A series of town halls intended to shore up flagging support for the embattled Public Lands Initiative backfired on Congressmen Rob Bishop as constituents continued to press him over the ill-fated and divisive bill.
Even as his constituents brought up serious concerns, Bishop simply wouldn’t listen to the opposing views. During the six town halls Bishop alternated between ignoring opponents to his bill, arguing with them and misstating the facts.
Bishop somewhat naively continued to seek support for the PLI his event, held across his district earlier this month. Instead he found constituents who continued to point out the obvious flaws in an increasingly unpopular measure.
- At stops on the same day in Morgan City and Coalville, it wasn’t too surprising when he defended the embattled plan. But eyebrows really raised when Bishop denied that the bill shortchanges the Navajo Nation by taking money that currently goes to the Tribe and handing it to the non-native administered Utah Navajo Trust Fund. Bishop was forced to reverse course when confronted by a constituent – and sheepishly tried to claim the formula reversal is “putting it back the way it’s supposed to be.”
- In Brigham City, the frustrated congressman vowed to keep pushing the unpopular measure and argued the “the PLI process will go forward” and even vowed to “either succeed or die trying.”
- In Duchesne City, an irritated Bishop made it clear he thinks laws aimed at protecting public resources like clean water are “crap.”
- In Vernal and in Logan, Bishop again turned to denial and wrongly claimed no elected Navajo leaders support protections for the Bears Ears region (the 23rd Navajo Nation delegate and others clearly support protections).
The stretch was clearly tough on the dejected congressman. Amidst the meetings, he told a reporter that Utah residents skeptical of his PLI scheme are to blame for its woes, calling those constituents a “pain in the butt.”