Utah's Curtis is sworn in as newest Republican House member - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Clear
6.5°C

Utah's Curtis is sworn in as newest Republican House member

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, file photo, Republican John Curtis, walks on stage during Utah's 3rd Congressional District debate, in a race to replace Jason Chaffetz in the U.S. House of Representatives, in Sandy, Utah. Congress gets its newest member on Monday as House Speaker Paul Ryan is set to swear in Republican John Curtis of Utah amid an intense push by GOP leadership to score a major legislative victory before the end of the year. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
November 13, 2017 - 4:19 PM

WASHINGTON - Republican John Curtis of Utah became the newest member of Congress late Monday when he took the oath of office amid an intense push by GOP leadership to score a major legislative victory before the end of the year.

Curtis, 57, was the mayor of the Mormon stronghold of Provo when he won a special election last week to replace former Rep. Jason Chaffetz in a heavily Republican district. He'll fill the final year of Chaffetz's term before facing re-election in late 2018. His letter of resignation from the mayor's post took effect when he was sworn in by Speaker Paul Ryan during a series of votes on the House floor.

In brief remarks on the House floor, Curtis said the voters from Utah's third congressional district who sent him to Washington "have very high expectations of me and of us."

Curtis has signalled he intends to be a unifier in a deeply polarized Congress. To do that, he'll have to find the balance between supporting the head of the Republican Party, President Donald Trump, and distancing himself from controversies surrounding the president.

During his victory speech last week in Provo, Curtis — who has said significant moral concerns kept him from voting for Trump last year — took a different tone than the president. He acknowledged voters are worried about gun violence, the direction of the country and a "lack of civility."

"We need bridge builders, not bomb throwers," Curtis said.

He'll have to quickly learn to navigate a divided Congress aiming to pass a tax overhaul bill and claim a badly needed legislative win. Trump has set a Christmas deadline for the tax legislation. Other looming and contentious issues include immigration legislation and the repeal of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Chaffetz was known during his eight years on Capitol Hill for his persistent investigations into Democrat Hillary Clinton. Chaffetz resigned at the end of June, citing a desire to spend more time with family. He quickly became a paid Fox News contributor, leaving behind an open seat that initially attracted more than 20 candidates.

Curtis became the GOP nominee after a tough primary where he faced suspicion from the party's conservative flank for having once been a Democrat. As he prepares to quickly run another campaign next year, he will likely face a strong challenge from the right for the Republican nomination.

The House has 434 members with one vacancy after Republican Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania resigned.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

  • Popular kamloops News
  • Comments
  • Woman found dead in car in Kamloops
    KAMLOOPS - A woman has been found dead and two men have been taken to hospital after they were found in a car playing loud music early this morning. Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shel
  • Kamloops RCMP seek missing man
    KAMLOOPS - Police in Kamloops are asking for the public's help to find a missing man. James Harris, 53, has not been in contact with family or friends since late March and he was last se
  • Searching for a stranger: Dozens of people brought in by bus to look for Ryan Shtuka
    SUN PEAKS - It's been nearly 10 weeks since Ryan Shtuka went missing in the Sun Peaks area after leaving a house party on Burfield Drive, but volunteers are still showing up in droves hoping t
  • Broncos families surprised obituaries are on website selling services
    Some families of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims are surprised to learn that error-riddled obituaries of their loved ones have been posted on a website that's selling flowers, as well as on
  • 18-year-old hitchhiker from Vernon missing
    VERNON – An 18-year-old Vernon woman has been missing for a week. Vernon RCMP say Aislynn Hanson was last seen, April 13, and despite following up on several leads, remains missing.
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile