Standard-Examiner

Layton GOPer plans to challenge Rep. Rob Bishop in bid for U.S. House seat

Tuesday , March 13, 2018 - 5:15 AM

Kevin Probasco, an attorney from Layton, announced plans Monday, March 12, 2018, to seek the GOP nomination in the race for Utah's 1st District seat in the U.S. House. He announced his plans to about 50 backers in front of Union Station in Ogden.

TIM VANDENACK/Standard-Examiner

Kevin Probasco, an attorney from Layton, announced plans Monday, March 12, 2018, to seek the GOP nomination in the race for Utah's 1st District seat in the U.S. House. He announced his plans to about 50 backers in front of Union Station in Ogden.

OGDEN — A Layton lawyer plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop for the GOP nomination for the seat, citing what he views as the inability of the current slate of federal legislators to get things done.

“The people’s business is not getting done, because it’s broken. It’s broken down (along) ideological lines and tribal affiliations and no one is reaching across,” Kevin Probasco, who served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, said here Monday in formally announcing his campaign. “We can’t even come up with a budget because we’re fighting so much.”

Meanwhile, another Democrat filed paperwork to run for the seat, Lee Castillo, a social worker from Layton. In his campaign Facebook page, Castillo said he’d work to make sure “all voices are heard” and touted the importance of assuring access to affordable healthcare and protecting the environment.

“I am running for Congress in House District 1 because Utahns deserve better, America deserves better,” said Castillo.

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The race for the 1st District post has already drawn interest. Bishop, a former school teacher from Brigham City, will be seeking his ninth and, if he wins, last term. He filed papers Monday with state election officials formally declaring plans to seek re-election but didn’t immediately respond to a query seeking comment.

Others who previously announced plans to run for the seat include Democrat Kurt Weiland of Bountiful, United Utah Party hopeful Eric Eliason of Logan and the Green Party’s Adam Davis of South Jordan.

RELATED: Northern Utah US House race draws two new hopefuls, both wary of Trump's tone

RELATED: U.S. Rep. Bishop to step down after next term, presuming he wins in 2018

Probasco, 63, who vied unsuccessfully for the 1st District seat in 2002, described himself as a “small government fiscal conservative” and cited the example of Ronald Reagan, the former Republican president. He plans to petition for a place on the June 26 GOP primary and will need 7,000 valid signatures to do so, he said.

“It wasn’t even so much his politics. It was the fact that he was a pleasant, nice, friendly engaging man,” said Probasco, who made his announcement outside Union Station here. “He didn’t attack you, he didn’t slam you. He didn’t do any of those things. He made you feel good, even if you disagreed with him.”

Beyond that, Probasco’s message seemed focused on allowing the voices of a broader cross-section of people to be heard and bringing a new perspective to the 1st District post.

“The seat belongs to the people of the district, not to the representative, no matter how many terms they’ve served. At some point, it’s time to let go of that representative, with our sincere appreciation, and let others take up the business of being a public servant to the people,” he said.

Castillo, 40, plans to seek the Democratic nomination for the House post at the party’s convention, according to paperwork he filed Friday with state election officials. He’s a clinician at the Utah State Hospital, used to work at the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and has worked extensively with the homeless.

He expressed concern with the divisiveness he hears and senses from the administration of President Donald Trump and other federal lawmakers, including Bishop. He’s hearing an uptick in racially tinged talk, which is putting black and Hispanic people on edge.

“Our children are watching these actions on television and they’re learning how to behave from these people in powerful positions,” he said by phone Monday. The racial talk, he said, is “really concerning.”

On the environment, he expressed concern about exploitation of the land here

“We don't want big business coming in and devastating our beautiful lands,” Castillo said in his Facebook page.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.