|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Utah's 4th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Mia Love|
|Mayor of Salt Lake County|
January 7, 2013 – January 2, 2019
|Preceded by||Peter Corroon|
|Succeeded by||Jenny Wilson|
|Member of the Utah State Senate|
from the 2nd district
December 19, 2009 – November 13, 2012
|Preceded by||Scott McCoy|
|Succeeded by||Jim Dabakis|
Benjamin Michael McAdams
December 5, 1974
West Bountiful, Utah, U.S.
|Education||University of Utah (BA)|
Columbia University (JD)
Benjamin Michael McAdams (born December 5, 1974) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Utah's 4th congressional district since 2019. He is the only Democratic member of Utah's congressional delegation, and a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. From 2013 to 2019 he served as mayor of Salt Lake County, and from 2009 to 2012 he was the Utah state senator from the 2nd district, which includes Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, and a portion of West Valley.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Legal career
- 3 Utah Senate
- 4 Mayor of Salt Lake County
- 5 U.S. House of Representatives
- 6 Political positions
- 7 Electoral history
- 8 Personal life
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Early life and education
McAdams was born in West Bountiful, Utah. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Utah and a J.D. with honors from Columbia Law School. At Columbia McAdams was a member of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.
After graduating from law school, McAdams briefly worked in New York City as an associate at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell. McAdams and his family then returned to Utah, where he joined the law firm Dorsey & Whitney in Salt Lake City, working in securities law. McAdams then became Senior Advisor to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.
McAdams cosponsored S.B. 0150, a measure designed to promote communication between schools and parents of elementary school students who are reading below grade level. Governor Gary Herbert signed the bill into law on March 29, 2010.
In March 2011 McAdams proposed a bill banning employment and housing discrimination against gay and transgender Utahans. His motion to hold a hearing on it failed on a party-line vote. Salt Lake City passed a similar measure in 2009.
McAdams voted against H.B. 353,[failed verification], which allows medical personnel to refuse to provide abortions on moral or religious grounds. He also voted against H.B. 461,[failed verification] which extended the mandatory waiting period for an abortion from 24 hours to 72 business hours; this law was later found not to prevent women from having abortions. McAdams has said he voted against these bills because he considered them poorly drafted, not because he supports abortion. (See political positions, below.)
Scorecards and ratings
McAdams received a 75% rating from the advocacy group Parents for Choice in Education during the 2012 legislative session and a 77% rating from the National Education Association. He also received an 82% score from the Utah Taxpayers Association, the highest-scoring Democrat that year. The Salt Lake Tribune identified McAdams as the most liberal-leaning member of the Utah Senate in 2011, with a conservative rating of 34.4% that year. In 2012, however, the Tribune identified him as the third-most conservative Democratic Utah state senator (out of eight).
McAdams was given a rating of 33% conservative by the Sutherland Institute, a fiscally and socially conservative political action committee, based on his time in the Utah state senate. He also has a 100% rating from the Utah Sierra Club, which supports greater environmental protection.
|Appropriations - Executive Offices and Criminal Justice||2009-2010, 2011-2012|
|Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee, Utah Senate||2009-2010, 2011-2012|
|Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee, Utah Senate||2009-2010|
|Administrative Rules Review Committee, Utah State Legislature||2011-2012|
|Ethics Committee, Utah State Senate||2011-2012|
|Legislative Management Committee, Utah State Legislature||2011-2012|
|Redistricting Committee, Utah State Legislature||2011-2012|
|Revenue and Taxation Committee, Utah State Senate||2011-2012|
Mayor of Salt Lake County
In November 2011 McAdams announced his campaign to succeed Peter Corroon as mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah. On November 6, 2012, McAdams was elected with 54% of the vote, defeating Republican nominee Mark Crockett. McAdams resigned from the state senate before taking office as mayor.
McAdams was mentioned as a potential candidate in Utah's 2016 Senate race or Utah's 2016 gubernatorial race, but did not run for either position. He was reelected to a second term as Salt Lake County Mayor in November 2016 with 59% of the vote.
McAdams was tasked by the Utah Legislature to select a location for a new homeless shelter in Salt Lake County, outside of Salt Lake City. According to the Deseret News, the task was considered politically damaging, as strong local opposition was expected regardless of the ultimate shelter location. McAdams recommended South Salt Lake, and was opposed by Cherie Wood, the city's mayor. Previously, Draper mayor Troy Walker had volunteered two sites for the shelter in Draper, before rescinding the offer under public pressure.
