Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: What do we make of Utah's junior senator, Mike Lee?
Webb: If you ask an average Republican business person in Utah, he or she will say Sen. Lee is rather extreme. That's a problem for Sen. Lee because he needs to represent mainstream Utahns. Sen. Lee will do just fine if he sticks to the approach outlined in his Heritage speech, which focused on a conservative approach to problem-solving, and didn't just celebrate right-wing ideology. We can all revere the Constitution without rubbing it in the face of those who don't precisely share our views.
The ascendancy of Sen. Lee seems not to have impacted the rest of Utah's federal representatives. True?
Pignanelli: Our veteran congressional delegation long ago established their respective persona internal and external to the state. Recent actions confirm this (i.e. Sen. Orrin Hatch's immigration amendments to help high-tech companies; Congressman Jason Chaffetz's shrewd tactics pushing the Obama Administration to a defensive mode over Benghazi.)
Webb: As the dean of Senate Republicans, Sen. Hatch has enormous influence and will be in the middle of most Senate issues. Rob Bishop is making a national name for himself on public lands and natural resources and has shown he is willing to work collaboratively with conservation groups. Since Mitt Romney's loss, Chaffetz has been rather quiet, but he's back in the spotlight regarding Benghazi. Freshman Chris Stewart is staying out of the limelight and learning, and that's appropriate. Jim Matheson is one of the last remaining moderate Democrats and is in a position to be a broker and dealmaker.
Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: email@example.com.
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