Utahn Ally Isom pledged to limit her stay in the U.S. Senate should she manage to beat out Republican two-term incumbent Sen. Mike Lee in June’s primary election.
Isom, who was former Gov. Gary Herbert’s deputy chief of staff, committed herself to two terms in the Senate at a news conference Thursday, while standing near the southern steps of the Utah Capitol. She also called for Lee to honor his support of term limits and step out of the race.
“I call on Senator Lee to honor his commitment, to shut down his campaign, to finish the work we sent him to do and to come home to a grateful state,” she said at the news conference.
As recently as after his 2016 reelection to a second term, Lee supported legislation that would limit members of Congress to twelve years, while clarifying that he wouldn’t voluntarily commit to imposing the two-term limit on himself.
The statement was part of a 2017 news release from Lee that said term limits could be used to “drain the swamp.”
Lee is not the first Utah Republican to advocate for Congressional term limits.
His predecessor, Sen. Bob Bennett, endorsed term limits when he first ran for Senate but later recanted his stance, saying, “Fact is, we have a system of term limits in the Constitution, it’s called elections. So, it will be the people of Utah who get to decide who should stay and who should go.”
Bennett was unseated by Lee during the 2010 election, after serving three terms.
“To that end, today I commit, as Utah’s next senator, publicly, unequivocally, to serve two terms and then come home,” Isom promised during her speech. “Today, I stand at the people’s house, the symbol of Utah’s voice, on the record. Today I commit that if I have the honor, the privilege and responsibility of serving the people of Utah in the United States Senate. I will hit the ground running and I will give it all I have.”
While Isom was mostly complimentary of Lee in her speech, her tone shifted when speaking with the press afterward.
She told The Salt Lake Tribune that she believes Lee is “ineffective and out of touch with the state of Utah,” and called into question the number of bills he has passed compared to books he has authored.
“On the issues Utah needs solved, like advocating for Utah businesses, solving problems for local governments, Senator [Lee] leaves on the record of telling local governments, ‘I don’t do local issues.’ And that’s not public service, that’s careerism.”
In regards to term limits, Isom told The Tribune that she believes they give politicians the “freedom to say and do the things that need to be said and done.”
The Utah primary election is on June 28, while the general election is scheduled for Nov. 8.