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Speaker of the House Candidates Come From Contrasting Housing States

10-9 Dan Webster

Daniel Webster

10-9 Chaffetz

Jason Chaffetz

The announcement from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) that he is withdrawing his name from consideration for the soon-to-be-vacant Speaker of the House position has left no clear successor to current Speaker John Boehner, but a couple of candidates have emerged as of late to compete for the top position in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Daniel Webster (R-Florida) have both announced their candidacy while Boehner, who originally announced that his resignation will be effective at the end of October, has now said he will remain Speaker of the House until a successor is found.

"I am running for Speaker of the House of Representatives because I want to lead the way on tackling the toughest issues facing the United States of America," Chaffetz said. "The American people have entrusted Republicans with the largest majority since the 1920s, but with that majority comes a responsibility to get the job done that we were elected to do. I came to Congress to help fix problems, and as Speaker I will fight every day to make that happen. I look forward to sharing my vision for the Speakership with my colleagues and the American people.”

In an October 5 Tweet, Webster said, "This election is about fundamentally transforming Congress. I commit to serving Members as their Speaker of the House."

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Ohio), the Republicans' nominee for vice president in 2012, was reportedly asked by Boehner to run for Speaker of the House to succeed him\. But he announced that he will not run—although there is some speculation he will change his mind.

One of the toughest issues facing the nation is the declining homeownership rate, which has fallen to its lowest level in five decades despite all the positive news from the housing market this year. Chaffetz and Webster come from different worlds when it comes to being affected by the housing crisis, however.

"This election is about fundamentally transforming Congress. I commit to serving Members as their Speaker of the House."—Daniel Webster

Florida has been one of the states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis. No state has seen more completed closures than Florida since 2008; for example, for the 12-month period ending July 31, 2015, there were 98,000 completed foreclosures in Florida—about one-fifth of the national total for that period, according to CoreLogic. Florida's foreclosure rate has regularly been far higher than national averages; in July, it was 2.7 percent, more than double the national average of 1.2 percent.

Webster has experience handling the effects of the housing crisis, having served as a Representative in Central Florida since 2011. He has vowed to strengthen Florida's housing market and stabilize house prices by making sure that "over-intrusive" regulations imposed by Dodd-Frank are not shutting potential homebuyers out of the housing market, and also encouraged responsible savings toward a downpayment in order to create homeownership opportunities.

Utah is a different story, however. Utah's foreclosure rate and serious delinquency rate of 0.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, for July 2015 are both far below the national averages of 1.2 percent and 3.4 percent, according to CoreLogic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah's homeownership rate for 2009 to 2013—the years immediately following the housing crisis—was more than 5 percentage points higher than the national average (70.1 percent compared to 64.9 percent).

Utah has not been as severely affected by the housing crisis as some states, including Florida, and changes in housing policy have not been at the forefront of issues in Utah. As the top Republican lawmaker in the House of Representatives, how would each of these candidates attack the problem of the nationwide declining homeownership? Would Chaffetz approach it any differently than Webster?

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.
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