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GOP FOE SAYS BARLOW ISN’T CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH

SHARE GOP FOE SAYS BARLOW ISN’T CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH

Will 1990 be an election year of great change in the Legislature, or will the status quo continue?

A yardstick of change may be seen in state Senate District 22 where 38-year legislative veteran Haven Barlow is being challenged by fellow Republican Don Sperry Redd. District 22 is central Davis County, including Centerville north to East Layton and much of Layton.Each of the 75 House and 15 Senate races this year is different, of course. But Redd's challenge of Barlow within the Republican Party is a classic example of the new face seeking to replace the well-known, the upstart against the old guard. If Barlow is replaced by Republicans this year, longtime lawmakers will feel the shock wave of unrest.

Barlow can't remember the last time he was challenged by a fellow Republican - "at least not in the last 30 years." He usually has a Democratic opponent, but he beat his last one in 1986 with 62 percent of the vote. Thus, Barlow has become a Senate institution with little worry about re-election.

This year is different.

Davis County politics are conservative, and Redd - a former Farmington City Council member and county prosecutor - says he's more of a conservative than Barlow. "It's really a case of a man just being there too long - and becoming an advocate for special-interest groups," says Redd.

Barlow served in the Utah House from 1952 through 1956. In 1956 he was elected to the state Senate, where he has won four-year terms ever since. Barlow is by far the longest-serving senator.

"Have I been here too long? It's a question of perception. If 38 years is too long, why isn't 34 years too long, and four years ago I won by one of my highest percentages ever. So it appears to me the voters don't think I've been here too long." At 68 years old, Barlow is junior in age to half a dozen older senators. "I'm in good health. It's a privilege to serve, and I enjoy doing it."

Barlow has held just about every powerful position in the upper body, including being president for two terms. He's long been the public education budget chairman in the Senate, a position that Redd says has allowed Barlow to become a champion of Utah Education Association causes.

"In the last session, when the UEA wanted the pay raise, Haven sponsored it, and the UEA lobbyist Paul Rogers (a former state senator) was at Haven's arm, on the floor, during the debate making sure it went UEA's way," says Redd."If the UEA supports me, it's because teachers know I support public education - not the UEA, public education - and they're frightened of Redd and his untried ideas," Barlow said. He adds that he's been at odds with the teacher union on a number of issues. "I'm my own man, not beholden to any special interest groups."

"I'm not against education," said Redd, "although the UEA is trying to paint me as such. I'm for a change in how we handle education, and the union is against any change in the status quo. Their answer is to just pump more money into the current system."

Dee Burningham, government affairs director for the UEA, said, "Redd must learn he's running against Haven Barlow, not the UEA. Haven will get our support because he's done fine things for education over the years, but more importantly he's been a tremendous legislator for his Davis County constituents."

Redd wants a partial voucher system were the parents of each school-age child would get a voucher valued at half of the state's per-pupil funding. The school the child would normally attend would get 50 percent of the state money regardless of where the child goes to school. But the rest - the 50 percent voucher - would go to whichever school the parents enrolled the child, either another public school or a private school.

"This puts competition into the system and reduces class size, since I figure 10 percent to 25 percent of students would go to private schools. Competition and lower class size can only result in better public schools and better teachers. But Haven and the UEA don't want competition," Redd claims.

"I'm for competition, always have been," says Barlow. No voucher system has ever worked statewide in any state - even states that have a lot more money per pupil than Utah. "We don't have enough money for public education now. He wants to give half of it to private schools? And would we give public monies to private schools and not demand some control over curriculum or standards? We do have to shift emphasis toward vocational education - job training - in our high schools and we're doing it, carefully."

In 1988, Redd lost the GOP nomination - which is tantamount to election in conservative Davis County - in House District 17 to Rep. Walt Bain. Redd says his 1988 defeat came, in part, because of the UEA's support of Bain. "I debated running against Walt again. But I decided I could make a greater impact in the Senate than the House. And if I was going to fight the UEA again, I might as well take them on on their front doorstep - and that's Haven Barlow." Bain defeated Redd in the GOP primary by 77 votes out of 3,457 cast, just 2.2 percent.

"I take this race seriously," adds Barlow. "Redd's not a patsy. Anytime you run against an attorney you have to work extra hard."