Donna McAleer is the best-qualified candidate the Democrats have fielded against five-term Congressman Rob Bishop in the 1st Congressional District in years.
She is a veteran of military service as an officer in the Army, a businesswoman, a director of a nonprofit that helps the uninsured get health care, an athlete, volunteer coach, and an author. There is just one thing Bishop has that McAleer doesn't have: seniority in Congress.
Bishop serves on the powerful House Rules Committee, Natural Resources Committee, and is chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. He is on temporary leave from the House Armed Services Committee. During his decade in Washington, Bishop has become an insider who knows how to push for support on the issues that are of concern to his constituents.
That experience and understanding of how the system works can be put to good use for residents of his district. For that reason, he again receives our endorsement.
It is often said that, above all, a good member of Congress represents the views, and looks after the needs, of his district. And Bishop, a 61-year-old former high school history teacher and speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, knows how to do that.
If control of the U.S. House of Representatives stays with Republicans, Bishop stands to retain key committee assignments that should give Utah greater clout in Congress.
Bishop has his weaknesses. He is too cavalier about protecting the environment from the impact of oil and gas drilling. He told The Tribune Editorial Board that the scenery in some wild lands in Utah would be improved by locating drilling rigs there. His interference in development of the Wasatch canyons, which should be a local issue, is hard to overlook. But his support of energy development resonates with his constituents in the Uinta Basin, where drilling has created many jobs.
While McAleer would take to Washington progressive views and an ability to work with members of both parties, she would be a rookie with no experience as an elected public official. While some may consider that a plus, the system in Washington still favors those who have spent years there, building relationships.
Bishop's committee assignments, especially those dealing with public lands, could give him a platform to promote Utah's interests.
For that reason, he deserves another term.