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IN THE NEWS: Our View- Bishop, Chaffetz move on up

November 24, 2014
Op-Ed and Speech
by Standard-Examiner Editorial Board
view online here

As expected, longtime Top of Utah representative to the U.S. House, Rob Bishop, was named chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. It's a top-level position for Bishop, allowing him to play a major role in congressional decisions involving the Interior Department and the stewardship of public lands. Bishop is inheriting a position that his predecessor, former Rep. Jim Hansen, once held. 

Another Utah U.S. representative who grabbed a big chairmanship is Jason Chaffetz. He will oversee the often-contentious House Oversight and Government Reform Commitee, which has examined, among other issues, the probe of whether the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for harassment and how the Obama administration responded to the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attack that killed four Americans. In the U.S. Senate, it is expected that Utahn Orrin Hatch will chair the Senate Finance Committee.

We congratulate both Bishop and Chaffetz for assuming these leadership roles and wish them, as well as Senator Hatch, the best of fortunes. All, in our opinion, have developed statesmanlike qualities during their tenures, and shown an ability to listen to opposing views and build friendships with members of the Democratic Party. Both will face the challenge of building bipartisan coalitions within their committees. In today's rancorous political climate, statesmanship is highly valued. If Bishop and Chaffetz turn into  mouthpieces for what is popular on talk radio and within the Tea Party, they will likely not succeed as committee leaders.

Bishop will have the task of finding legislative solutions that protect our natural resources while also respecting the rights of states and industries. There will be loud voices on both sides. Chaffetz inherits a committee that was led by a too-partisan leader, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Frankly, Chaffetz needs to tone down the partisan rhetoric and anger. He needs to create a committee in which both parties can achieve solutions. With topics that include the IRS scandal and Benghazi attack, that will be a tough task. But it's important. House committees need to create positive legislation, not soundbites for cable TV news.