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Chris Stewart (politician)

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Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Utah's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byJim Matheson
Personal details
Born
Christopher Douglas Stewart

(1960-07-15) July 15, 1960 (age 60)
Logan, Utah, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Evie Stewart
RelationsTed Stewart (brother)
Children6
EducationUtah State University (BA)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Air Force
Years of service1984–1998
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Major

Christopher Douglas Stewart (born July 15, 1960)[1] is an American politician, author and businessman serving as the U.S. Representative for Utah's 2nd congressional district since 2013. A member of the Republican Party, he is known for his bestsellers Seven Miracles That Saved America and The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World, as well as his series, The Great and Terrible.

Stewart graduated from Utah State University in 1984 before joining the United States Air Force. Later, he began writing novels and became the President and CEO of the Shipley Group. His time in Congress has been marked by his efforts to defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), his denial of climate change and his vigorous defense of President Donald Trump. Stewart is defending his seat in the 2020 election against Democratic candidate Kael Weston.

Early life and education[edit]

Stewart was born in Logan, Utah, and grew up on a dairy farm in Cache Valley. His father was a retired Air Force pilot and teacher. His mother, Sybil S. Stewart, was a full-time homemaker and was recognized as the Utah Mother of the Year in 1996.[2]

Stewart graduated from Sky View High School in 1978 and entered Utah State University in the fall of the same year. After a year in college, Stewart served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas. After his church service, Stewart re-entered Utah State University, and in 1984 earned a degree in economics from its College of Business.

Military service[edit]

Stewart served in the Air Force for 14 years, initially flying rescue helicopters and then transitioning to fixed-wing jets and flying the B-1B bomber. He was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Mountain Home Air Force Base, and other Air Force bases.

After college, Stewart was accepted into the Air Force's Officer Training School, followed by assignment to Undergraduate Pilot Training, graduating top of his class in both instances. Stewart flew both helicopters and jet aircraft during his time in the military.[3]

In 1995, Stewart was awarded the Mackay Trophy for "significant aerial achievement" for the combat capability operation known as Coronet Bat. On June 3, 1995, Stewart and a flight of two B-1s set the world record for the fastest non-stop flight around the world. Stewart was the senior project officer for this mission. The purpose of the mission was to demonstrate the capability of the B-1 Lancer with live bombing activity over three bombing ranges on three continents in two hemispheres.[4] In the process, the team set three world records, flying 36,797.65 kilometers in 36 hours 13 minutes.[5] The mission was recounted in the book Supersonic Saints: Thrilling Stories from LDS Pilots.[citation needed]

Private sector career[edit]

Business career[edit]

After his military career, Stewart turned to the private sector. He was the president and CEO of the Shipley Group, a consulting company that specializes in energy and environmental issues.[6] Shipley also participates in government anti-terrorism training, corporate security and executive preparedness consulting. He sold his majority ownership in Shipley Group in December 2012 prior to being sworn in as a U.S. congressman.[7]

Writing career[edit]

Stewart first began writing books in the late nineties. His first novel, Shattered Bone, was published in 1998.[8] Stewart wrote four additional techno-thrillers before he began writing the series The Great and Terrible. Before completing his last book in that series, he started writing historical novels. His book Seven Miracles That Saved America was chosen as "Book of the Month", and The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World became a New York Times Bestseller within two weeks of publication, and was selected for the National Communications Award by the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge. The Miracle of Freedom and Seven Miracles That Saved America were co-written with his brother, U.S. district judge Ted Stewart. The Miracle of Freedom was endorsed by radio/talk show host Glenn Beck, and Beck's coverage is credited with the book becoming a bestseller.[9][10] Stewart has written fourteen books.[11][unreliable source] He has worked with Elizabeth Smart to co-write her memoir, My Story.[12] In 2005, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed A Christmas Bell for Anya, which he co-authored with his wife Evie.[13][14]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2012[edit]

On October 21, 2011, Utah Policy wrote that Stewart was going to run for Congress in Utah's 2nd congressional district.[15] His formal announcement took place on December 6, 2011.[16][17]

In February 2012, Stewart released a campaign video expressing his view that "if we don’t make some difficult decisions now, if we don’t show the courage to do what we have to do to save our country, we won’t make it for another 10 years." He also stated his belief that "at critical times in our history... we literally had miracles where God intervened to save us."[18]

On April 21, 2012, at a controversial nominating convention, Stewart secured the Republican nomination. Prior to the convention, an anonymous anti-Stewart mailer was sent to convention delegates. In his speech to delegates, another candidate, Milt Hanks alleged that the other candidates had made an anti-Stewart pact. Stewart's opponents considered the mailer and the allegations to be a set-up to elicit sympathy for Stewart's candidacy; they later filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over the incident.[18][19] A subsequent party inquiry showed no proof of wrongdoing by any candidate.[1]

Stewart won the general election with 62% of the vote, defeating Jay Seegmiller, and took office on January 3, 2013.

