Starr: Utah Should Replace Rob Bishop with Darren Parry


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By Kennedie Starr, Opinion Writer

Congressman Rob Bishop has represented Utah’s 1st Congressional District (CD-1) since 2003, and there is not much to praise from his tenure — especially in the eyes of environmentalists or anyone who identifies as somewhat moderate. The district boundary covers a large area, including the city of Ogden, Brigham City, Logan and Park City, Layton, Clearfield and the northern half of the Great Salt Lake area.

There are a great number of people in this district to represent in D.C., to say the least, and it’s critical that indigenous priorities, concerns and ideas are well voiced and heard when we select our next federal delegation in the 2020 elections. Democracy is stronger with the inclusive engagement of all peoples. If service towards a fuller, more inclusive electorate is a goal, Darren Parry, the current chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, is an important CD-1 candidate to support this current election cycle.


The Layout of CD-1

Even though CD-1 is one of the most Republican-leaning districts in the nation, it is safe to say that Bishop has not wholly represented the area. CD-1 deserves a more attentive and middle-of-the-road person to carry forward the serious responsibilities members of Congress hold. Attempted land grabs, performative conservatism and attacks on the Antiquities Act do not serve all the communities of CD-1. It is a breath of fresh air to have candidates like Parry file for candidacy. His recognition of our responsibility as humans to care for the natural world — as our existence depends on it — is significant.

Many forget that the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation — the homeland of the Ute Indian Tribe — as well as a large part of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, including one of their headquarters in Brigham City, are contained within CD-1. In total, our indigenous neighbors include around 5.2 million people in the United States, and there are over 500 federally recognized tribes, eight of which are in Utah. And yet, not a single one of our Utah representatives in Congress is or ever has been a member of one of our neighboring tribes. CD-1 deserves a representative who is considerate of “many other perspectives, traditions and experiences,” which is exactly what Darren Parry champions. He announced his candidacy in late February, joining a large field of Republicans and Democrats.


Representation Matters

The first two Native American women were elected to Congress in 2018. While each recognized tribe and indigenous communities have its own diverse, complex history and needs, it is important to recognize and encourage further representation in Congress of the first peoples on this pocketed land. One of those recently elected women, Congresswomen Haaland of New Mexico, a 35th generation New Mexican, stated after securing a seat at the table in Washington, “I never imagined a world where I would be represented by someone who looks like me.” Seeing people who look like you and who have lived close to what your experiences have been and who understand your communities’ varied needs and history is essential for good policymaking and advocacy.

While tribes are sovereign and are supposed to experience a “government to government” relationship with the United States, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are citizens of the United States and are warranted federal benefits and resources. It is imperative that tribal representation grows locally and in D.C. A seat at the table and systemic representation is crucial. The next member of Congress for CD-1 must have a thorough understanding of the history and current needs of all within the boundaries in order to be an effective representative. Parry is not only well qualified for this position, but is ready to encourage wider acceptance and bridge building, which is exactly what Utah needs in our current political landscape.

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