All work and no play. That's how Democrat Bill Orton sums up the past two years of his life.
Since taking office as Utah's 3rd District representative in 1991, all Orton does is work, work, work. He puts in three 16-hour days in Washington, D.C., and then flies back to Utah, where he puts in three more 16-hour days.He gets a break on Sundays, which he spends in church. Orton is a high councilor in a BYU stake.
"I've devoted 250 percent of my time and effort to doing this job," said Orton, a bachelor. "My family tells me I'm getting boring. My girlfriend tells me I'm getting boring. I can't even remember some of the funny jokes I hear.
"This is not a job for someone who is looking for an active social life," Orton said, laughing. "In fact, I can understand why people suggest you should be married before you get the job, because there is no time to date after you get the job."
Orton, 44, blames himself for the demise of his social life.
"I don't have to work 100-hour workweeks. I just take the job so seriously. There is so much to do I decided that if I were going to come back here and do something, I would give it my total effort."
It's the way he's always done things: studiously, quietly and with a willingness to expend a lot of elbow grease.
Orton grew up in a middle-class family in North Ogden. His father, Donald, was a firefighter at Hill Air Force Base. His mother, Caroll, was a homemaker. Orton has one brother and three sisters; he falls in the middle of the batch. Bill was always an achiever, Caroll Orton said.
"He decides what he'd like to do and then goes for it," she said.
Each of the children got jobs as adolescents to pay for school clothes and other things they wanted. Orton milked cows each morning while attending Weber High School. He was an honor roll student who devoted himself to books rather than sports or socializing, his parents say.
Orton went to Weber State College after graduating from high school. He specialized in long days: He attended school during the day, worked for the Internal Revenue Service from 4 p.m. to midnight, studied until the wee hours of the morning, got a little sleep and then woke at dawn to milk cows.
As a teenager, Orton wanted to be an attorney but decided that attending law school would take more time, money and brains than he had. When he transferred from Weber to Brigham Young University, he majored in anthropology/archaeology, with a minor in sociology.
At BYU, Orton continued to work for the IRS. He went to work full-time for the agency after graduation. His interest in law rekindled when he realized getting a law degree would take less time than getting a doctorate in anthropology.
After four or five years in the work force, Orton enrolled at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU.
While a law student, Orton started the Tax Training Institute, a business that provided one- to three-day seminars on tax issues for real estate agents, attorneys and accountants around the country. He graduated and began private practice as a tax attorney; he also continued his seminar business.
Orton put the business aside after winning his congressional seat in November 1990.
Orton formerly worked as an adjunct law professor at BYU, is a past chairman of the advisory board of the Real Estate Tax Institute in Washington, D.C., and is a founder and charter member of the American Inns of Court, a law school organization with chapters throughout the country.
Orton's Utah home is a three-story cabin at Sundance, which he considers "the most beautiful spot in the world." It's a favorite site for family gatherings.
In Washington, D.C., Orton lives in a one-bedroom apartment about two blocks from the Capitol.
Orton likes to ride his horse "Slick" (he bought the horse the day the Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Alaska) to hunt, fish and camp with close friends and family. He's also an avid photographer, a private pilot and a certified scuba diver.
Orton squeezed in two vacations since taking office - both to go salmon fishing in Alaska. Orton took his parents and brother on one fishing trip and joined friends in August for the other.
But work has left little time for other activities or for catching the sights around the Capitol. Besides his social life, Orton kissed a comfortable income goodbye when he became a U.S. representative.
"There are two things about this job," he said. "You don't do it for the pay and you don't do it for the social life. The only reason to do this is public service."
Orton was a political nobody in 1990 when he rocked the 3rd District by capturing 58 percent of the vote against Republican Karl Snow, a victory only possible because he pulled support from his opponent's party.
Orton campaigned against partisan politics in '90, a theme he's adhered to throughout his term and is again sounding in the 1992 election. Polls show Orton's support continues to cross party lines.
After nearly two years in office, Orton remains enthusiastic about his ability to bring positive change in the federal government. During his first term, Orton was assigned committee spots in banking, finance and urban affairs; foreign affairs; and small business.
"The House of Representatives is the greatest marketplace for ideas in the world," he said. "If you are willing to . . . make the effort and go out and sell yourself and your ideas, I'm convinced you can make a difference."
A profile of Republican challenger Richard Harrington was published yesterday. Beginning tomorrow, the Deseret News will print stories on the major gubernatorial candidates.