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Jill Atwood reportingThe campaign trail is heating up as the Democrats running for president, try to round up as many votes as they can before Super Tuesday, March 2nd.
But for Utah, the big day is Tuesday. That's when the state's Democratic party will hold its first ever state-wide presidential primary. And it's even got some of the candidates paying attention to what's considered a predominantly Republican state.
One of those candidates is front-runner John Kerry, who says Americans deserve a real choice about real issues.
Senator John Kerry apologized for not visiting the Beehive state in person, but he did talk with local reporters in a conference call Sunday morning.
Kerry is the only democratic presidential candidate to have a campaign office in Utah. He's devoted a lot of resources here, and he hopes Utah is listening. He thinks we're ready for change and says he feels good about his chances here.
Sunday morning Senator John Kerry visited the most famous black church in Atlanta, Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King once preached. Prior to that, he was hanging on the phone with Utah journalists discussing everything from the deficit to the environment...to gay marriage. Kerry is convinced the country can be run better under democratic leadership, and he says it starts by protecting the middle class.
Sen. John Kerry, (R) Massachusetts: "I have a healthcare plan that is not a government plan it is a market based incentive plan but it lowers cost for middle class. I have a plan to fully fund special needs education by rolling back the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans the vast majority of Utah will benefit from that."
Kerry also promises to cut the deficit in half and keep jobs here at home. He also vows to take better care our veterans.
Sen. John Kerry, (R) Massachusetts: "The VA budget has been cut. There are tens of thousands of veterans waiting months to see a doctor for the first time thousands of veterans waiting for admittance to the VA."
On the issue of gay marriage, Kerry says that's up to the individual states.
"I support partnership rights and civil unions rights, rights that give people non discriminatory status in America in terms of the rights that affect visitation in a hospital or transfer of property or pension or other kinds of things. But I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Kerry says he now has the support of five prominent state Democrats who formerly supported Howard Dean, including Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.