President Trump ‘undignified,’ candidate says in courting Park City voters |

President Trump ‘undignified,’ candidate says in courting Park City voters

Eric Eliason is campaigning for the 1st Congressional District as a member of the United Utah Party. He plans to stress transparency in campaign finance and protection for public lands.
Courtesy of Eric Eliason

Eric Eliason, a United Utah Party candidate in the 1st Congressional District, would have some advice for President Trump if they were to meet.

“Pull back on the tweets, for sure,” Eliason said in an interview about his long-shot bid for the House of Representatives seat that includes Park City and surrounding Summit County.

Eliason, 46 and a resident of Logan, wants to unseat Rob Bishop, a Republican congressman who has easily defeated opponents over the years but has not proved as popular in Park City as he is elsewhere in the district. Eliason is an entrepreneur and investor who focuses on consumer goods and an adjunct business professor at Utah State University.

He said the president acts in an “undignified way.” He criticized Trump’s actions regarding tariffs and the possibility of the administration’s policies could lead to a trade war with China and others for no reason. Eliason also questions the turnover in the Trump administration, saying an organization suffers when there are departures.

“We really need to be an example to the free world,” he said.

Although he criticizes the Republican president and wants a congressional seat now held by a Republican, he does not see himself as offering a platform similar to that of the Democrats. Eliason said he is socially conservative compared to Democrats, describing himself as a pro-life candidate. He said he wants facilities updated at Hill Air Force Base, a major employer in the congressional district, and described the possibility of Russian interference in U.S. elections as the largest challenge to national security. Eliason supports term limits in Congress and supports the free-market economy.

Eliason described a stark difference between his platform and that of the incumbent regarding public lands, a topic that Bishop’s challengers and his critics have long stressed even as he easily won re-election bids.

“Public lands should remain in public hands. They benefit us all that way,” Eliason said, knocking Bishop for supporting reducing the size of national monuments and backing the extraction industries.

He said there are federal lands in Utah that “warrant better protection.” He cited some of the land that was once set aside as part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Trump removed that land from the national monument. Eliason also said there is land in Bears Ears National Monument that should be further protected after the president shrunk the size. Eliason also indicated he is fiscally responsible.

“Everyone loves a tax cut; but combine that with increase spending and we are passing that to our children,” he said in an email further explaining his platform.

Eliason, meanwhile, said he will stress transparency in campaign finance. He said he has not accepted contributions from political-action committees thus far. He said it is undetermined what sort of political-action committee he would accept a contribution from. He said, though, he would not accept a contribution from a political-action committee representing gaming interests. Bishop accepts contributions from oil and gas interests as well as from outside the state, Eliason noted.

“It doesn’t sync up. Those aren’t Utah interests, per se,” he said.

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