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Congressman Blake Moore Visits With Voters

Rick Brough

Utah First District Congressman Blake Moore hosted a town hall in Summit County Friday night that drew some 60-70 people.

Moore, an Ogden native and a former diplomat elected to the U.S. House last year, met with residents in the Richins Building at Kimball Junction, as part of a series of town halls throughout his district. The congressman talked about climate change, bipartisanship in Washington and the crisis in Afghanistan. 

Comments and questions were mixed, ranging from citizens who endorsed a carbon tax dividend to others who urged Moore to take on the Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Also on Friday, his office announced he was introducing the Afghanistan Accountability Act, which, he said, would call for an extensive report about what went wrong in the days and months leading up to the Biden administration’s withdrawal from that country.

His press release said that President Biden and senior officials did not appear to have the intelligence and information necessary to predict the speed of Afghanistan’s collapse and the danger to U.S. citizens and their allies amid a hasty withdrawal.

Moore said when President Biden first announced his withdrawal plans in April, he posed a question in the House to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the administration’s military representatives.

“Why is there not more of a push or a desire to have some type of residual force that can maintain security, intelligence-gathering, and counter-terrorism operations in that region,” Moore said.

He said he also didn’t understand why the timeline was set to be completed by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Moore said the operational planning should have been strategic, not ceremonial.

On other topics, Congressman Moore noted he came to Washington D.C. with the Democrats controlling the presidency, the Senate and the House.   

He said he was disappointed that the GOP lost the two Senate run-off elections in Georgia. He said if Republicans held the Senate by a narrow margin and Democrats ran the House, also narrowly, there would have been a chance for a balance of power.

One of his first experiences on Capitol Hill was the January 6th riot.

“I was evacuated from the House chamber.  We didn’t know what direction to go," he said.  "We were kind of moving through the tunnel system.  And when we got to the next part of it, we were told to go into a glass-encased cafeteria that was far less secure than where we had come from.”

Moore said he thought that there had been enough information on hand before the event for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call on the National Guard.

He was challenged on why he was one of 35 Republicans who voted for a January 6 commission to study the incident.

Moore said he voted for the first bipartisan version of the group, which he saw as comparable to the 911 commission.  But that proposal didn’t win approval.

He said he didn’t support the current commission, where House Speaker Pelosi rejected Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, who were nominated by the GOP.

Asked about climate change, he said he will engage on that topic, and added “I won’t bury my head in the sand.”  Moore said he’s met with the Citizens Climate Lobby and commended his colleague, Third District Congressman John Curtis, for working on the topic.

He said the oil and gas industry is working more aggressively on the issue than some congress members.

At the same time, Moore said he wants to be careful of the economic impacts.

“We cannot just destroy the economy, if in doing it, it will then fall into foreign government hands," Moore said.  "I’m very, very frustrated with President Biden’s request to OPEC for more oil, while we put limitations on what we can do.   We do it better, with better labor standards, with proven reduction in emissions.”

Finally, he said he won’t vote for the Democrat-supported HR 4.   More said that would federalize elections.

He said he’s proud that Utah has been a model of how to conduct elections with mail-in ballots and dropboxes.  Other states, Moore said, rushed in to adopt the same procedures and were not as effective.   

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.