2020 Election: Utah's 2nd Congressional District race — candidates, key issues and debates

2020 Election: Utah's 2nd Congressional District race — candidates, key issues and debates

(KSL)



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SALT LAKE CITY — Incumbent Congressman Chris Stewart is vying for re-election in Utah's 2nd Congressional District, but he'll have to fight off Democratic candidate Kael Weston and Libertarian J. Robert Latham.

Stewart and Weston both have experience in national defense — Stewart as a pilot in the Air Force, Weston as a former member of the State Department — and are published authors. J. Robert Latham is an attorney in St. George, Utah.

Utah's 2nd congressional district is geographically the largest and covers the southern and western half of the state, including the entirety of Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, Millard, Piute, Sevier, Tooele, Washington and Wayne counties. The district also includes portions of Davis, Juab, Salt Lake and Sanpete counties. The district serves segments of population-dense Salt Lake City, but the majority of its geographic area is smaller cities and towns.

The field

Candidates on the ballot

Withdrew from the race

  • Joseph Jarvis (Independent)

Eliminated from the race

  • Randy Hopkins (D), Larry Livingston(D), Mary Burkett (R), Tyrone Jensen (R), Carson Jorgensen (R)

The latest

What's next

  • Debate: Mon., Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.
  • Election Day: Nov. 3

Key issues

The key issues on Congressman Chris Stewart's campaign website include national security, the rise of socialism, the national debt, religious freedom, and public lands. Stewart's congressional website also includes policies on education, the economy and jobs, energy, health and veterans. Kael Weston's campaign website includes policy on economic recovery, healthcare, government accountability, education, social justice, climate change, gun violence, and public lands.

Education

Weston: "The foundation of America’s economic growth and prosperity is publicly funded education, education for the public good. In addition to the ongoing and necessary debate about the affordability of higher education and the burden of student loan debt, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown our system of public elementary and secondary education into disarray. The shutdown of in-person learning last spring contributed to the flattening of the infection curve across many areas in April and May, though the costs to students, teachers and families have been high ..."

Stewart: "Education is a vital part of our economy, and good education programs will ensure success both now and in the future. As a father of six children, I am deeply interested in the quality of education that our children receive in the State of Utah. I strongly believe that education decisions are best decided at state and local levels. Local and state leaders — those who have direct interaction with parents and teachers in their communities — are best positioned to determine policies that affect Utah’s students, not Washington bureaucrats. I support legislation that keeps education choices in the hands of parents, along with local and state leaders."

Healthcare

Weston: "Health care is a human right. Arguably no area is more important right now for tens of millions of Americans than implementing health care for all. How we get there is a conversation that we can and should have, but the goal must be health care for all. Not some. Not even most. But all. COVID-19 has laid bare the inadequacies and brittle nature of our healthcare system. Among those inadequacies are a critical need for health insurance coverage, the lack of rural health resources, and the pitfalls of relying on employment-based coverage. Our government must ensure that Americans have access to care when they need it. And that no one should go bankrupt or go without care because of medical bills. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has shrunk the number of uninsured in our nation by tens of millions, making it possible for more Americans to access health care and lead healthier lives."

Stewart: "Our health care and insurance systems need reform. In 2010, Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ObamaCare. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the penalty assessed to individuals who fail to purchase insurance is a tax. As a former small business owner in Davis County, I see and understand the stresses that this tax penalty is forcing upon business owners throughout our district. Not only are jobs being killed by the implementation of Obamacare but it is crushing economic activity. The purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to drive insurance premiums down. But instead we see the exact opposite - some premiums rising as much as 400 percent. This makes ObamaCare the largest tax increase on the American people. As your Congressman, I will work to defund, repeal and replace Obamacare."

The economy

Weston: "The pandemic has battered our economic lives. Through no fault of their own, millions have lost jobs, health care, and their businesses. Across CD2 we see the pain and worry of families and individuals struggling to survive this crisis, and we are committed to providing relief. Since May, our campaign has traveled over 4,500 miles listening in small towns, suburbs and urban areas alike. In each of these varied neighborhoods, Utahns are looking for our government to function and our politicians to be responsive—not do the usual blame game and point fingers.

To drive economic recovery, federal funding is needed to support state, local, and tribal governments so educators, healthcare providers, and other essential workers are not laid off. We need to extend COVID crisis unemployment insurance to help those who are out of work."

Stewart: "As a former small business owner, my employees were like my own family. I know many Utahns that are suffering through what has become the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.

I've learned that if you want to restore hope for the American worker, give them a job. Foster an environment where jobs are being created and the economy is growing. It's American small businesses that are moving our economy forward. I will continue to work to create an environment that favors job creation, small businesses and a strong economy."

Public lands

Weston: "Utah’s majestic geography is a public asset owned by all Americans, even as rural communities raise legitimate points about the balance between land protection, tourism, and local economics. We have a responsibility for stewardship of our public lands, to maintain and protect public land values and the economic, community, and natural resources they offer, for both current and future generations. Most of the land in Utah’s 2nd congressional district is in federal ownership. This includes the spectacular treasures of Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef National Parks, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Cedar Breaks National Monuments, and thousands of square miles of Bureau of Land Management and Forest Services lands. We need to ensure that our parks and monuments are adequately funded and staffed to meet the dual objectives of preservation and responsible use."

Stewart: "When federal agencies talk about more restrictive use of Utah lands for single user groups at the exclusion of ranchers, recreation, sportsmen, and others, Congressman Stewart uses his power on the Appropriations Committee to ask the agency heads which items they want cut from their budgets if they pursue those restrictions. They don’t want cuts. It’s the “power of the purse” in its truest form. As a result, we’re opening up more land for more people to use and enjoy, not closing more of it off. That’s what you get when you have the right leader in the right position. That’s how Washington hears Utah’s voice. That’s how Chris Stewart delivers for you."

Key dates/developments

Watch the debate

  • Mon., Oct. 19 at 6 p.m., can be viewed on ABC, Fox 13, KSL, KUTV, KUED, and the Utah Debate Commission Livestream.

2020 Election

Increased mail-in voting, COVID-19, and a variety of state-by-state election formats contribute to a unique 2020 election. As a result, it is likely that many close House and Senate races, as well as the presidency, will not be called on Nov. 3.

States may also shift in outcome in the days or weeks following the election — an expected change experts have warned about as results are returned. While human error happens, both mail-in and in-person voting have extremely low rates of fraud.

The state of Utah has used vote-by-mail since 2012. It has safeguards in place to make sure every ballot it receives is legitimate.

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