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BOOSTERS: UTAH’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION URGES UTAHNS TO VOTE FOR THE OLYMPICS NOV. 7.

SHARE BOOSTERS: UTAH’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION URGES UTAHNS TO VOTE FOR THE OLYMPICS NOV. 7.

In what became an impromptu pep rally Thursday, all five members of Utah's congressional delegation urged Utahns to vote for the Olympics referendum on Nov. 7.

Their pleas came during what had been billed only as a luncheon for them to hear an update on activities of the Olympics for Utah Committee.But after committee member Hal Christensen said he worried that Olympics supporters might not vote in the special election while he is sure opinionated opponents will, the delegation took turns before the news media begging voters to support the cause.

"It is imperative that this referendum pass," said Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah. "There's no doubt in my mind at all that the $55 million (for facilities and improvements) will be recovered easily."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, added, "I urge all Utahns to get out and vote for that. . .. It means very much to our state. I can't imagine anyone who would vote against it." He even grabbed an extra Utah Olympics T-shirt to give to President Bush, whom he was scheduled to meet immediately afterward.

Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, said, "I think it will pass. I think Utahns will take the little bit of a gamble."

Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, said the Olympics can put Utah on the map. "Lake Placid, N.Y., and Squaw Valley, Calif., have been put on the map primarily because of Olympics competition. Sapporo, Japan, was not known hardly at all internationally until it had the Olympics."

Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, said, "I am convinced absolutely that it is good for Utah, good for Utah's environment just as well as it is for Utah's economy." He said soils studies at competing sites in Switzerland and Japan show Utah is actually the more environmentally sound place to hold the Olympics.

Owens also added a few Olympics puns, saying, "This is an opportunity we can't afford to luge. And we will get enormous lift to our economy, and it's all downhill for our economy once the Olympics come."

Garn was especially adamant because of his experience as Salt Lake mayor seeking the international 1976 Olympics bid after voters in Denver had turned down an Olympics referendum there.

"After that, the International Olympics Committee didn't want anything to do with the United States," he said. "Denver voters not only hurt their own community, they hurt the whole country."

Garn and Hatch said even if the state does not receive the international bid for the 1998 Olympics - which the IOC will decide in June 1991 - they said Utah will still greatly benefit from the facilities that will be built and will become a primary winter sports training site in the Western Hemisphere.

Patrick Shea, with the committee, said that is already helping ski resorts and hotels attract more attention and more business.

One of the few negative notes in the meeting came from Nielson, who urged the committee to work harder to assure Utah County it will have a prominent role in the Olympics.

"I do think you need to do more missionary work in the Utah County area, because that's where I've been hearing most of the negative stuff," he said. Shea assured him the committee is working hard there and that Utah County will have a role in the Olympics.