Before making his recommendation, McAdams spent two nights on the streets of Salt Lake City, posing as a homeless person to gather information. Although tasked with recommending a site for the shelter, McAdams pledged to not support the center's groundbreaking unless the Utah Legislature passes a bill to create a pool of revenue from other cities to help with funding.
McAdams has called for a "radically different approach ... to address homelessness," and has called homelessness a "stubborn and complex social challenge."
Taxes and budgets
In 2014 McAdams supported the renewal of a Zoos, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) tax in Salt Lake County. The ZAP tax amounts to 1 cent on every $10 spent. It partially funds more than 190 county arts and cultural organizations, as well as 30 parks and recreation facilities, including Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, and others. The tax was approved by voters in 2014, with nearly 77% of county voters in favor.
McAdams's proposed 2018 county budget was passed by the County Council on a 5-4 vote. The opposition was due to an overrun of $367,000 over the preliminary budget request (of $1.3 billion) that McAdams had submitted previously. Included in the budget were funds for a partial opening of Oxbow Jail, a 2.5 percent pay raise for county employees, and funds for new libraries.
McAdams proposed a county budget for 2019 that included additional funds over previous years' budgets for public safety, including funds to fully open Oxbow Jail, and to help the local sheriff hire and retain public safety officers. The budget would not include a tax increase, and McAdams has said that overall new requests were reduced by around $18 million. After some modifications, the Salt Lake County Council passed the budget unanimously.
Economic and community development
McAdams supported S.B. 199 (known as the Community Preservation bill), which gave Salt Lake County's townships the ability to decide their future governance structure. This led to the election where Millcreek residents voted to incorporate.
As Salt Lake County mayor, McAdams sat on the board of directors of the United Way of Salt Lake County. He implemented a "pay-for-success" model that invited third-party investors to pay for preschool and gain a return on their investment when specified benchmarks were met. In 2016 the United Way recognized McAdams for this model and its "data-driven collaborative approach."
McAdams opposed a proposed Facebook data center in West Jordan in 2016. West Jordan city leaders blamed opposition from Salt Lake County, and McAdams in particular, for Facebook's ultimate choice to locate the data center in New Mexico instead of West Jordan. The $2.5 billion data center would have received $195 million from the city and county in tax breaks. McAdams believed that the data center was too expensive, since it would have directly produced a maximum of only 130 jobs. Supporters of the data center argued it would have drawn additional development and investment to the region.
McAdams was involved in the negotiations with state leaders for a proposed inland port in Salt Lake City. In January 2018, he said he strongly believes that land use and zoning decisions should remain at a local level. After the Utah Legislature passed SB023, which created the Utah Inland Port Authority, he said he believes "for the most part the bill is fair".
Salt Lake County maintained an AAA bond rating throughout McAdams' tenure as mayor.
U.S. House of Representatives
On October 18, 2017, McAdams announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination to oppose incumbent Representative Mia Love, a Republican representing Utah's 4th congressional district. On April 28, 2018, McAdams won the Democratic nomination at the party's convention. With the backing of 72% of the convention delegates, McAdams avoided a primary campaign.
In June 2018 CNN reported that the race was considered "consequential to both parties" because Love had "stood up to [President Donald Trump] on immigration" and "because national Democrats [saw] McAdams as one of their best chances to gain a foothold on red turf".
McAdams was endorsed by the Blue Dog Coalition, a House caucus of conservative and moderate Democrats that stresses fiscal responsibility. He was also endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters
On November 20 final results showed that McAdams had won by 694 votes, or .257%. His margin of victory was greater than the .25% needed to automatically trigger a recount. About $11.4 million combined was spent by Love's and McAdams' campaigns, and outside groups on their behalf, making it one of the most expensive campaigns in Utah history. Outside groups are expected to spend heavily to oppose him again in 2020.
With his win, McAdams became the first Democratic member of congress elected from Utah since Jim Matheson won reelection to the 4th District in 2012.
McAdams is the only Democrat in Utah's congressional delegation.
He voted for Stephanie Murphy, a Democratic representative from Florida, for House speaker. He had previously joined other Democratic House members in signing a letter pledging to oppose Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.
