Chaffetz promises more town hall meetings, even if they’re ’emotional’

Jason Chaffetz 09U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz told the Utah GOP House caucus Thursday that within two weeks he hopes soon-to-be Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke will visit San Juan County and the site of the Bears Ears National Monument.

Chaffetz didn’t promise that President Donald Trump will rescind the new monument’s establishment but said Trump was receptive to the idea when he met with the president for half-an-hour earlier this week in the Oval Office.

Some of Chaffetz’s comments:

  • In a brief discussion with UtahPolicy before the caucus meeting, Chaffetz said he plans on continuing his in-person town hall meetings, no matter what happens Thursday night in what is expected to be a loud, and perhaps unpleasant, town hall in a local high school.

    “I believe it is part of my responsibility to listen to constituents,” he said. And sometimes that may mean some loud voices, even protesters.

    “I hope emotions will calm down” and he will be allowed to speak and answer questions, Chaffetz said.

  • In the caucus, Chaffetz said Trump had heard about the Bears Ears controversy, even asked about the issue of downsizing the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

    The Legislature and GOP Gov. Gary Herbert sent a resolution to Trump asking that he rescind the Bears Ears designation, made by former Democratic President Barack Obama in late December, only weeks before leaving office.

  • Zinke is expected in Utah, and down at Bears Ears, soon. Whether he will carry in his back pocket an executive order rescinding Bears Ears is unknown. But it is a good sign that the new Interior secretary will come here so soon.
  • Repealing Obamacare and replacing it will take some time, but you can be assured it will happen.
  • One of the most important reforms will be block-granting Medicaid funds to the states.

And Chaffetz, who has hinted he may want to run for governor himself in 2020, said the best thing Trump could do – and he told the president this personally – is to listen to the governors when they meet with him next week.

The governors “will love you” if he does that, the congressman told the president.

— Chaffetz also spoke to Trump about his bill that would set up a national method of collecting off-site sales tax for state and local governments.

That, too, should be accomplished soon by the Republican-controlled Congress and the GOP president.