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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Rep. Rob Bishop visited lawmakers during House and Senate party caucus meetings Tuesday to give them his annual report on Washington D.C. — something each member of the state’s congressional delegation will do this session.
Bishop, who announced in July that he will not be running for a ninth term in Congress, also discussed his upcoming bid for Utah lieutenant governor and expressed appreciation for the state’s government.
Though there had been speculation regarding whether Bishop was stepping down from Congress to consider a bid for governor, he told KSL last month he doesn’t need to be governor to validate his feelings of self-worth.
Instead, the congressman is running as former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright’s running mate in the race to replace Gov. Gary Herbert, who is not seeking reelection.
Bishop told House Democrats during their Tuesday caucus meeting that if he were elected, one of his goals would be to make sure the governor’s office and Legislature works well together and is on the same page.
When Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, asked the congressman if he saw it as a demotion, Bishop said, “No public office is a demotion.”
He also said he’s most proud of the times in Washington where he was able to accomplish “the things he was told he couldn’t do."
Bishop spoke to House Republicans about how the national budget deficit has continued to spiral under both Democrat and Republican control. He said the spending problem won’t be fixed until the federal government learns to “self-regulate” or to be more selective about what problems it seeks to solve.
”Then and only then are you going to break that continuous cycle of always increasing the deficit,” Bishop said. “To me, the only solution to getting the budget under control is federalism.”
Bishop joked with both the Republicans and Democrats that lawmakers may be seeing more of him if he wins his bid for lieutenant governor. He also lamented it was his last year in Congress.
”I want you to know, I wasn’t ready to quit Congress,” he said. “I didn’t want to. ... But I had reached the apex of what I could do in Congress.”
Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, said Bishop was “really good, and entertaining as always” in his appearance before the closed Senate GOP caucus.