NORTH LOGAN – Tina Cannon of Mountain Green justified her candidacy to represent Utah’s 1st Congressional District in both idealistic and practical terms during a weekend campaign stop in Cache County.
“If good people don’t run for office and get involved in government, other people will,” Cannon said bluntly. “Many of those other people have agendas other than achieving the common good for their constituents. If those other people know how to game the political system, they make it work for themselves. We see that all the time in local, state and federal government.”
Cannon is no stranger to state and local politics. She is a native Utahn, a resident of Morgan County and a graduate of Utah State University. She has run her own accounting firm specializing in federal and local business taxation for more than a decade. Her introduction to state politics was as a volunteer for outgoing U.S. Rep Rob Bishop during his first campaign in 2002 and has been involved in Republican Party politics ever since, including a stint as GOP chairperson in Morgan County. Cannon is also now serving a second term on the Morgan County Council.
While meeting with local residents in Logan and North Logan, Cannon described herself as a fiscal conservative with a “passion for honest, ethical government.” She added that her background in accounting and taxation issues leads naturally to her practical motivation for wanting to replace Bishop in Washington.
“There are a total of 11 members of Congress (out of 435 representatives in the House and 100 senators) who have any kind of training in accounting,” Cannon explained. “But 40 percent of all congressmen are attorneys.
“I think that explains a lot about where we are in Washington budget-wise and one of the reasons why we have to send someone there can provide some fiscal analysis. But there isn’t anyone else in the running with my background in dealing with state and federal tax issues.”
Utah’s 1st Congressional District includes all or parts of ten counties in northern Utah. A total of eight potential candidates have signaled their intent to run as Republicans for that seat in Congress, according to the Lt. Governor’s Office. In addition to Cannon, they include Bob Stevenson, a Davis County commissioner; Mark Shepherd, the mayor of Clearfield; Katie Witt, the mayor of Kaysville; and Kerry Gibson, commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
Cannon described her relationship with the outgoing Bishop as good, but added that she disagreed with his support of a recent budget deal approved by Congress. That legislation increased government spending by $320 billion over the next two years and authorized the federal government to continue borrowing funds.
In recent years, a sharply divided Congress has been unable to pass a unified national budget, relying instead on a series of continuing funding resolutions to keep the government operating while deferring unpleasant spending realities. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the 2019 budget deal was the 42nd continuing resolution passed by Congress in lieu of an actual budget since 1977.
“Congress doesn’t stick to a budget because they don’t have one …” Cannon complained. “Out-of-control spending is both a Republican and a Democratic issue. It’s bipartisan – we just seem to want to spend beyond our means.”
If elected, Cannon said that she plans to work in Washington, D.C., not live there. Her husband and four children will remain in Utah. Cannon believes that maintaining close ties to her home, family and constituents will ensure that her conservative values won’t change.
“We tend get the government we deserve, rather than the one we want,” Cannon said. “That’s why it’s so important that good people get involved in public service. And we call it ‘service’ for a reason. Providing service may mean taking a cut in pay. It may mean separation from your family. But I’m willing to make those kinds of sacrifices because making even a small contribution to good government is important to my future, the future of my family and to everyone else in the 1st Congressional District.”