OGDEN — Blake Moore‘s commitment to service, he says, really got going as a senior at Ogden High School back in 1997.

He won the Heisman High School Scholarship that year, a national award recognizing his athletic and community involvement, and the honor changed his life.

“It set me on a course to understand the importance of service that’s remained with me my whole life,” he said. He was quarterback for the Ogden High School football team at the time and currently works as a principal for a management consulting firm in Salt Lake City, where he now lives.

The commitment to service remains, and now he aims to serve in a new way — as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He seeks the 1st District seat, now held by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, and he and three other GOPers, Kerry Gibson, Katie Witt and Bob Stevenson, face off in the June 30 Republican primary.

Moore, who describes himself as a conservative, puts a big focus on his prior international and foreign policy experience in Southeast Asia, including China. He’s making his first bid for public office.

“From ‘07 to 2013 was spent working in the defense, intelligence and diplomatic communities in various roles. The most notable was with the U.S. State Department,” he said, shying from providing additional details owing to restrictions on what he’s legally permitted to say given the nature of the work. “My focus was on North Korea and China foreign policy matters and matters of national security, general foreign policy.”

He also touts his current work with the Cicero Group, working with nonprofit groups. Per his duties, he gathers and analyzes pertinent market and customer data “and then you build a strategy for your client based off of that. I see no daylight between what that skill is and what we need in Congress,” he said.

As a resident of Salt Lake City, where he’s lived since 2015, Moore doesn’t actually reside in the 1st District, which covers northern Davis County, Weber County and eight other northern and northeastern Utah counties. But he cites his roots in Ogden, which is within the district.

“Grew up right here in Ogden, went to Ogden High School,” he said, also noting his “sincere desire” to serve. “I feel most connected to this district. I’ve spent the vast majority of my life in Utah in the 1st District.”

He also noted the provision of the U.S. Constitution that states only that U.S. House members be residents of the state they represent, not necessarily the district. “The framers of the Constitution knew it was important for the states to send their most qualified leadership to represent it in Washington. ... If it’s good enough for the Constitution, it should be good enough for us,” he said.

Still, his GOP competitors all live inside the district — Gibson in western Weber County, Witt in Kaysville and Stevenson in Layton — and he knows his residency may be a factor for some voters. The two Democrats seeking the seat, who also face off in the June 30 primary, also live within the confines of the district — Jamie Cheek in Ogden and Daren Parry in Providence.

“Ultimately, that’s what’s going to be decided. I believe the voters will decide who the best, most qualified candidate is,” he said. If he wins, he’ll first see how redistricting pans out following the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau population count then “reevaluate,” though he’d likely seek a home inside the district.

His residency apparently didn’t weigh with delegates at the Utah Republican Party convention in April. He garnered 43% support from the party stalwarts, second to Gibson, who got 57%, earning a spot on the primary ballot and beating out 10 other GOP candidates. Stevenson and Witt earned spots on the ballot via petition.

‘EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED’

On his website, Moore offers up some traditionally Republican views. He’s pro-Second Amendment. He thinks the U.S.-Mexico border should be secured before other steps to address the immigration issue. He thinks the Affordable Care Act should be replaced with “a market-driven solution that gives more flexibility to the states.” Like other candidates, he also touts the importance of supporting Hill Air Force Base.

Among his distinguishing characteristics, he maintains, are his foreign service work and international experience. With that background, he’d be adept at dealing with foreign policy, armed services and intelligence matters from “day one.” His current work in Utah, meantime, gives him understanding of the state’s economy.

“I think my broad experience from the federal level to working in the economy, producing and solving complex problems for organizations, is exactly what we need right now,” he said.

He lacks the hands-on political experience of Witt, the Kaysville mayor; Stevenson, a Davis County commissioner and former Layton mayor; and Gibson, a former Weber County commissioner and Utah House member. But he paints that as a plus.

“The other candidates have all been in politics for a long time and I’m challenging the notion that that’s what Washington needs right now,” he said. “We need to have private sector problem-solving in Washington so we can ensure our economy gets back on track, and that’s been my experience for the last decade.”

The Democratic and Republican winners in the June 30 primaries face off in the Nov. 3 general election. The seat has leaned Republican, with Bishop, the incumbent and a GOPer, winning by wide margins to each of his nine terms. This cycle, Bishop is the candidate for lieutenant governor on the ticket of Republican gubernatorial hopeful Thomas Wright.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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