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In this Sunday Edition, a conversation with candidates to represent Utah's 2nd Congressional District. In just two days, Republican Morgan Bishop will face incumbent Democrat Jim Matheson in the general election. Sunday, they outlined their positions on critical issues facing Congress and the nation.
Philpot and Matheson were given the opportunity to make an opening statement:
Philpot: Jim Matheson equals Nancy Pelosi, but let me tell you what a vote for Morgan Philpot equals, a new speaker of the House, an end literally overnight to an agenda that is bankrupting America, more local control for Utah's lands, a representative who is accountable and available, more town hall meetings where your Congressman is actually there, and a representative who will not say one thing and do another when it comes to less government, lower taxes, and a balanced budget. A vote for Morgan Philpot on November 2nd is a vote to bring our representation back to Utah.
Matheson: I'm a sixth generation Utahn. The values I was raised on in my household were those of faith, family, community, public service, honesty and integrity. That's how I have guided my life and that's how I think you should approach public service as well. I've always believed that when you're elected to office you enter into a public trust with your constituents. I've always made the pledge that you may not agree with me on every issue but you can count on me to take a thoughtful, commonsense approach on every single issue and always put Utah first. I put Utah above party, above politics, above everything in terms of how I try to make the world and our state a better place. That's how I conduct myself in Congress. I ask for your vote on Tuesday.
The candidates discussed the health care reform.
Philpot: I would repeal it and I would defund it until we can repeal it. The typical behavior in Washington, D.C., is to break something and then fix it. And the way to fix health care in America, if it needed a fix which I believe it does, it needs some reform, it didn't need a wholesale government takeover. We could have solved the problems in health care with other solutions. We could have looked at interstate competition, tort reform, empowering states to take care of high risk pools. But instead we ushered in a whole new era of government spending, a new entitlement program if you would, larger in its inception than any other entitlement program we've ever ushered in, that's going to cost us money, within the next ten years $1.4 trillion is the estimated. That's not the way to fix health care in America, it's going to drive up costs.
Matheson: I think we ought to keep the good parts and get rid of the bad parts. I think it's not particularly responsible to take a meat ax approach and set get rid of it all. There's so many people in Utah, I just met with one yesterday, whose wife is recovering from cancer. And if you had a pre-existing condition before this became law, insurance companies could deny you coverage, to have health insurance coverage. The new law says we don't get to do that anymore in America. If you repeal the whole law you're saying, "You know what, if you have a pre-existing condition, too bad." I don't think we should say all or none. I think we should look for what makes sense, and by the way the majority of the bill didn't, that's why I voted no, but we need someone who is ready to roll up their sleeves and go in to be practical about how we fix what I think is a very challenging problem in this country, which is how do we create a sustainable health care system for the future. The new law didn't do it and there's work to be done.
Matheson and Philpot also discussed negative advertising, the federal budget, taxes and spending, Medicare and Social Security.
The candidates discuss their plans to stimulate the economy:
Matheson: First of all, the government can't do it all nor should it try. The government does not manage this economy. Here's what we can do both short term and long term: Short term I think investing in government infrastructure is a good investment, highways, water systems, bridges; it puts people to work, it creates assets that benefit all of us for decades to come. That's old school in some ways but it makes a lot of sense. The stimulus bill only had 6-percent go to infrastructure, it should have been a lot more. Secondly, we do need to create both a lower tax environment and a certainty within tax policy. Right now there is too much uncertainty. I have long been an advocate for extending the tax cuts.... But the answer is that if you want to create the type of environment where people can make rational decisions they have to know what future is going to be, right now people don't even know what the future is going to be, that's where government policy is creating the hindrance to economic growth.
Philpot: We should have extended the Bush tax cuts we should have made them permanent a long time ago. Congress should never have adjourned before dealing with that issue, but my opponent was the key vote, 210 votes to 209 to adjourn Congress without a budget and without the Bush tax cuts. Instead they punted it to a lame duck Congress. So yes, make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Infrastructure spending would have been great if we had done it in the stimulus bill, perhaps. Still it's spending money we don't have. Let's go back to what Ronald Reagan, Calvin Coolidge, Jack Kennedy have done. They actually asked the government to cut their budgets so that the budget could be balanced, we could hopefully run surpluses and then give the American people some of their own money back. That's a real economic stimulus. It's not rocket science, it's a free market economy at its very best.
Philpot and Matheson also discussed political extremes, track records and troops in Afghanistan.
Each candidate offered a summary statement:
Philpot: Again, Jim Matheson equals Nancy Pelosi. If you want to see a change in Washington, D.C., this is the most important vote you've made at this point in time in your life. It's Utah's job to step up and send back a fiscal conservative to Washington, D.C., to get our budget balanced, to rein in a federal government that's out of control and to cut taxes for the American people so that we can see the economy come back and we can see jobs and opportunities again in America.
Matheson: When you go and vote on Election Day the names on the ballot are going to be Jim Matheson and Morgan Philpot, despite what my opponent says, those are the names. You are deciding who you want to represent you. Do you want someone who is going to be a rubber stamp and just do what party leadership tells them or do you want a commonsense, independent voice who's going to do what's right for Utah every chance he gets? I'll never turn my back on Utah. I would never walk away from the job. I'd never miss significant numbers of votes. I'll do what's right for Utah every day, work hard every day and be as honest with you as I can. I ask for your vote on November 2nd.