2014[edit]

In the 2014 election, Stewart was challenged by Luz Robles, a state senator and vice president of Zions Bank. Robles suspended campaigning for two months to serve as caregiver for her daughter and mother, who were seriously injured in a car accident.[20]

2016[edit]

In the 2016 election, Stewart faced Charlene Albarran, a business owner.[21] Stewart defeated Albarran with 62% of the vote.

2018[edit]

Stewart faced Shireen Ghorbani, an Iranian-American, in the 2018 election. As of April 2018, Stewart had six times as much cash on hand as Ghorbani.[22] On Election Night, Stewart won with 56% of the vote.[23]

2020[edit]

UtahPolicy.com reported the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considers Stewart potentially vulnerable to a strong opponent, due to Donald Trump's unpopularity in the 2nd District, and Stewart's record of vigorously defending him.[24]

A poll taken in January 2020 among likely voters showed Stewart with 38% of the vote, and a Democratic challenger with 36% of the vote. (The remainder were undecided or voting for someone else.)[25]

Stewart will face Kael Weston, a former State Department employee, in the general election in November.[26]

Tenure[edit]

Stewart was chairman of the House Sub-Committee on the Environment.[27]

In 2016, Stewart introduced a bill to allow unused Ebolavirus funding to research and combat the Zika virus.[28] The proposal was adopted as part of a separate bill the next year, Zika Response Appropriations Act, a bill to shift $622 million in unused Ebola funding to fight the Zika virus.[29]

A July 2019 poll showed Stewart with the lowest approval rating of any Utah congressperson.[30]

Committee assignments[edit]

Source: [1]

Source: [2]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

Utah's 2nd congressional district: Results 2012–[36]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2012 Chris Stewart 154,523 62 Jay Seegmiller 83,176 33 Jonathan D. Garrard Constitution 5,051 2 Joseph Andrade Independent 2,971 1 Charles Kimball Independent 2,824 1
2014 Chris Stewart 88,915 61 Luz Robles 47,585 33 Shaun McCausland Constitution 4,509 3 Wayne Hill Independent American 3,328 2 Bill Barron Independent 1,734 1
2016 Chris Stewart 170,524 62 Charlene Albarran 93,778 34 Paul McCollaum Jr. Constitution 12,517 5
2018 Chris Stewart 151,489 56 Shireen Ghorbani 105,051 39 Jeffrey Whipple Libertarian 13,504 5

Political positions[edit]

Healthcare[edit]

Stewart's official congressional webpage highlights his efforts to defund and repeal Obamacare

According to Stewart's website, since arriving in Congress, he has "consistently supported efforts to defund and repeal Obamacare." He co-sponsored the Defund Obamacare Act of 2013 and voted 40 times to "repeal, defund or dismantle the law." He also promised to "continue to do all that [he] can to seek strategic opportunities to... defund, delay and repeal this healthcare law." In the place of Obamacare, Stewart supported the American Healthcare Reform Act.[37]

Environment[edit]

Stewart rejects the idea that climate change is being caused by human activities. In 2013, he wrote an opinion piece for the Salt Lake Tribune in which he claimed that "the science regarding climate change is anything but settled"; that "there is uncertainty regarding to what degree man is to blame for global warming"; and that to implement proposed solutions to climate change, the cost would be in the "trillions of dollars".[27]

In 2014, Stewart sponsored H.R. 1422 (113th Congress), the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2014, which would reform the composition and activities of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) science advisory board. Under the bill, at least 10% of the members of the board would be required to be from state, local, or tribal governments, and corporate and industry experts would no longer be excluded from the board and board members would be prohibited from advising the EPA in discussions that cite their work. The bill was opposed by Democrats and critics such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, who said it would enable conflicts of interests and restrict scientists' ability to provide proper advice to the government.[38][39]

Stewart has a 3% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.[40]

Economic issues[edit]

During the 2012 election campaign, Stewart stated "we can’t continue to have 1.2-, 1.3-, 1.4- trillion dollar deficits for the foreseeable future and just pretend that that’s not going to matter, because it will."[18]

