Pinebrook woman vies for congressional nomination |

Pinebrook woman vies for congressional nomination

Jay Hamburger The Park Record

Donna McAleer, a Snyderville Basin resident seeking the Democratic nomination in Utah’s 1st Congressional District, would be willing to stop paying members of Congress for a while if that is what would convince them to balance the federal budget.

McAleer is running an upstart campaign for the nomination. She has never served in elected office and has not worked in a civilian position in the government. McAleer sees a balanced budget as critical, though. She said she would support a measure to withhold the salaries of members of Congress until a balanced budget is reached.

She said there are opportunities to reduce expenses and raise taxes in an effort to balance the budget. McAleer, though, did not provide details.

"You cannot just look at increasing taxes or cutting expenses. You have to look at both sides of the ledger," McAleer said.

She talks about the budget in the wider context of the economy. She said some Americans are doing well as the stock markets have risen, but the working class and people on fixed incomes are continuing to struggle. She said simplifying the federal tax code could lead to more job creation.

McAleer has not crafted a platform plank dealing with rising gasoline prices.

McAleer is 46 years old and has lived in Summit County since 1999. She lives in Pinebrook. She was the executive director of the People’s Health Clinic, a not-for-profit that provides health care to the uninsured, between 2001 and 2004. She has a background in business management.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy, McAleer served in the Army in Germany at the time of reunification. She left the army as a first lieutenant.

McAleer was a bobsledder who trained for the 2002 Winter Olympics and she is a part-time ski instructor at Deer Valley Resort. She said her broad background would add diversity to Congress.

She said her military experience makes her unlike many members of Congress. McAleer said in the last decade the U.S. was more apt to use military force rather than diplomacy and economic sanctions. Military force should be the "tool of last resort," she said.

McAleer is challenging another Democrat, Ryan Combe, for the party’s nomination. The Democrat will likely have difficulty on Election Day in the heavily Republican district. The incumbent, Rep. Rob Bishop, faces two challengers within the GOP.

Her campaign website,, mentions other platform planks. They include:

  • education reform "that stimulates innovation"


  • energy policy that "enhances our national security and creates independence"


  • means to "successfully reintegrate our veterans back into civilian life, and show them the respect they deserve for their service."


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