Democrat Lee Castillo takes aim at the tightly-locked 1st Congressional District seat owned by veteran politician, GOP Rep. Rob Bishop. Battling in one of the most heavily Republican areas in the country, Castillo may need more than luck to wind up in control of the seat.
The Globe sent a questionnaire to both of the candidates in Utah’s 1st Congressional District Election in an effort to understand their political and social views.
One issue that is a large talking point for candidates in Utah is the dispute over public lands. Both candidates call the issue “protecting Utah lands” but Bishop and Castillo don’t have the same thing in mind.
Castillo is in favor of the federal government having control over some lands in Utah, as long as the native people get a say.
“It is simple, the federal government can be involved in regulations and management of those lands they oversee,” Lee Castillo said in the answered questionnaire. “Though for areas close to populations and First Nation people they need to be included as part of the decision process.”
Bishop is quite the opposite in believing the federal government has a right to Utah lands. On his website, Bishop references the bill that allowed Bears Ears to be declassified as a National Monument to explain his position.
“I continue to push my Public Lands Initiative to bring more local control and resolution to Utah’s public land disputes. Last Congress, the House passed my bill which would change the way the President designates national monuments that lock up so much of our land.”
Another local issue that has gained momentum over the past few years is the debate over medical marijuana in Utah. Proposition 2 will be on the ballot the same time as the candidates this election year.
Bishop’s website doesn’t make clear his stance on whether or not he supports Prop 2, although in the past, he has introduced bills calling for easier access to medical research on marijuana.
Castillo’s response to Prop. 2 is clear.
“Absolutely, I personally support Proposition 2. Medical marijuana has the potential to reverse the opioid crisis,” says Castillo.
Candidates’ core issues
Castillo’s campaign website puts immigration first on the list of issues he’s fighting; followed by income inequality and healthcare.
The list of issues on Bishop’s campaign website is not as detailed as Castillo’s, but there is one interesting issue that is mentioned: “Fighting for Federalism.” On this subject, Bishop says, “the real solution to so many issues is a return to the Constitution, the 10th Amendment and the principle of Federalism.”
Utah’s 1st Congressional District covers most of northern Utah and includes the cities of Ogden, Park City, Logan, and North Salt Lake.