Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson addressed members of the Utah House and Senate on Thursday. For now, it is the lawmaker’s last visit to the Capitol as a member of the state congressional delegation.
Congressman Matheson began his speech in the Utah House describing a political atmosphere in Washington, DC that is so partisan that un ending gridlock is the status quo. He says voters are fed up a congress that can’t get work together.
“The public is saying I’ve had it with these political parties and more and more people are saying I’m going to be an independent. All-time high. I don’t know how many decades, Gallup has been polling, all-time high number of people in America say I don’t like either party. I’m done. That shows the public gets it. The challenge is how do they affect it, because all of those people who independent aren’t going to vote in a primary,” said Matheson.
During a question and answer period after his speech in the House chamber, Republican Majority Brad Dee asked Matheson if he would support legislation to get back more than one million dollars spent to open the state’s national parks during the government shutdown last year. Matheson said he would support that effort, but warned that events like the shutdown, erode the public’s confidence in government.
“I’m all for what Utah did on the National Parks. So did Arizona, so did Colorado, so New York for the Statue of Liberty. I get why they did it. But I’m just suggesting that we should be cautious about getting in that situation again where we’re picking and choosing what we ought to fund or not during a shutdown period. Hopefully we won’t every have another shutdown, so we won’t have to deal with that, but that’s just the cautionary note I’d add looking forward in the future,” said Matheson.
Matheson has served in the U.S. House since 2001 and is currently represents Utah’s 4th district. He announced months ago that he would not seek another term, but he hasn’t ruled out running for a different state-wide office in the future.