In April 2019 McAdams introduced legislation proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He was supported by the other 26 members of the Blue Dog Caucus. The amendment would allow deficits during wars, recessions, or sustained periods of high unemployment. It would also protect Social Security and Medicare from court-mandated budget cuts. As justification for the amendment, McAdams cited the $22 trillion debt, $1 trillion annual deficit, increasing interest payments, and lack of efforts by either party to curtail spending growth. Liberal-leaning news sources have criticized the plan: Esquire called it a "pry-bar ... to open the entire Constitution to revision," while Splinter News predicted that "domestic spending programs and the safety net will always be up first on the chopping block if cuts need to be made." The Guardian newspaper accused McAdams and the Blue Dog Coalition of trying to "kill the Green New Deal", which would require deficit spending, and argued that "there’s nothing inherently dangerous about a growing deficit."
- Committee on Financial Services
- Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
- Blue Dog Coalition
- Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
- New Democrat Coalition
- Problem Solvers Caucus
Although not a member of Congress when it passed, McAdams expressed opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, because of the expected $1.5 trillion increase of the national debt over 10 years. He also believes it favors the "wealthy over the middle class." He has stated he believes in tax code modernization, but that he considered the tax reform bill "fiscally irresponsible," and believes that its cost "is borrowed from future generations."
In 2019 McAdams voted against a House bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. He said he supports a higher minimum wage, but wants a system that sets the rate based on the regional cost of living and purchasing power.
Energy and environment
McAdams supports increased renewable energy sources and the development of new technologies. He supports a national energy portfolio that is balanced between renewables and traditional fossil fuel sources, as well as reductions in vehicle emissions.
McAdams supports efforts to improve Utah's air quality. He requested that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee double the funding available for the Utah Transit Authority to purchase electric buses, in an effort to improve air quality. Air quality in Salt Lake City and other Utah urban areas consistently ranks among the worst in the US.
McAdams does not support the Green New Deal; he has said he has "some concerns and [doesn't] have a lot of confidence in big heavy-handed government programs." Instead he has said he wants to see "government working hand-in-hand with the private sector" to harness "the creativity and entrepreneurship of the private sector... to solve [the] crisis" of climate change. McAdams believes in "the threat of climate change," which he says is "real... and we are seeing it... in Utah." McAdams voted for a bill to block the Trump administration from leaving the Paris Agreement. He was the only member of the Utah congressional delegation to do so.
While Salt Lake County mayor, McAdams called for Congress to make fixes to the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) instead of repealing it. He had previously called on Congress to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) after its funding lapsed in September 2017.
McAdams does not support a "Medicare-for-all" type plan, saying he doesn't think it is an approach that would "work for [his] constituents."
McAdams has called for comprehensive immigration reform that includes secured borders, increased legal immigration, and a permanent solution for participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also known as Dreamers. He also supports the principles in the Utah Compact.
During the 2018 election campaign McAdams opposed President Trump's plans to build a wall on the southern U.S. border with Mexico. During the 2018-19 government shutdown, McAdams said he could accept additional border protection funding, potentially including a wall, if it were part of a compromise bill that included immigration reform and "a fix for the Dreamers and DACA." The government shutdown centered on Trump's demands for additional funds to construct a wall.
McAdams has expressed "strong concern" about the Trump administration's plan to rescind visas for immediate family members of H-1B legal immigrants. H-1B visa holders are skilled workers who immigrate with company sponsorship. H-4 visas, which the plan would affect, are issued to their spouses and children under 21 years of age.
McAdams supports same-sex marriage. After the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the right to marry, McAdams stated: "As Justice Kennedy stated in his opinion, 'The right of same-sex couples to marry is derived from the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.' This decision enshrines what I’ve long believed—that all families should be treated equally under the law."
In 2019 McAdams voted for the Equality Act, which would legally prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.
McAdams has identified himself as pro-life. He has said he "believes in the sanctity of life at all stages", "opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother's life, and in certain other rare circumstances", and believes "decisions about terminating a pregnancy should be made by a woman in consultation with her physician, family members and faith counselors she trusts."
During the 2018 election campaign McAdams described himself as pro-life, referring to his "deeply held beliefs about the sanctity of life", and said that Mia Love's charge that he is an abortion advocate was "offensive".
During the current 116th session of Congress McAdams was one of three Democrats to sign a Republican-led petition to force a vote on the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act", an anti-abortion bill.
As a member of Congress McAdams voted for a bill requiring background checks for all gun buyers. He also voted for an amendment requiring Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be notified when an illegal immigrant attempts to buy a firearm and is caught during the background check.
