In a significant development for Utah politics and the Republican Party, R-Utah Rep. Chris Stewart, a six-term lawmaker representing Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, is reportedly planning to resign from Congress before the end of the year. The decision is said to be driven by his wife’s illness, which necessitates his departure from the House of Representatives.
The resignation of Rep. Stewart would leave a vacant seat on the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees and further narrow the already slim GOP majority, reducing it to just four seats.
Furthermore, under Utah law, the governor must call for a special election to fill the House vacancy. Once Stewart formally announces his resignation, Republican Gov. Spencer Cox will have seven days to determine the schedule for a special election. Unless the state legislature allocates funds for a separate election, the dates for the special election are likely to coincide with this year’s municipal primary and general elections, according to reports from Fox News.
Given the district’s historical Republican leanings, a Republican candidate is anticipated to be favored. Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses western Utah from the Salt Lake City metro area to St. George, is a stronghold for the GOP. Stewart secured a resounding victory, defeating Democratic challenger Nick Mitchell by a substantial margin in the 2022 midterms.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, will face tight margins when rallying votes as he can only afford to lose three Republican votes on any legislation. Existing disagreements within the Republican Party have already jeopardized the passage of certain bills.
Rep. Stewart’s retirement not only has implications for Congress but also reshapes the political landscape in Utah. Speculation had surrounded Stewart’s potential bids for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Mitt Romney. The plans have seemingly come to a halt due to his wife’s illness which in term is providing opportunities for other Republicans to enter the political fray.
This announcement marks the second time in six years that a Utah congressman has resigned, following former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s departure from office in 2017. Chaffetz’s resignation led to a special election and created a vacancy in the crucial position of House Oversight Committee chairman.
As Rep. Stewart prepares to step down from his congressional duties, attention turns to the upcoming special election and the potential impact it will have on Utah’s political landscape and the dynamics within the Republican Party.
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Michigan asks residents to house migrants, enroll children in school and help adults find employment
Michigan is asking its residents to help with the mess its leadership created and house migrants in their own homes. The state Department of Labor and Economic Development said volunteers who participate must commit for at least 90 days as part of the refugee support program.
In addition to opening up their homes, sponsors are expected to support newly arrived refugees by greeting them at the airport, securing and preparing initial housing, enrolling children in school and helping adults find employment.
“Programs like the Welcome Corps advance the Office of Global Michigan’s mission to make Michigan the home for opportunity for our immigrant, refugee and ethnic communities,” said Poppy Hernandez, Global Michigan Director and Michigan’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. “Expanded refugee resettlement pathways empower more Michiganders to support our state’s growing refugee population and build a more welcoming and inclusive Michigan for all.”
The migrants will come from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, all points of origin where many have been hoping to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Fox News reports “cities like New York and Chicago have also dealt with issues related to migrants committing crimes, as well as pushback from residents who have voiced anger and concern over the influx. Migrant shelters in those cities have largely been full, forcing officials to come up with ways to safely house the migrants.”
Last year, Massachusetts officials asked residents to open their doors as migrant shelters were full at the time. “Most importantly, if you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family. Housing and shelter is our most pressing need and become a sponsor family,” said Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll.
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