ST. GEORGE — From the reasons why he continues to support President Donald Trump to thoughts on additional pandemic financial relief and the Norther Corridor, Republican Congressman Chris Stewart spoke with St. George News about various issues as he campaigns for reelection.
Stewart represents Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers a large portion of Southern Utah.
He is seeking a 4th term in the House of Representatives. Challenging Stewart for the seat are Democrat Kael Weston and Libertarian J. Robert Latham.
Stewart’s responses to St. George News’ questions are detailed below:
Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job and what issues are most pressing to you?
It’s a question he gets a lot as Election Day draws near, Stewart said, adding it is nonetheless a good one as it helps outline what he feels a congressional representative should do.
A congressional representative should listen to the people who elect him and be able to work with others, even those who don’t agree with him much of the time. Stewart said he believes he’s done a good job in both areas.
“No one’s going to agree with me 100% of the time in the House or in the district,” he said.
An elected office also should reflect the primary values of the majority that vote them in, Stewart added.
“The 2nd Congressional District, at its heart, is a conservative district. The majority of the district has conservative values, and they deserve to be represented by someone who shares those values,” he said.
As for pressing issues, Stewart said the pandemic is obviously one. The nation needs to get into a position where people can get back to work and to church and resume living like they did before COVID-19 hit, he said.
Another concern is the dueling views people have of the nation, as seen in protests, riots and politics.
“Do you believe in the actual goodness of America? Do you believe America is great and exceptional? Are you willing to fight to keep it great? Or do you believe America is inherently racist and inherently bad?” Stewart said.
From a national security standpoint, other nations like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran are watching the division taking place in the county and will take advantage of it if given the opportunity, Stewart said, which is why he supports having a strong military.
Who are you supporting for president and why?
“I support the president because I agree with his policies,” Steward said. “I’ve gotten to know him. I’ve spent time with him. I know his heart. I know he cares about America. I know he cares about hard-working Americans, and I’m looking forward to voting for him.”
Before the pandemic, the economy was perhaps the best it had ever been under Trump, Stewart said, adding that other achievements of the administration include the killing of accused terrorist Qassem Soleimani in Iran earlier this year, as well as the recent peace agreements made between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Trump has also been willing to confront China in ways no one else has, Stewart said, adding he worries that Joe Biden, if elected, will work to placate China rather than stand up to it.
With people struggling financially as a result of the pandemic, what, if any, kind of federal financial aid packages do you support?
Stewart supported the $2.2 trillion relief package passed by Congress in April that also sent $1,200 out to Americans in an effort to keep the economy going.
“It was essential,” he said. “It wasn’t a stimulus package; it was a rescue package.”
Additional work needs to be done with specific areas targeted for aid, Stewart said.
Examples of the targeted areas include small businesses and the airline and hospitality industries, all of which have been heavily impacted by the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic.
Stewart said he supports getting another round of $1,200 checks to Americans.
What Stewart doesn’t support, however, are measures put forth by Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. He called the speaker’s own recommendations a “socialist wish list” that’s full of items not connected to pandemic relief.
“I agree with the president – there’s more we can do,” he said, “and I hope Miss Pelosi lets us vote on that (new relief bill) soon.”
What are your thoughts for or against the proposed Northern Corridor in Washington County?
“It’s one of the things I’ve worked the hardest on than anything else in Congress. That and the Lake Powell Pipeline have been some of our greatest priorities,” Stewart said.
Stewart has supported the creation of the proposed Northern Corridor since being voted into office. He has also sponsored legislation in congress in an effort to make it happen. The most recent legislation was introduced in August.
The Northern Corridor is considered a vital piece of future transportation infrastructure for Washington County, especially as the county continues to grow. However, the road would cut through a part of the Red Cliffs Desert Reverse and National Conservation Area where the federally protected Mojave desert tortoise resides.
“We can protect the tortoises and recognize that St. George is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation,” Stewart said.
Under Stewart’s bill, around 6,800 acres between the Bloomington area and Santa Clara would become a part of the desert reserve in exchange for the proposed roadway.
“We can build the Northern Corridor and protect tortoise habitat,” he said.
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