Bishop condemns the federal government

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

Utah Rep. Rob Bishop advocated state and local government authority over federal government authority at the Hinckley Institute of Politics on Wednesday, saying his mission in Congress is to “lose power” by the time he leaves the House of Representatives.

“Justice is only done on local levels,” said Bishop, a Republican. “It will never be done in the federal government.”

Bishop said the federal government is only good for “unification” and all issues except the military can be resolved at the state level. Bishop cited education, immigration and land use as primarily state issues and criticized the federal government for stepping in when the states could do a better job.

“Not everything has to be done in Washington,” Bishop said, arguing that unlike the federal government, states can create more than blanket solutions to problems because they can focus on individual needs.

With regards to immigration, Bishop said that having one federal standard might not be the best way to deal with the issue, saying states could have a positive impact on their own. He said the United States still needs to protect its borders, simply to maintain control and also to prevent drug trafficking.

Shehnoor Grewal, a freshman in mass communication, said immigration needs to be a federal issue.

“A lot of states have racist or xenophobic (leadership),” Grewal said, and the federal government can prevent states from developing these kinds of policies.

Bishop condemned the “No Child Left Behind” legislation, calling it an “incredibly stupid bill” because the federal government should not be able to mandate how states run their schools or appropriate funds.

Bishop said the notion of state and local power is the essence of conservatism, as opposed to the “liberals who still believe they can solve problems in Washington,” and reflects a basic tenet of separation of powers as laid out by the U.S. Constitution.

Paul Martin, a sophomore studying business and Japanese, questioned whether the Bush administration, which he called “one of the most power-hungry presidencies” our country has had, follows this model of traditional conservatism.

Bishop defended the administration’s federal power for defense purposes, but said domestic policy would be better left with the states.

Jordan Park, a junior in mass communication, said she thought Bishop’s argument was interesting, but she didn’t agree with everything he said.

“Some things can’t be effectively handled by the state levels because they can’t generate the funding,” Park said. “Especially with health care and education.”

Although Bishop wanted to point out he was not advocating “states’ rights,” which have been historically linked to racism and segregation in the South, he said he supports a “constitutional sharing of power.”

“There should be a healthy tension between state and federal governments working together,” Bishop said.

As a former Speaker of the House in the Utah State Legislature, Bishop congratulated state legislators for their “transparent” process of government. At the national level, he said he would try to “convert” people to his philosophy of state power.

“It’s one of those things I want to change or die trying, but dying may be easier,” Bishop said.

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Ty Cobb

Despite record federal spending while his party controlled Congress, Rep. Rob Bishop ruminates at the Hinckley Institute of Politics about his ambition to diminish the United States government.