Democrats Weiland, Castillo focus on access, health care in U.S. House race

Wednesday , June 20, 2018 - 5:00 AM1 comment

U.S. House hopeful Kurt Weiland puts the focus on access — he’d be available to constituents, if elected, and listen to them.

Elected leaders “who represent you must listen to you, meet with you, engage with you and I don’t think we have that,” he said, pointing his finger at U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, the Republican incumbent.

Lee Castillo, facing Weiland in the June 26 Democratic primary for the 1st District U.S. House post, puts an emphasis on being a voice for everybody. The 1st District extends to northern Utah and includes Weber County and northern Davis County.

“Utah is a diverse state without diverse representation. I am uniquely qualified to change that and represent all of the constituents (in the district) because Utah is for everybody,” he said in an email.

The winner advances to the Nov. 6 general election, facing Bishop, who’s going for his ninth term in the seat, along with United Utah Party hopeful Eric Eliason and Adam Davis of the Green Party.

RELATED: U.S. House hopefuls Weiland, Castillo debate cannabis, police profiling, guns

Castillo focuses on what he says is his ability to listen. As a social worker, the Layton man said, he’s “trained to listen, develop action plans, implement those plans and achieve tangible solutions.”

Health care is also a big concern. Castillo favors universal health care coverage, change providing all manner of free health care. He cited the proposed Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act as a model.

Beyond that, Castillo touted the need for new efforts to help reduce the number of mass shootings in the country, perhaps through legislation, improved access to mental health care and study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Apart from accessibility, Weiland, who runs a training and consulting firm in Bountiful, said implementing term limits is a big issue. U.S. House members should be limited to four terms and U.S. senators should be limited to two terms, with no retirement packages when U.S. legislators leave office.

“A professional political class spends too much time in Washington and not enough time at home,” he said.

Weiland would restore Bears Ears National Monument to its original boundaries, before the administration of President Donald Trump reduced its size, in part to reduce the possibility of overt exploitation of the land. “We don’t want a Jiffy Lube next to the Rainbow arch,” he said.

Relative to Castillo, Weiland noted his leadership experience, serving in the U.S. Army and leading his firm. “It’s the leadership experience, doing things — that’s the difference,” Weiland said.

Castillo noted his roots inside the district. He’s from Layton, within the 1st District, while Weiland’s home in Bountiful sits outside the district, actually in the 2nd District.

Weiland called residency a non-issue. “I believe it’s not where you live but how you can serve,” he said.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at

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