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In this Sunday Edition, a conversation with candidates to represent Utah's 1st Congressional District. In just three weeks, Democrat Morgan Bowen will face incumbent Republican Rob Bishop in the general election. Sunday, they outlined their positions on critical issues facing Congress and the nation.
Bishop and Bowen were given the opportunity to make an opening statement:
Bishop: "The same thing applies as when I first ran -- this election is not about me or my opponents, it is still about you because it is your Congress, it's your government. It's who you want to have the principles, the experience to represent your values back in Washington. I still have the same goals I had when I first went back there. My goal is to lose power in Washington, so that when I end my tenure I can do less to you than when I first started. And whether the issue is spending, or education, or health care, the solution is not to consolidate power in Washington but to go back to the constitutional principles of federalism, to empower state and local governments, and to allow people to solve their own problems. And I hope that's what we will talk about today because that's what I want to work on in these next two years in Washington."
Bowen: "Some people ask me 'Why is a seminary teacher running for Congress?' And you know it's not really that I've got any special thing that I can offer, except I am one of those of you in this community. So I've worked the community, I live in the community, I am part of the community. And what we are trying to do here, is that we are trying to make a difference. And the difference is this -- we have had for a decade at least or longer, a very dysfunctional government who has over-spent its means and has put our country in jeopardy. We continue to run up massive deficits and it's time for some fiscal responsibility. It's time for some changes and it's time to get America truly working again."
On the recession and economy:
Bishop: "We have not solved those recessionary problems yet. The only area that there has been a growth in the employment has been in the federal government area. The private sector has yet to respond to that. And unfortunately, we haven't learned the lessons of history. If you go back, we are actually doing the same things that both President Hoover and President Roosevelt tried to do at the beginning of the Depression. We will have the same matter-of-fact results. What we need to do is make sure we have a different direction to realize that what we have tried over these past years, every stimulus, every bailout has not worked, that is not the solution to our problems. The solution is to come back with an accurate approach of trying to reinvigorate the private sector of the economy. Look, when the Depression started there were a lot of people that had money that were willing to invest in the economy and they were afraid to. They were afraid to because they were unsure of what the tax structure would be, what the regulatory structure, and the fact that the government was going after private sector businessmen at the time. We are basically doing that same thing -- people still don't know what are tax structure will be come this January. They don't know what our regulatory policies will be come this January. And they still have this attitude that we have a government that is anti-business. We have to change that climate before we'll ever get people to reinvest in the economy, which will have the chance of expanding, especially small business, and producing jobs. And that's where we haven't produced jobs where we need to."
Bowen: "We've got 100,000 people out of work in this state, at least on unemployment, there's probably many that have given up hope in finding a job at this point. It's unacceptable that we have those kinds of numbers. A good economy will obviously change that. How do we get to a good economy? The bottom line is that we have got to have some serious reforms and I agree with the idea that we need to make sure that people aren't burdened with taxes, that there's incentives for those to start businesses, especially entrepreneurial incentives for individuals. I think small, home-based business tax credits would be a wonderful start to start getting people back to work. Also there's some feedback starting to come in from the business bill and some of the lending is starting to open up again to small business, that's going to hopefully see an effect in small business employing people, adding things to their warehouses and infrastructure to their businesses.... I especially think the business bill that just passed is going to have an effect.... It frees up the capital, and that's what was the problem. There was a strangulation on capital, the bailout simply did nothing to free up capital, it simply backed up individuals with bad behavior in the markets and in the banking industry. And they profited, they bought up banks that were in trouble but they didn't free up capital for the business sector. Now that's starting to flow again and there are some early numbers that show that there is actually some movement of capital into the small business sector and there's some excitement there."
The candidates also discussed the political climate since the last election, lobbyists, the direction of Congress, federalism, TARP and taxes.
The candidates talk about the Tea Party Movement:
Bishop: "The Tea Party Caucus is an informal group of individuals, because the Tea Party movement is an informal group of individuals that don't necessarily have a platform. But one of the key elements they talk about runs very dear and close to me and that is the concept of federalism, the idea that you don't empower Washington with more regulatory ability, more power, more ability to make decisions over people's lives, but you move that power back, as was originally intended, to state and local government, and as the 10th Amendment says, to individuals who can do that. That is truly the solution and salvation to this particular country. So I like what they are saying in that particular effect. I like how they are talking about the fact that it is cutting the spending of Washington that is so essential. It is those deficits that are driving down the inability of the markets to recover, because the federal government still pulls more money out just to pay off our debt in interest than is allowed to circulate within the economy. It is the federal regulatory authority that actually shrunk the ability for credit to be lended lately. We have to simply, once again realize that this country was founded on the understanding and ability that people could govern themselves. Empower people to govern themselves."
Bowen: Well, [Bishop joining the Tea Party cacus] troubles me for a few reasons. I mean the Ogden Standard Examiner called Bishop a hypocrite over the whole issue. And one of the things is, is that you kind of can't have it two ways. I mean, he's big into military spending and a lot of the Tea Party want that curbed back, and also even in the issue of ATK, and trying to get government money funneled into Utah. The Tea Party is pretty focused on slashing government spending across the board. And I think that's kind of an interesting factor. Obviously, our Sen. Bennett was basically removed from office from the Tea Party and I think Congressman Bishop has got to have a little fear in him based on that movement and so obviously running to the Tea Party is a very politically expedient thing to do."
The candidates also weighed in on jobs, professional politicians, hedge funds and derivatives and military spending.
Each candidate offered a summary statement:
Bishop: "If one is satisfied with what's happened in Washington for the last two years with Nancy Pelosi I'm probably not your candidate. But I am not satisfied and if you want Congress to change, if you want the Pelosi agenda to be jettisoned, if you want to do something different back in Washington, then I am the candidate for you. Politicians make promises all the time -- I'm going to do the promise I did originally. I'm not going to change, I'm a conservative Utahn who wants to go back there and fight for your values."
Bowen: "If you are interested in going back to policies of the past, policies that put us in this financial wreck we're in, then you can continue to vote for Congressman Bishop. That's part of the problem. I am not a professional politician and my opponent has been in paid politics since I was in high school, which is a long time ago. I believe that we need to restore power back to the people of this country and we need to really clean house. Let's clean house and send new people with some fresh ideas back to Washington, D.C.
Through the month of October, each week we will bring you conversations with candidates for other major political offices.
Next week, Sunday Edition continues its election series, "Conversations with the Candidates" with gubernatorial candidates Peter Corroon and Gary Herbert.
"Conversation with the Candidates" schedule:
- Oct. 17: Utah gubernatorial race
- Oct. 24: U.S. Senate race
- Oct. 31: 2nd Congressional District candidates