks and come back, they should have an orientation course for us.”

Curtis said he enjoyed touring Utah’s 3rd Congressional District and meeting with constituents during his in-state work period in August.

The prevailing concerns at these outreach meetings revolved around “It won’t surprise you,” he said, “It’s inflation, its inflation, its inflation, rising fuel costs, and the uncertainty surrounding these economic challenges.”

Additionally, Curtis said, “the national monument designation by President Biden” was a big topic of discussion, “even though it’s not in [the 3rd Congressional District], that’s such a sensitive topic down there that that was an issue to them as well.”

Many of the ranchers in southeastern Utah use the newly announced national monument land for cattle grazing. Residents worry that the new national monument will disrupt area use and force relocation.

A conservative approach to climate change

Another significant highlight of Curtis’s in-state tour during this period was the annual climate conference. Promoting conservative energy policies for economic growth and emission reduction.

“It far exceeded all of our expectations.” Curtis said, “Imagine a room full of 350 people coming to talk about a conservative approach to how we have a better energy policy, one that is good for our economy but also reduces emissions.”

Rep. Curtis said he was pleased with how the conference went, saying, “I just felt really good about the number of people who came and left seeing things through a slightly different paradigm on both the right and the left, quite frankly.”

Curtis emphasized that policies beneficial for the environment also contribute to national security, energy independence, and affordable energy prices. He challenged conventional narratives, saying, “You’ve always been told fossil fuels are the problem. And what they heard when they came to the summit was fossil fuels are actually part of the solution.”

At the same time, he said that clean energy shouldn’t come at the cost of national security and energy independence. Using U.S. natural gas instead of Russian gas globally would cut emissions the most, according to him.

Curtis underscored the importance of not falling into the trap of false choices in climate and environmental policy discussions. He cited Europe’s example, where the shift towards renewables. This led to increased reliance on fossil fuels from adversaries, resulting in higher emissions and higher costs.

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Rep. John Curtis taking constituent concerns back to Washington after in-state tour