Second Congressional District voters can count on having a conservative in their U.S. House race this year with the announcement Friday by Jim
Bartleson that he's seeking the Republican nomination.Bartleson, 57, is a former chairman of the National Center for Constitutional Studies (formerly the Freemen Institute). After a career of ranching, farming and in distribution sales, Bartleson went to work for the NCCS full-time teaching constitutional seminars 10 years ago.
For three years he conducted seminars in Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas, "teaching U.S. congressmen and senators" about the U.S. Constitution.
He returned to Utah in 1988, was named president of the constitutional group in 1989 and chairman in 1990.
This is the second time a former chairman of the NCCS has run for Congress. John Harmer was a former chairman of the group when in 1990 he sought the 3rd Congressional District GOP nomination. The NCCS is a conservative group that stresses basic values of the Constitution.
Three years of teaching about the Constitution in Washington, D.C., led Bartleson to believe "that the biggest problem is getting more of the right kind of people elected who know the (constitutional) founders' success formula and would hold rigorously to that formula.
"I have studied under scholars who love the Constitution, and I became committed to getting our nation back on track," he said of his years teaching at NCCS and his decision to run for Congress. One of the scholars was present at Bartleson's announcement in the State Capitol - W. Cleon Skousen, founder of the Freemen Institute and former Salt Lake City police chief.
"For years, as I have crossed the nation speaking about freedom and this great country, I have been asked, `What hope is there for America?' My answer is there is hope - in its people. I believe that a majority of Americans understand what is right and strive to live accordingly.
"I believe there are more solid long-term solutions to the major problems facing Utah and this nation in the minds and hearts of the 2nd District than you'll find in any group of various experts.
"It's been too long since the wonderful citizens of this district have had a representative willing to mobilize with them. Too often we send people to Washington as our representatives and they end up representing Washington to us.
"I believe over the last several decades we have allowed professional politicians to usurp power from the people. Fortunately, we have within our grasp the ability to reclaim our heritage of self government - make it a government we control, rather than a government that controls us."
From loss of American jobs to foreign countries, to the environment, health care or the unsound Social Security system - Bartleson believes the answers lie not in Washington, but "in the average American home, gleaned from our own experience and wisdom.
"I believe it is time to sell Utah and the thinking of our people to the rest of the country. Utah has a great history of problem solving on all levels of society. I've been in selling all my life, and I want to sell Utah to Washington, not Washington to Utah."