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Reps Bishop and McAdams weigh in on what’s been and what’s next

Outgoing U.S. Representatives for Utah, Rob Bishop and Ben McAdams discuss their tenure and their future.

SALT LAKE CITY — Two men who represented Utah in Congress, U.S. Reps. Bishop and McAdams are leaving the representative body in a few weeks. 

And both Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, are looking back on their careers as well as to the future, and what that might hold for each.

Rep. Rob Bishop

Rep. Rob Bishop served Utah’s first congressional district for 9 terms, winning his first election in 2003.  This was after he served 16 years in the Utah state legislature and two terms as the State Chairman of the Republican Party.

He told KSL NewsRadio that he was lucky to be placed, quickly, on three House committees: Natural Resources, Armed Services, and the Rules Committees.

“I know Jim Hansen had to wait three terms to get on the Defense Committee, so I feel fortunate,” he said.

(Jim Hansen was Utah’s longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives, holding the position from 1981 to 2003.)

Of his national accomplishments as a U.S. Representative for Utah, Bishop said he is most pleased with his work on the Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act in 2019.

That act was written to assure the transparency of an oversight board that was responsible for distributing $40 billion in disaster recovery funding. Puerto Rico was in the path of the deadly Category 5 Hurricane Maria in September 2017. 

Of his accomplishments for the state of Utah during his tenure representing the 1st Congressional District, Bishop said those affecting Hill Air Force Base (HAFB) are probably most important.

One effort involved thwarting the attempts of a private fuel storage organization that wanted to store spent nuclear fuel rods in above-ground storage containers, namely, underneath the flight path of fighter jets between HAFB and the Utah Test and Training Range.

Bishop prevented the above-ground storage of these fuel rods with a bill that designated the area in question as a wilderness area.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, spoke more of Bishop’s accomplishments on Dec. 2, which were noted in the Congressional Record for that day.

What’s next for Rep. Bishop?

It took him a moment to answer that question, telling KSL NewsRadio that it was a good question that deserved answering.

“But for the first time since I was 25,” he said, “I have no idea what I’m going to do next.”

“I’m old, but I would still like to be involved in a few things. I would love to go back and teach somewhere.”

For now, Bishop says he’s practicing “sitting on the porch swing and yelling at kids. ‘No, you don’t get your ball back,’ those types of things.”

Rep. Ben McAdams

Rep. Ben McAdams is also winding down his term as a U.S. Representative for the state of Utah.

McAdams is a former Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor and former member of the Utah State Senate. He represented the 2nd Senate District from 2010 to 2012.

His career in Washington lasted one term, two years, which he says was spent building bridges.

“I hope my legacy is that I’m remembered as somebody who always sought to reach across the aisle,” McAdams told Utah’s Morning News on KSL NewsRadio, “to heal the divided Washington.”

McAdams sat on the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He said that as a member of Congress he introduced 14 pieces of legislation and that all of them had bipartisan support.

Some of those include a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a bill to help the victims of Ponzi schemes get some or all of their money back. 

Most recently he introduced an amendment to a funding bill to prevent the resumption of nuclear weapons testing. That passed the House of Representatives in July 2020.

Five of McAdams’ bills were signed into law by President Donald Trump.

“I’m somebody that wants to tackle our challenges by building coalitions, by listening, and by working hard to represent the people that sent me here,” McAdams said.

What’s next for Rep. McAdams?

As with Rep. Bishop, the future for McAdams is still an unknown.

“I love public service … I feel lucky to have been born in Utah and for all the blessings that I have, and I want to give back,” he said.