Stewart supports simplifying the tax code, lowering the corporate tax rate, and eliminating the death tax.[41] Stewart voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Trump tax cut)[42]

Bundy standoff[edit]

In an interview regarding the Bundy standoff of 2014, Stewart said that the Bureau of Land Management could have avoided the standoff by allowing local sheriffs to intervene. Citing concerns about the level of weaponry carried by federal agents, he also sponsored a bill (H.R. 4934) to demilitarize federal regulatory agencies.[43][44]

Donald Trump[edit]

Stewart is considered one of President Trump's most steadfast defenders in Congress.[24] For instance, after Trump stated he would be open to receiving intelligence on a campaign opponent from a foreign country and not alerting the FBI, Stewart defended him, saying that if the information is "credible, I think it would be foolish not to take that information."[45] According to Ellen Weintraub, the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission, it is illegal for a campaign to accept anything of value from a foreign person or entity in regards to a U.S. election.[46]

According to political polling and reporting website FiveThirtyEight, Stewart's votes aligned with Trump's positions around 95% of the time.[47] Stewart was reportedly under consideration to serve in the Trump administration as acting Director of National Intelligence,[48] but Richard Grenell was ultimately chosen instead.[49]

Previously, during the 2016 Republican Primary election, Stewart had been critical of Trump. Addressing an audience at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, Stewart compared him to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, and said "if some of you are Donald Trump supporters, we see the world differently, because I can't imagine what someone is thinking."[50]

Mueller investigation[edit]

After Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller Report, Stewart released the following statement:

Mr. Mueller conducted a detailed and thorough investigation that mirrors what we found in the House Intelligence investigation—no collusion or conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and Russia.[51]

Stewart's statement did not address the issue of obstruction of justice. The Mueller Report stated that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him" from the charge of obstruction of justice.[52]

After the release of the report, Stewart accused the "former leadership" of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the CIA of "astounding" corruption, without providing any further details or supporting evidence. He also called for a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton's emails and allegations of spying on the Trump campaign that led to the opening of the Mueller investigation.[53]

Stewart was the only member of Congress from Utah to question Mueller during his appearance before Congress on July 24, 2019. Stewart confronted Mueller about leaks that he asserted came from Mueller's office and were allegedly "designed to weaken or embarrass" President Trump.[54] Others, including Washington, D.C.-area media reporters, considered Mueller's office an unlikely source of the leaks.[55]

Ukraine scandal and impeachment inquiry[edit]

Stewart has defended Trump's actions with regards to the Trump–Ukraine scandal. In his opening statement during impeachment proceedings as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Stewart apparently characterized the impeachment inquiry as a coup d'état when he stated "the coup has started," but later declined to clarify his remark.[56]

During the impeachment hearings, Stewart repeatedly defended Trump's behavior, criticized witnesses whose testimony implicated Trump in wrongdoing, and criticized the impeachment process.[57] Stewart called for Adam Schiff, the chair of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to recuse himself from the investigation of Trump's dealings.[58]

When Trump called for Senator Mitt Romney's "impeachment" and Stewart was asked for comment, Stewart declined to defend Romney. Romney had expressed support for the committee's inquiry. (Senators cannot be impeached.)[59]