McAdams also voted against a Democratic-sponsored measure to extend the waiting period to buy a firearm from 3 days to 10 days. At the time, he stated:
|“||As a supporter of the Second Amendment, I believe most gun owners are responsible, law-abiding citizens. ... Adding more bureaucracy and delays for a gun buyer to navigate does not improve the background check system.||”|
|Republican||Mia Love (incumbent)||134,270||49.9|
|Independent||Jonathan Larele Peterson (write-in)||37||0.0|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
McAdams, a seventh-generation Utahn, is one of six children. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and served a mission to Brazil in the mid-1990s. McAdams and his wife, Julie, have four children.
- Politics of Utah
- List of United States Representatives from Utah
- United States House of Representatives
- Benjamin Michael Adams: Volunteer Faculty, University of Utah College of Law
- Lee Davidson (November 20, 2018). "It's over. Democrat Ben McAdams ousts Republican Rep Mia Love by 694 votes". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
- Lisa Riley Roche (November 20, 2018). "It's Congressman-elect Ben McAdams after election results certified, but Love hasn't conceded". KSL.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
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- "HB0353". le.utah.gov.
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- "Info" (PDF). local.sltrib.com., see also the accompanying Tribune article located here: "Scorecard: Utah lawmakers lean right, far right".
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- "Mayor calls plan for homeless shelter a 'lethal blow' for South Salt Lake". Deseret News. March 31, 2017.
- "'I get it now': Draper mayor rescinds homeless sites offer during raucous public gathering". Deseret News.
- "Mayor Ben McAdams posed as a homeless person for 3 days and 2 nights. Here's what he saw". The Salt Lake Tribune.
- "'I didn't feel safe': Mayor Ben McAdams describes secret nights on street, in shelter". Deseret News. August 6, 2017.
- Sara Jarman (October 29, 2014). "ZAP tax on the 2014 ballot". ksl.com.
- "S.L. County OKs ZAP tax funding for 25 organizations". Deseret News. December 28, 2017.
- "After bickering, Salt Lake County Council passes 2018 budget of $1.3B — and change". Salt Lake Tribune.
- Katie McKellar (October 23, 2018). "Salt Lake County mayor again prioritizes Oxbow Jail, public safety in 2019 budget proposal". ksl.com.
- "Salt Lake County Council passes $1.5 billion 2019 budget they say prioritizes public safety without a tax increase". Salt Lake Tribune. December 4, 2018.
- "Community preservation bill creates governance options for Salt Lake County". Deseret News.
- "Millcreek to become Salt Lake County's 17th city". Salt Lake Tribune.
- "Board - United Way Salt Lake". Retrieved August 11, 2018.
- "Mayor Ben McAdams: Working Hard In Public Service". Attorney At Law Magazine. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
- "2016 Changemakers:Mayor Ben McAdams". United Way. May 12, 2016.
- "West Jordan blames Ben McAdams for losing out on Facebook data center". Salt Lake Tribune. September 25, 2016.
- "Land deal for inland port in Salt Lake in process". January 30, 2018.
- "Governor to sign controversial Utah inland port bill despite city outcry". Deseret News. March 8, 2018.
- "Ben McAdams says 'bittersweet' goodbye to Salt Lake County mayor's office". Deseret News. December 28, 2018.
- "Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams running for Congress | KSL.com". Retrieved October 19, 2017.
- "Utah Democrats Nominate McAdams for House Race Against Love". U.S. News. April 28, 2018.
- "Love campaign says if Dems win, so does Pelosi, but McAdams says he wouldn't support the minority leader". The Salt Lake Tribune.
- "Democrats opposing Pelosi". August 10, 2018.
- "Democrat McAdams Won't Support Pelosi for Speaker". May 3, 2018.
- CNN, Maeve Reston. "Utah's real race to watch isn't Mitt Romney's -- it's Mia Love's". CNN.
- "Archive of bluedogdems.com". August 8, 2018.
- "LCV Action Fund Endorses Ben McAdams for Congress". June 15, 2018.
- Taylor Hartman (November 20, 2018). "Final votes counted in Salt Lake, Utah counties; McAdams victory holds". Fox13.
- Press, BRADY McCOMBS, Associated (December 7, 2018). "McAdams vs. Love race was one of the most expensive in Utah history". KUTV.
- McCOMBS, BRADY (December 7, 2018). "McAdams-Love race in Utah spurred $11M in spending". AP NEWS.
