Mitt Romney has endorsed the Count My Vote initiative in Utah, but Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT3) said Monday he is opposed to changing the state’s nomination process from a caucus-convention system to direct primaries. In his annual address to the state legislature, Chaffetz told lawmakers he could never have beat incumbent Chris Cannon without the caucus system. He said he didn’t have big name ID, and he didn’t have big money, but he did spend time talking with delegates.
“Now that I do have name ID and I can raise a lot of money, I still think the most important thing is that I have to roll up my sleeves, and go down into the rural parts of our community, the populated parts of my community, and justify my existence, or I too will be displaced. That’s the way it should be,” Chaffetz said. “We can’t allow big name ID and big dollars to dominate the process.”
Chaffetz commended the legislature for its efforts to obtain control of federal lands. He talked about a collaborative effort in Congress to pass a bill which would dispose of excess federal lands and allow them to be sold privately. In Utah, that would affect about 123,000 acres. Chaffetz said it’s an accomplishment that the bill has even passed out of committee.
“We have to pursue all fronts, and it’s a huge educational process with my colleagues who don’t enjoy the benefits of so much federal land ownership,” Chaffetz said. “It is a very difficult proposition.”
Chaffetz also called attention to what he views as an overreach of power in the presidential office. He said he has ambitions to become the next chairman of the Congressional oversight committee, which he said was the best avenue to draw attention to a flawed process.