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Utah Members Of Congress Look For Bipartisan Openings After SOTU

Photo of SOTU address.
Screenshot AP

Utah’s members of Congress struck an optimistic tone following President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

Trump “hit it just right,” said Republican Rep. Chris Stewart.

Emphasizing themes in the president’s speech such as infrastructure and lowering health care costs, both Republicans and Utah’s sole Democrat, Rep. Ben McAdams, seemed hopeful bipartisan solutions might emerge.

“Transparency with prescription drugs, rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, and parental leave are just a few of the President’s proposals that should enjoy broad bipartisan support,” Stewart said. “I’m ready to get to work and hope my Democratic colleagues will join me.”

All three items earned strong support from both sides of the chamber during Trump’s speech.

Rep. John Curtis of Utah’s 3rd District released a video echoing Stewart’s positive outlook.

Sen. Mitt Romney called the speech “strong, well-delivered” and said it “appealed to our patriotism and common values as Americans,” but drew a line at Trump’s recent foreign policy moves in Syria and Afghanistan.

“While I welcome efforts by the administration to reach a political solution in Afghanistan and eliminate ISIS in Syria, I believe that — based on conditions on the ground — we must maintain a sufficient U.S. presence in both places to protect our national security interests,” Romney said.

Sen. Mike Lee’s criminal justice reform bill, the FIRST STEP Act, got a special mention during Trump’s speech. Afterward, Lee said he believes that is “just the beginning of what we can accomplish together on a bipartisan basis.”


Rep. Ben McAdams, who narrowly won a close contest in Utah’s 4th District, brought his brother-in-law who voted for Trump to the speech, saying he valued hearing his perspective.

After the speech, McAdams said in a statement that he believes Congress can find solutions “if we work together.”

“As we have learned in Utah, when we put partisanship aside we can move our communities forward. That will truly keep the state of our union strong,” he said.

Rep. Rob Bishop did not immediately release a statement. He hosted Jennie Taylor, widow of the late Major Brent Taylor, who was killed last year in Afghanistan.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to rename a North Ogden Department of Veterans Affairs outstation after Maj. Taylor.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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