Capt. Kyle Ekker from the Emery County Sheriff's Office assists Rep. Jason Chaffetz at the shooting range. He shot a variety of guns provided by the sheriff's office as well as his own weapon.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz was treated to a tour of the San Rafael Swell and some target practicing at the shooting range on his recent trip to Emery County.
"It's so beautiful here. We went on roads that I've never been on. We took the Moore cut-off road. This area has a unique set of issues. The federal government is always doing something stupid. We need to find the right mix."
Rep. Chaffetz said it's always a worry that the president might do something unilaterally without public input. Emery County is farther along than most counties in addressing what the county feels is best for the county's public lands. He thinks Emery County has a reasonable approach to how federal lands should be managed within the county.
He is happy to be working with Rep. Rob Bishop to help push Emery County's land bill along. He hopes a balance can also be reached with any other counties that wish to be part of the public lands bill. He believes a big threat comes from organizations that want massive amounts of wilderness. He thinks counties need to have a plan and be proactive. He feels Emery County has been more than generous with its proposed wilderness. He envisions a bill which may include Uintah, Duchesne and Grand counties. By summer, the lands proposal should be in bill format and ready to be introduced. "The radical environmental groups are never satisfied, but we are happy to listen to them," said Rep. Chaffetz. With Rep. Bishop being on the Natural Resources committee it places him in a good spot to advance the Emery County bill.
Rep. Chaffetz says Utah pays its share of taxes to the federal government and he likes to see Utah get its fair share back, but one area that's lacking is in PILT payments, they are 'painfully small' said Chaffetz. "PILT is not a fair compensation," said Chaffetz.
Rep. Chaffetz said this is his third trip to Emery County since he became the Representative for this area. Almost 65 percent of his area is new and it includes all of San Juan, Grand, Emery, Carbon and Wasatch along with some of Utah County east of I-15.
When Rep. Chaffetz isn't busy in Washington he loves the outdoors and shooting and hunting. He lives in Alpine and can now vote for himself. He enjoys spending time with his family and currently has a son serving a mission in Ghana. He has two daughters ages 12 and 17. He spends part of his week in Washington and then back home. They made the decision not to move the family to Washington. His new passion is hunting coyotes.
On this trip to southern and southeastern Utah, he spent some time in Moab, met with the leader of the Navajo nation, spent three days with the border patrol, attended the Emery and Grand counties Republican conventions and traveled a lot of miles and met with many of his constituents. "I really love this part of Utah," said Rep. Chaffetz.
Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk cooked hamburgers for Rep. Chaffetz and his staff along with the other people on the tour which included Kathleen Clarke from the governor's public land office.
Capt. Kyle Ekker brought many different handguns and rifles for Rep. Chaffetz to try out. He practiced on the many targets at the sheriff's shooting range.