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GOP CANDIDATES FOR 2ND DISTRICT FIND FEW ISSUES TO DISAGREE ABOUT

According to the dictionary, a chorus is a group of people trained to speak or sing something together. Which just about describes the field of five Republican candidates for the 2nd Congressional District.

"I think it's understandable there would not be a lot of disagreement among this group," said H. Craig Moody, one of two as-yet-unannounced candidates who participated in a debate Monday, sponsored by the Republican Women of Salt Lake.The debate, the first Republican debate with all GOP candidates for the seat now held by Rep. Wayne Owens, featured Olene Walker, a former state lawmaker and director of the Division of Community Development; Enid Greene, an aide to Gov. Norm Bangerter; Jerrold Jensen, a state representative and former congressional aide; James Bartleson, a teacher and expert on the Constitution; and Moody, the current Speaker of the Utah House.

What do they have in common?

Each believes educational issues should be left to local jurisdictions. Each is opposed to socialized medicine but agrees changes in the current system must be made. And each believes one of the most serious problems facing America is the federal deficit.

About the only thing they disagree on is who is better equipped to beat state Sen. Karen Shepherd, D-Salt Lake, the likely Democratic opponent (Owens is running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jake Garn, R-Utah).

So what did they have to say? According to Greene, "Congress has failed us. Not the system, but the people." She argued for fundamental change in the way Congress tackles the federal deficit and for an approach to education that reinstitutes competition into the system.

To Bartleson, the issue of the campaign is to "bring the power of the people back to the people," adding that the rules by which Congress plays must be changed and that he is the man to institute those changes.

Jensen argued for a limited federal government, noting the "day has passed when the federal government can be everything to all people." And the time has come to "stop criticizing liberals and come up with programs of our own."

Walker believes she is the one who can make the greatest difference, including the "tough, tough decisions" that will get the budget back in balance in the next 10 years.

"It's got to be balanced and we've got to do it now," she said. "Every program at the federal level has to be looked at."

Moody is a firm believer that one person can make a difference, "and I believe I can make a difference. I have the track record." He would start by capping federal growth by 5 percent a year and making gradual, but necessary, cuts in defense.

And when it comes to government perks, "It's time we set the example. How would we look at it if we had to pay those expenses out of our own pocket?"

More debates are scheduled. Greene will formally announce her candidacy Thursday, and Moody will announce in late March.