When the Utah Legislature was considering reapportionment to balance congressional districts in accordance with 1990 Census data, several proposals suggested that the 2nd Congressional District be configured to include a portion of rural Utah.
This would have made the 2nd District more comparable with Utah's other two districts. District 1 represented by Jim Hansen includes urbanized Ogden plus northern and southwestern Utah and District 3 included Provo-Orem and south Salt Lake County plus eastern and southeastern Utah.Rep. Wayne Owens, who was then representing the 2nd District, opposed the idea of including some of rural Utah in his district. He referred to the idea as "blatant partisan gerrymandering."
Owens was fearful of being forced to represent a rural constituency because he knew that many rural voters were offended by his radical environmentalism and his fiscally and philosophically liberal political views.
In the recent Democratic primary election, challenger Douglas Anderson won 19 of Utah's 29 counties. This is dramatic evidence that even among Democratic voters in rural Utah, Owens is not viewed as representing their interests.
A Utah senator represents the entire state, including urban and rural areas. Owens is rejected by all rural Republican voters and by the majority of rural Democratic voters. How could such a man, who quaked at the prospect of representing a rural constituency, presume to be a Utah senator?
While desperately attempting to protect his secure Salt Lake County congressional district, Owens said, "They (The Utah Legislature) should leave me as an urban congressman and the public should insist on it." I think Utahns should remember Owens' admonition that he be left in an urban area. In fact, as he requested, we should insist on it.