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Utah’s 1st District race about direction: right, left or forward?

Dem says GOP incumbent makes D.C. more divisive; he says House has never been a friendly place.

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That might create more wilderness in what he says are worthy areas as long as development and access are allowed in others — and maybe trade to Utah some developable lands to help support its schools.

McAleer says Bishop should have used his position to do that before now and that his record "hasn’t indicated a willingness to compromise." She adds, "He’s spoken repeatedly about his desire to sue the federal government to take back those lands, to privatize them" and supports laws from the Utah Legislature to do so.

At a glance

1st Congressional District

Rep. Rob Bishop:

» Served five terms in Congress.

» Serves on the powerful House Rules Committee.

» Chairman, House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.

» Temporarily on leave from the Armed Services Committee, while he serves on rules.

» Served 16 years in the Utah Legislature, including as House speaker.

» Former high school history teacher.

Donna McAleer:

» President of her class at West Point, served as a 2nd lieutenant in Germany.

» MBA from the University of Virginia.

» Led global division of GenRad, a technology company.

» Finished fourth in U.S. Olympic bobsled trials in 2002.

» Former executive director of People’s Health Clinic in Park City.

» Author of book, “Porcelain on Steel: Women of West Point’s Long Gray Line.”

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Meanwhile, she says, "We have got to recognize the natural resources we have in this state. And one of those is our iconic wilderness and our landscape, and what it brings to our state in terms of tourism, in terms of jobs, and in terms of businesses" — especially the outdoor products industry based here.

On Hill Air Force Base, Bishop says his place of seniority on the Armed Services Committee is being reserved while he is on leave to serve on Rules. He says he is senior enough to claim a subcommittee chairmanship there if he chooses.

"That does make a difference for being able to protect the future of Hill," he says.

But McAleer is unimpressed with Bishop’s track record on the base.

"Under his tenure in Washington, Hill’s been downgraded from a two-star command to a one-star command. It’s a pretty significant issue."

As a former Army officer and West Point graduate, she says she can work with the military to stress Hill’s importance and unique assets, such as the Utah Test and Training Range. "I know the language. I understand the relationships. I understand the importance of defense and national security. I’ve worn the uniform."

Bishop notes some other differences he has with his challenger. "There will always be social issues. Abortion will always be an issue," said Bishop, who is anti-abortion and also opposes gay marriage.

McAleer supports gay marriage and abortion rights, but says it may not hurt that much even in conservative Utah. "I have yet to be asked by a voter about gay marriage," even when talking to gay voters or groups, she says. "It is low on the list of voter concerns."

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She says beliefs in Utah on those topics are evolving. She noted that a February poll by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University found that 43 percent of Utahns support recognizing civil unions between gays, and 28 percent support gay marriages.


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