Former Rep. Ben McAdams on electing a new speaker

Oct 19, 2023, 1:19 PM

Image of former Rep. Ben McAdams, who said that the search for a new Speaker of the House must incl...

FILE: Former Utah Rep Ben McAdams says the House of Representatives must seek bipartisanship in order to elect a new House speaker. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — While he was still in office, former congressman Ben McAdams, who represented Utah’s 4th Congressional District, was known for reaching across the aisle to work with House Democrats.

And as McAdams watches House Republicans try to elect a new speaker, he said he wonders if more of his former colleagues might be willing to work with Democrats.

McAdams told KSL NewsRadio that may be the only way the body can move toward a new speaker.


“There’s so many big things happening in the world right now,” he told KSL At Night, whether it’s the Hamas attack, a terrorist attack on Israel, or the challenges in Ukraine and across the globe.

We cannot afford to vacate the world stage.”

McAdams made the comments Wednesday, the same day that Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, failed for a second time to garner enough votes for the House speakership. The eventual winner needs the votes of 217 Representatives. Jordan got 200 votes on the first ballot, and 199 on the second.

McAdams says bipartisanship will garner a new speaker

McAdams said that there are just as many Democrats as Republicans in D.C. who seem to believe that “bipartisanship is a swear word.” But he said there are many who do want to see bipartisanship going forward.

“Democrats are looking for a consensus candidate who wants to unify and bring people together,” he said.

He doesn’t believe that Rep. Jordan is that candidate. On the other hand, he thinks that Utah’s own Rep. John Curtis could be that candidate. Or Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, the current interim speaker.

“There are good people and good ideas on both sides,” McAdams said. “Let’s let both parties have a seat at the table, participate in the governance process.”

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Former Rep. Ben McAdams on electing a new speaker