OGDEN — U.S. Rep. Blake Moore, about three months in office, is carving a role as a bipartisan lawmaker, trying to steer clear of the divisive tone that seems to have become the norm in national politics.
“We need to help the next generation escape the divisive rhetoric and work to solve problems. You see it constantly. I’m in the middle of a lot of it,” he said Monday during on online symposium hosted by Weber State University. “It’s not good for our country to constantly be engaging in divisive rhetoric.”
Most recently, Moore, representing the 1st District, which includes Weber County, said he signed on to a “bipartisan letter” to President Joe Biden, asking that he take “a more bipartisan approach” to infrastructure reform. He also touted the work of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group made up of Democrats and Republicans that’s “committed to finding common ground” on issues of import.
“We need more of that in Washington. And hopefully I can be part of the solution over time and not more of a problem,” he said.
His approach stands in contrast to Utah’s other freshman lawmaker, Rep. Burgess Owens, a GOPer, like Moore. Owens, who represents Utah’s 4th District, has fiercely attacked Democrats and Biden on immigration and other matters, also appearing on conservative TV networks like Newsmax.
Moore, on the other hand, has made it a point to sound a more moderate tone without, he says, sacrificing “an ounce of my core conservative principles.” He’s a fiscal and social conservative who won the Northern Utah seat in elections last November, taking over from Rep. Rob Bishop, who didn’t seek reelection after nine terms in the post.
“There’s a way to start our policy discussions from a point of common ground and build from there,” Moore said. Indeed, he maintains there are plenty of points of concurrence on even the most controversial issues.
Monday’s symposium was sponsored by Weber State’s Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service and Moore touched on a range of other topics, including debt reduction, Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta and more.
All-Star Game: MLB officials moved the planned game this summer from Atlanta due to passage in Georgia of a controversial new voting law, viewed as overly restrictive and repressive by critics. Moore, though, called into question that decision, expressed frustration at the move and said it will hurt small businesses in Georgia that were counting on the game.
“I believe that large corporations are getting involved and weighing in on something. But if you look at the actual Georgia law, those are reasonable laws and I‘ve heard that commented by several, even by left-leaning sort of media outlets,” he said.
He touted the import of freedom of speech. “But we have to be more thoughtful and balanced in our approach and hearing other people’s perspective,” he went on. “We cannot just pile on to what sometimes can be perceived as a convenient narrative.”
Residency: Moore reiterated his intent to rethink his residency after the boundaries of Utah’s four U.S. House districts are redrawn as part of redistricting set to occur this year. Though he’s originally from Ogden, inside the 1st District, Moore now lives in Salt Lake City, outside the district.
“When we see what the boundaries look like, that’ll be something that we address. My wife and I will figure it out,” said Moore.
The U.S. Constitution requires only that a U.S. representative live in the state they represent, not necessarily the district, Moore noted. He argues that living in Salt Lake City lets him better connect with the district’s disparate zones — Summit, Daggett, Duchesne and Uintah counties in northeastern Utah and Weber, Box Elder and Cache counties in the northern reaches of the state.
One of his sons is autistic, and his schooling and therapy are additional considerations. “I’ve just got a lot of things to consider,” Moore said.
Daylight savings: Bishop had pushed for change allowing states to adopt daylight saving time year round when in office. Moore expressed a least a measure of accord with the viewpoint.
“I don’t know why it doesn’t get more traction,” he said. “I do see value in daylight savings time being maintained.”
D.C. statehood: He sounded sympathy with talk of giving residents of Washington, D.C., statehood in some fashion. As is, Washington, D.C., has no voting representation in Congress.
“That’s wrong for our country. I don’t think that should exist. We need them to be able to say they have representation,” he said.
The issue gets complicated, though, due to partisanship. Democrats tout statehood in largely Democratic Washington, D.C., in part to gain two more reliable U.S. Senate seats and GOPers resist for the same reason. “Let’s recognize that. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Then let’s find a solution,” Moore said.
Possible fixes, Moore said, could be moving part of Washington, D.C., into the state of Maryland. Alternatively, blue portions of Virginia that were historically part of Washington, D.C, could be moved back into the U.S. capital before turning it into a state. That, he suggested, would potentially make Virginia a bit more red, serving as a balance to creation of a new blue state.
Debt reduction: Reducing the U.S. debt is a key issue for Moore. He touted bipartisan efforts in 1997 during the administration of President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, to balance the U.S. budget, saying he’d like to be part of a similar effort.
“I want to be part of the reversal of debt culture,” Moore said.