Republican Utah Congressman Rob Bishop and Democratic Challenger Peter Clemens met in the 1st congressional district debate Monday night at Weber State University.
From the start of the debate, Rob Bishop introduced himself as a protector of local energy and defense jobs, and a Congressman who could guarantee Utahns one thing above all else: local control.
“I’m not gonna be satisfied until I move it from Congress back to the state and local governments where it should have been in the first place,” Bishop said.
Peter Clemens, promoted himself as the candidate who would bring much needed change to what he called unaccountable politics.
“Unlike my opponent, I am not intoxicated by power or beholden to special interests,” said Clemens.
The two sparred over Bishop’s grudging support of Donald Trump as Republican nominee, control over public lands in Utah, and with a question from Weber State University student Deborah Wilber, the opioid epidemic.
“What actions do you think Congress should take to address the serious opioid epidemic taking place in the 1st Congressional District and across the country?” Wilber said.
Clemens, drew on his experience as a doctor and the role of the Affordable Care Act.
“So, certainly the President’s increasing the amount of patients I can treat in my office with this drug Suboxone is helpful. I also believe that doctors need other tools in their toolbox to treat chronic pain,” Clemens said.
The candidates also tackled immigration, education, and police community relations. Bishop’s responses were often rooted in his beliefs in federalism and his fight to bring control to the local level.
“When stuff is done simply on the federal level, it becomes too big and too cumbersome and people fall through the cracks and are therefore hurt,” Bishop said.
Clemens hopes to court undecided voters in the days leading up to the election, but Bishop will be difficult to beat. The incumbent is seeking his seventh term.
CORRECTION: An earlier online version of this story misidentified Congressman Rob Bishop on first reference. It also misinterpreted Congressman Bishop's views on federalism. We regret the errors. They have been corrected.