On December 18, 2019, Stewart voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump. Of the 195 Republicans Representatives who voted, all voted against both impeachment articles.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Palmer, Douglas. "Mothers honored for the love and service they give families". Deseret News. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Stewart.house.gov. "Biography".
  4. ^ "Awards". National Aeronautic Association. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "Squadron Service 1985-2001". Targetlock. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  6. ^ "The Shipley Group". Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  7. ^ "New Utah congressman sells his consulting business". Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  8. ^ Stewart, Chris (1998). Shattered Bone. M. Evans & Company.
  9. ^ "Author Chris Stewart running for 2nd District seat". Deseret News. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  10. ^ "Glenn Beck catapults The Miracle of Freedom to bestseller". Shadow Mountain. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  11. ^ Chris Stewart at Goodreads
  12. ^ "Elizabeth Smart to finally publish her own version of her abduction". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  13. ^ Stewart, Chris (2006). "A Christmas Bell for Anya". Shadow Mountain. Archived from the original on May 4, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  14. ^ Haddock, Sharon. "Patriotic author stresses sacrifice". Deseret News. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  15. ^ "Add Another Republican Name to the 2nd District Race". Utah Policy.
  16. ^ Gehrke, Robert. "Two new candidates join GOP field for 2nd District". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  17. ^ Montero, David. "Stewart launches bid with help of Bangerter, Hansen, Beck". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  18. ^ a b c "Utah Set to Send Glenn Beck-Approved End Times Novelist to Congress". Mother Jones.
  19. ^ "Holy Ghost employed to ensure victory". Salt Lake Tribune.
  20. ^ "2nd District: Stewart, Robles reject extremist labels". Salt Lake Tribune.
  21. ^ "Albarran taking on Stewart in Utah's 2nd District". The Spectrum.
  22. ^ "In her bid to unseat Rep. Chris Stewart, Democrat Shireen Ghorbani is finding that many voters don't even know the name of their congressman". Salt Lake Tribune.
  23. ^ "Democratic challenger Shireen Ghorbani concedes in Utah's District 2 race to Rep. Chris Stewart".
  24. ^ a b "National Democrats think Rep. Chris Stewart could be vulnerable in 2020". UtahPolicy.com.
  25. ^ "Poll suggests Reps. Chris Stewart and Ben McAdams could have tough re-election campaigns in November". UtahPolicy.com.
  26. ^ "Republicans will have a four-way primary for governor in June as Greg Hughes joins Cox, Huntsman and Wright on the ballot". UtahPolicy.com.
  27. ^ a b "Stewart cautious on climate change". Salt Lake Tribune.
  28. ^ Thomas Burr, Utah's Chris Stewart seeks Ebola money to fight Zika virus, St. Louis Tribune (February 3, 2016).
  29. ^ Matt Canham, House passes Chris Stewart-led Zika bill, White House threatens veto, St. Louis Tribune (May 20, 2017).
  30. ^ "McAdams has the highest approval rating of Utah's members of Congress, while Romney gets the highest disapproval". UtahPolicy.com.
  31. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  32. ^ Stewart.house.gov. "Committees and Caucuses". Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  33. ^ "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  34. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  35. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  36. ^ "Chris Stewart". ballotpedia.org. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  37. ^ "I'm Working to Defund and Delay Obamacare". stewart.house.gov. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  38. ^ Marcos, Cristina (November 18, 2014). "House passes bill to reform EPA science panel". The Hill. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  39. ^ "A letter from the Union of Concerned Scientists to the House of Representatives" (PDF). Union of Concerned Scientists. November 17, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  40. ^ "National Scorecard, Chris Stewart". League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  41. ^ "Issues:Tax Reform". stewart.house.gov. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  42. ^ "Tax Reform Conference Report Passes House". Press Release, stewart.house.gov.
  43. ^ Glionna, John (August 4, 2014). "BLM, local law enforcement tensions near breaking point in the West". The Los Angeles Times.
  44. ^ "H.R. 4934 – Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act". June 23, 2014.
  45. ^ "Utah Rep. Chris Stewart says it would be 'foolish' for a candidate not to look at foreign intel against an opponent". Salt Lake Tribune.
  46. ^ "One public servant follows her oath, while another violates it". Washington Post.
  47. ^ "Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump: Chris Stewart". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  48. ^ "Advisers pushing Trump to nominate Stewart for top intelligence post". UtahPolicy.com.
  49. ^ "Ambassador Richard Grenell to be named director of national intelligence". Fox News.
  50. ^ "Utah's Rep. Chris Stewart calls Trump 'our Mussolini'". KUTV.
  51. ^ "Stewart Reacts to Mueller Report Release". Office of Christ Stewart, Press Release.
  52. ^ "Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy, but Stops Short of Exonerating President on Obstruction". New York Times.
  53. ^ "Some Republicans want an apology over Mueller investigation". Roll Call.
  54. ^ "Utah Rep. Chris Stewart grills Robert Mueller on alleged leaks". Deseret News.
  55. ^ "Utah representative accuses Mueller of leaks". Fox 13 Salt Lake City.
  56. ^ "Utah Rep. Chris Stewart says 'the coup has started' during opening day of public impeachment hearings". Salt Lake Tribune.
  57. ^ For example, see Rep. Chris Stewart predicts impeachment hearings will turn Americans to support Trump, Salt Lake Tribune, Thomas Burr, November 15, 2019. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  58. ^ "Rep. Chris Stewart on calls for full House vote on impeachment, Adam Schiff's recusal". Fox News.
  59. ^ Burr, Thomas (October 6, 2019). "Utah Rep. Chris Stewart defends Trump but not Sen. Mitt Romney". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved November 16, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Matheson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Utah's 2nd congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Raul Ruiz
United States Representatives by seniority
223rd
Succeeded by
Eric Swalwell