OGDEN -- Rep. Rob Bishop says the voters should give him a sixth term in Congress because of his experience and seniority, arguments that Donna McAleer hopes to turn against the Republican representing Utah's 1st Congressional District.
"This is a conservative state and a conservative district and I feel like I'm the conservative here," Bishop said. "I spent 28 years as a teacher here, so I've got the experience."
In Congress, he said, his five terms have won him seats on committees that can help Utah: Rules and the House Natural Resources Committee, where he is chairman of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee.
In those positions, he said, he's been able to help Utah by protecting Hill Air Force Base and ATK Space Systems, and made changes that have increased the eficiency of the federal government.
McAleer said Bishop is part of a Congress with the lowest approval ratings on record, mostly for its failure to pass legislation to boost the nation's economy.
"We need people who will get things done. When my opponent says he will get things done and cites his experience, I wonder -- he's been a career politician, he's never created a job," McAleer said.
Bishop's seniority, she said, is "the only thing he has. That's pretty stunning to me. All these people who say to elect them because they have experience, they've been there and nothing's happening. It's time to clean house."
Bishop, 61, Brigham City, was born in Kaysville, and graduated from Davis High School. He has a degree in political science from the University of Utah and taught civics at Box Elder High School from 1974 to 1980.
He taught German at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden, then government and history classes at Box Elder High School until his retirement from education in 2002 to take his seat in Congress.
Bishop and his wife, Jeralynn, have five children.
Politically, he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 1979 and served until 1995, including being House majority leader and speaker of the House. He also worked as a lobbyist in Washington. In 2002 he replaced the retiring James Hansen in the U.S. House of Representatives.
McAleer, 47, was born in New York state, graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1987 and served four years in the Army in Germany.
She received an MBA from the University of Virginia and has lived near Park City for 12 years.
She has worked for the past eight years as an independent management consultant, author and speaker with her own company, McAleer Leadership Consulting, LLC.
Before that, she was executive director of the People's Health Clinic in Summit County, and vice president of global logistics and support services for GenRad, Inc., a hardware technology firm.
She also competed for a slot on the 2002 US Olympic Bobsled team, coming one position short of qualifying. She and her husband, Ted, have a daughter.
Bishop said his experience will be critical in protecting the future of Hill Air Force Base.
Bishop said he's "unarguably" confident that HAFB is not threatened with closure, but said cuts in spending under the Obama administration have already hurt it.
If sequesterization -- forced across-the-board cuts under a budget-balancing bill approved by Congress last year -- occurs Bishop said it will do more damage, and he said the Obama administration seems to want that to happen.
"So, to be partisan, if you really want to save Hill, change administrations," he said.
What Hill needs, he said, is money to grow, "to make sure we have the infrastructure there to meet new challenges," such as the coming F-35 fighter.
Bishop said he hasn't formulated any solid legislative initiatives for the future.
"I have to get re-elected first," but said he wants to continue to push legislation to give federal law enforcement officers the power to act in wilderness areas on the U.S.-Mexican border.
He also said he wants to find ways to help Utah use the resources on the federal lands within the state's borders.
Finally, he said, he will continue his work on the 10th Amendment Task Force, an initiative he founded to push for the states to take back power from the federal government.
Asked about the stark divisions in Congress, Bishop said that, historically, those are nothing new, and cited the pre-Civil War case of one lawmaker attacking another with a cane.
He said the House, under GOP majority rule for the last two years, has worked in a bipartisan manner. "We passed 39 jobs bills with significant Democratic support," he said, all bills that got stuck in the Senate.
"So it's not a partisan issue, it's House versus Senate. We can't compromise until the Senate sends the House something we can vote on."
McAleer said she doesn't see Bishop being willing to compromise very much.
"My opponent has demanded things," she said. "He's demanded the federal government turn over public lands to the state. Come on, that's not how you get things done. When you vote 95 percent with your party leadership, that is not about compromise, that is about digging your heels in."
She blamed Bishop for being part of a Congress that has accomplished little in the last four years.
"We have farmers without relief, we have a defense department that's facing across-the-board cuts. He's not getting things done and it's not just him. The 112th Congress is the Congress that has the lowest approval rating ever."
McAleer said she's the better choice, especially from Utah because she's everything the Republican Party claims to be.
"I'm everything they talk about. I've been in the military, I've been in the private sector creating jobs," while Bishop, she said, has only worked for government.
On top of that, she said, she's a mother with a daughter in third grade in Utah's public schools.
"I care about what happens and I want to create a brighter future and I want our legislators to work and work for us.
"Like the majority of the people in this state I am tried of the gridlock and obstructionism that has plagued Washington and is holding decisions hostage."
The newly drawn lines for the District include the Top of Utah to Farmington in Davis County, but also mark counties along the eastern border of the Beehive State with Wyoming, including Uinta and Duchesne counties.