Bishop's competitors fault defense act vote

Apr 19 2012 - 3:56pm



The two Republicans hoping to unseat incumbent Rob Bishop from his District 1 seat in the U.S. House both say his vote on the National Defense Authorization Act provoked them to run against the fellow Republican.

"It violates our 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Amendment rights, and I sent Representative Bishop a letter asking him to explain his vote for it," said Jacqueline Smith, 47, of Coalville. "His answer was insufficient."

"It's a desperate situation and those who voted for it need to be voted out," said Leonard Joe Fabiano, 77, of South Jordan.

Among other things, critics say the NDAA allows Americans suspected of terrorism to be held without charges or trial indefinitely and empowers the military to arrest people on American soil.

"The America I know doesn't do that," said Smith, an accountant, businesswoman and teacher. "Our Congress continues to allow these encroachments."

"It begins with the Patriot Act, then the Military Commissions (Act) of 2006, and now this," said Fabiano, a business entrepreneur. "We've been regressing toward socialism, and now we're in it."

Bishop, 60, Brigham City, a five-term incumbent, defended his NDAA vote, responding to questions via email.

"I do not support the indefinite detention of American citizens," Bishop wrote. "I viewed the NDAA as a limitation on a power the President was claiming and the courts appeared to be supporting.

"It was a step in the right direction of limiting the detention authority the President was claiming, with the goal to protect individual liberties. The constitutional rights of Americans must be protected."

Smith and Fabiano also scoffed at statements they attribute to Bishop and other incumbents, claiming their re-election is crucial to protecting Hill Air Force Base in the event there is another round of military base closures.

Fabiano called a Hill scare just election-year smoke.

"It's a very, very, very strategic asset," he said. "There are no plans to discontinue it. It's ridiculous to be concerned about Hill."

"It shouldn't be politicized," Smith said. "I have it on fairly good authority that Hill has nothing to worry about. BRAC is no threat to Hill. It's just not going anywhere. ... BRAC commissions just seem to come up during election cycles."

"Hill AFB is critical not just because it's such an economic engine for the top of Utah and supports so many jobs, but because it's key to our national defense," Bishop said. "The hard-working and skilled workforce, along with the diverse programs and activities that take place on the base, are the best assets Hill has and are the best arguments for keeping it open and active. I don't think now is the time for another BRAC, and if that were to happen it would need congressional authorization anyway."

As well as fighting for Hill, Bishop said he would resist the Obama administration's "cuts to our military spending, crippling of our space program, and slashing of our missile defense."

All three candidates are high on the Utah Legislature's recent move to pick a fight with the federal government on turning Utah's large amount of federal land back to the state.

The idea predates this year's session of the Legislature, Bishop said.

"It's been a good and popular idea here for a while," he said. "But it has received increased attention, thanks in part to the efforts of our state Legislature. Western states have long been put at a disadvantage due to the large swaths of federal land here. We have a harder time funding our education systems because our taxable base is so much smaller than it is elsewhere.

"I have supported and fought for a long time to enable Utah to control more of its land and destiny. There is no good reason why two-thirds of our state should be controlled by those outside our state."

"I think we should just take it and tell 'em to come and sue us," Fabiano said. "Let's not ask for permission."

He and Smith both said statehood documents called for the return of some or all of the land to the state 50 years after statehood, and in such quantity that there is no more than 10 square miles of federal land inside Utah's borders.

Smith called the idea "fantastic ... a state made up of 70 percent federal land is unheard of back east."

Bishop was a school teacher for 28 years, teaching history and government at Box Elder High School. He spent 16 years in the Utah Legislature before he was elected to Congress. "I hope to continue to fight for the principles we share and care about here in the top of Utah," he said.

Fabiano currently runs a media marketing business. His career as a business entrepreneur started in 1968, when he began a commodities weight-measurement company in Virginia, and has included a supermarket in Colorado and a fast-food outlet in New Mexico.

"I don't believe in retiring," he said.

Smith is the financial officer in her husband's contracting business and teaches at Monticello College in Monticello, Utah.

For 12 years she has worked as something of a one-woman traveling seminar on constitutional rights, speaking to groups from St. George to Logan with engagements in New York City and St. Louis.

"It's part of who I am," she said.

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