SALT LAKE CITY — A fifth-generation dairyman with his roots in the soil of Weber County is the latest candidate to step into the fray for election to Utah’s 1st Congressional District, a seat held by the retiring GOP member Rob Bishop.
Kerry Gibson made the announcement Tuesday on KSL Newsradio’s “Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry,” simultaneously announcing his resignation as commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and his entry into the race serving northern Utah.
“We are so excited to have this opportunity,” he said. “It is wonderful to also have the opportunity to represent the people I care about in the 1st District.”
Gibson said in addition to his family legacy of learning to love toiling in the soil, he grew up ingrained in the discipline of public service — hence his foray into serving as a Utah legislator, a Weber County commissioner for seven years, deputy director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, and most recently his stint as a member of Gov. Gary Herbert’s Cabinet overseeing the vitality and promotion of Utah’s agricultural resources.
“People are so used to having that safe and affordable supply of food on their plate,” Gibson said, emphasizing the importance of food and fiber can’t be overstressed.
Gibson told Lonsberry he is a fiscal and constitutional conservative who believes in a balanced budget, is a pro-life and pro-Second Amendment politician who says the federal government needs to exercise more restraint in everyday lives.
At the same time, he is an ardent supporter of the state’s natural resources, taking care of its public lands and protecting private property rights.
Foremost, whoever represents the 1st District has to have the conviction and foresight to protect its most valuable asset — Hill Air Force Base, Gibson said.
“It is absolutely critical to the success of northern Utah and our district,” he said. As Weber County commissioner, he added, “all of our economic development efforts were based around how to make sure Hill Air Force Base remains viable and strong.”
Gibson told the Deseret News he believes his background in elected local politics as well as the Utah Legislature will give him additional experience that will prove fruitful in Congress and perhaps give him a leg up on other candidates who will need the fortitude to solve difficult challenges in difficult times.
“I’d like to bring that problem-solving to the issues.”
Gibson joins Morgan County Council member Tina Cannon, Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt, retired Park City businessman Howard Wallack, and military veteran Cory Green in the 2020 bid.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled candidate Katie Witt’s last name as Vitt.