United Utah candidate: ‘frustration’ inspired him to run for Congress
Eric Eliason, the United Utah Party candidate in the 1st Congressional District contest, is apparently not a fan of President Trump.
In a campaign appearance in Park City on Tuesday, Eliason briefly spoke about the president in response to an audience question. The candidate did not dwell on the topic, but Eliason said he does not support Trump’s management style or what he sees as the president’s lack of respect for others.
“I have a problem with the tone,” Eliason said, adding that the country needs to be reunited.
Eliason did not provide details about his differences with Trump, but the comments highlight that the president’s agenda and demeanor may be a factor in the congressional campaign as the political season starts in earnest in coming weeks.
Eliason is seeking to unseat the Republican incumbent, Rep. Rob Bishop. The Democratic candidate is Lee Castillo. It is expected to be a difficult task for either of the challengers to defeat the popular incumbent, who has dispatched opponents by wide margins throughout his career.
“Frustration,” he said as he explained his inspiration for seeking the congressional seat.
Eliason appeared at the Park City Library in front of a crowd of approximately 10 people. Mayor Andy Beerman was in attendance. The mayor said he attended to observe the discussion and said City Hall must work with the 1st Congressional District representative regardless of the winner.
The candidate lives in Logan and has a background as an investor, businessperson and adjunct professor at Utah State University. He has said Summit County is important to the campaign strategy and has said his goal is to win the county. Summit County holds just a small percentage of the population of the congressional district, meaning Eliason would need to attract large blocs of voters elsewhere in the district to compete even if he is successful locally.
Eliason covered a series of topics during his stump speech and in response to audience questions, describing himself as a political centrist. Eliason and others campaigning on the United Utah Party ticket see themselves as attractive alternates to the Republican and Democratic candidates.
“It’s a really diverse spectrum,” he said about his support, adding, “We’re getting support pretty broadly.”
He said the United Utah Party’s presence on the ballot can push forward the political debate. Eliason described his political thinking as putting country above party and putting the public interest ahead of special interests. In contrast, he noted as an example, the incumbent congressman accepts political contributions from oil, gas, casino and legal interests. He said Bishop’s political contributions overwhelmingly come from outside the state. Eliason, though, said he will champion transparency and accountability in politics.
Eliason also outlined ideas about health care reform, saying Americans are paying more for the services but not enjoying the desired outcome. He said his transparency agenda includes health care, arguing policy makers rather than the industry need to create solutions.
“Put wellness ahead of procedures,” he said.
Eliason mentioned the possibility of states having the ability to negotiate pharmaceutical costs and said transparency in health care pricing could lead to a drop in costs.
“The current system is not the way forward,” he said, calling health care a human right.
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