- Matthew Brown (January 2, 2019). "Utah's new Democratic congressman already has a target on his back, and he's not the only one". Deseret News.
- Larry D. Curtis (January 3, 2019). "McAdams keeps campaign promise, votes against Pelosi as Speaker of the House". KUTV.
- "Ben McAdams sworn in as new U.S. House member. Utah's only Democrat in Congress casts his first vote against Pelosi as speaker". The Salt Lake Tribune.
- "16 Democrats say they will oppose Nancy Pelosi as the next House speaker". CNBC. November 19, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
- "More than 100 members of Congress reject pay during shutdown". Retrieved January 19, 2019.
- "Moderate Democrats Back Balanced-Budget Amendment, Countering Liberals". Bloomberg.
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- "McAdams introduces Balanced Budget Amendment". Utah Policy.
- Pierce, Charles P. (April 9, 2019). "Not One Single Democrat Should Get Behind the Worst Idea in American Politics". Esquire.
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- "BLUE DOG COALITION ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP, NEW MEMBERS FOR THE 116TH CONGRESS". Blue Dog Coalition. November 27, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
- "Members". LGBT Equality Caucus.
- "New Democrat Coalition Inducts 30 Members-Elect and Elects New Leadership". New Democrat Coalition. November 30, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
- https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900081837/utah-ben-mcadams-border-immigration-crisis.html. Missing or empty
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- "McAdams, Wilson, easily win nominations at Democratic state convention". Retrieved August 10, 2018.
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- "Budget & Taxes". Ben McAdams for Congress. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
- "Ben McAdams: Both parties must work to lower our country's dangerous debt burden". Deseret News. March 11, 2019.
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- "McAdams seeks higher minimum wage bill that works for Utah. Press release". Office of Ben McAdams. July 18, 2019.
- "Energy & Environment". Ben McAdams for Congress. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
- Lisa Riley Roche (May 31, 2019). "UTA, Utah Rep. Ben McAdams working to secure more federal dollars for electric buses". Deseret News.
- For example, see https://kutv.com/news/local/air-pollution-along-wasatch-front-among-worst-in-the-nation
- Hatch, Heidi (March 27, 2019). "McAdams Connect To Congress: No deal on the Green New Deal". KUTV.
- "Rep. Ben McAdams casts lone Utah vote to block Trump withdrawal from Paris climate accord". KSL. May 2, 2019.
- Ben McAdams. "Ben McAdams: Congress to Tiny Tim: 'No health insurance for you.'". Salt Lake Tribune.
- "Health Care". Ben McAdams for Congress. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
- Editor, Bryan Schott, Managing. "McAdams on Medicare for all: 'Not an approach to healthcare that works for my constituents'". utahpolicy.com.
- "Immigration". Ben McAdams for Congress. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
- "Ben McAdams and Derek Miller: A new generation of leaders stands for the principles of the Utah Compact". The Salt Lake Tribune.
- "McAdams says border wall is not immoral, could vote for it under certain circumstances". KUTV. January 20, 2019.
- "Rep. Ben McAdams pushing back on Trump plan to cut visas for spouses of tech workers". Deseret News.
- "Mayor Ben McAdams 'pleased' with Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling". GOOD4UTAH. June 26, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- "Rep. Ben McAdams joins Democrats in passing Equality Act; other Utahns in Congress vote no". House Debate on the Equality Act. Salt Lake Tribune. May 17, 2019.
- "Residents in heavily GOP Utah County pepper Rep. Ben McAdams at town hall with questions on abortion, impeachment, border wall". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
- Connor Richards (July 27, 2018). "Utah Democrat insists he's just as anti-abortion as his conservative opponent". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- "Holly Richardson: Abortion is a nonnegotiable for many voters". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "Utah Democrat insists he's just as anti-abortion as his conservative opponent". The Salt Lake Tribune.
- Editor, Bryan Schott, Managing. "McAdams joins GOP-led effort to force a vote on anti-abortion bill". utahpolicy.com.
- "Utah Rep. Ben McAdams supports universal background checks for gun buyers. Utah's Republican members all vote no". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- "McAdams backed expanding background checks for guns — but opposed extending wait periods". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- "Meet Ben McAdams". Retrieved August 11, 2018.
- Coleman, Libby. "There's a Reason He's the Highest-Ranking Dem in Utah". OZY.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
|Preceded by |
| Mayor of Salt Lake County |
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Preceded by |
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Utah's 4th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|Preceded by |
| United States Representatives by seniority |