LAYTON — There’s too much drama in Washington, D.C., and U.S. lawmakers need to put the focus on issues that matter to people, work together to address their concerns, says Mark Shepherd.
“We need somebody who can work together, who can go back and try to unite people and get things done. It’s a reality TV show back there right now,” he said. “We have got to get down to issues.”
There’s too much partisan bickering, he maintains, and in announcing plans Wednesday to run for Utah’s 1st District U.S. House seat, the Clearfield mayor, a Republican, said his emphasis would be on getting tangible results.
As is, the attitude among federal lawmakers is “they’re wrong, we’re right, whichever side of the aisle you’re on,” he said. “We have got to be able to reach across the aisle and get things to work. We’ve got to solve issues.”
Shepherd, who announced his plans to supporters at MacCool’s Public House in Layton, becomes the fourth Republican and the fifth candidate overall to jump in the race for the seat to be vacated by Rep. Rob Bishop. Bishop, a Republican from Brigham City, is in his ninth term but isn’t seeking reelection. Morgan County Councilwoman Tina Cannon, Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt and Syracuse trucker and consultant Cory Green, all Republicans, have already announced plans to run. Democrat Jamie Cheek is also running.
Shepherd — who said he’s been mulling a House bid for four years, waiting for Bishop to decide not to run again — singles himself out as somebody connected to the people at the grassroots level. In his job as Realtor, he said, he works with clients on limited budgets, people fighting to keep ahead of the economy. He’s in his second term as mayor and served six years on the Clearfield City Council before that and nine years on the Clearfield Planning Commission.
“Their lives are thrown into turmoil. So we need somebody who gets it from this level, who understands people. And I really think that that’s what D.C. needs,” he said.
He backs President Donald Trump, he said, but seems to acknowledge that Trump’s style rubs some the wrong way. “Whether you love him as a person, that’s your choice,” he said.
Whatever the case, Trump is doing what he said he would do and making headway in implementing his vision. “He wasn’t elected for the great guy that he was. He was elected for the policies that he could create and he’s doing everything he said he would do,” Shepherd said.
As for the push by U.S. House Democrats to impeach the president, Shepherd said there still isn’t enough solid information to be able to make a definitive decision on the matter.
“We need facts. Yes, people should always be held accountable for their actions,” he said. But the current debate, as he sees it, amounts to “one party saying he’s definitely not guilty and he did nothing wrong and another party saying he’s 100% guilty and he needs to be impeached. Well, where’s the rest of the facts?”
On immigration, he called for a balance between “allowing those people in who have created this country” and protecting U.S. borders. “We are a nation built on immigrants. Every one of us in one way or another is an immigrant to this country. We have an obligation, though, to protect our borders,” he said.
Other priorities, he said, are protecting Hill Air Force Base and giving the U.S. military the financing it needs “to protect this nation and those that we support.” He also favors an infrastructure bill to maintain roads, sewers, Internet and the other things “that allow communities to grow and make places better to live.”
The 1st District, which is heavily Republican, covers Weber County, northern Davis County and eight other counties in Northern Utah.