Donna McAleer challenges the ‘guardian of gridlock’ |

Donna McAleer challenges the ‘guardian of gridlock’

Donna McAleer, the Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District, said Tuesday evening the U.S. cannot defeat the Islamic State solely with military force, indicating diplomacy is needed.

McAleer appeared at a private residence in Francis alongside other Democratic candidates for a meet-and-greet as the campaign entered its final weeks. McAleer touched on the battle against the Islamic State during her comments to the crowd, describing that she was unhappy Congress did not heavily debate military action before it started.

In an interview afterward, McAleer said Congress, the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff should have been involved. She said it "deserves serious, thoughtful" discussion.

"This is not a war the U.S. can win. The solution to this is a political solution," McAleer also said, acknowledging that she is breaking with President Obama on the issue.

McAleer’s appearance in Francis drew approximately 16 people. She is challenging the Republican incumbent, Rep. Rob Bishop, for the second time. Bishop routed her in the 2012 campaign. McAleer won Summit County, but her home county accounts for a small portion of the district’s population. Bishop won by wide margins elsewhere in the district. She acknowledged the 2012 campaign during the Tuesday event, telling the crowd the landslide nature of the results was "devastating."

McAleer sharply criticized Bishop during her remarks to the crowd, saying interest groups representing industries like oil, gas, mining, defense and health care are funding the incumbent’s campaign while she is raising money from individuals.

She also nicked Bishop for the shutdown of the federal government in 2013. He "manipulated the rules" for the shutdown, McAleer charged. The shutdown caused the furlough of 40,000 federal workers in Utah and closed the state’s national parks at a popular time for tourism, she charged, saying Utah leaders had to pay to reopen them.

Bishop is a "guardian of gridlock," McAleer said. She also said he has been a part of the "most dysfunctional" Congresses in the nation’s history. Voters, though, re-elect incumbent members of Congress at an overwhelming clip, she said. That has "enabled career politicians," McAleer said.

She briefly described her background as a West Point graduate and an Army veteran who served in Germany. The Army, she said, focuses on a mission. Congress, though, does not, she charged.

"They have lost focus on governing our nation," McAleer said about Congress.

Other topics she addressed at the event included:

  • a claim that the federal tax code does not favor small businesses. She said Congress could consider simplifying tax laws for small businesses and close loopholes in corporate taxes
  • a desire to invest in alternative fuels and move toward energy independence
  • her hope for a path to citizenship as a part of immigration reform. She said children are fleeing poverty and strife as they attempt to immigrate to the U.S. The situation is a "humanitarian crisis" rather than an issue of border security, she said.
  • a statement that air quality is an economic issue

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