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Hooray for Pat Shea, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, for taking his campaign on the road (Deseret News, July 27). I know that candidates are visible in parades and at festivals during an election, but not many candidates are willing to go around the state and hang out to meet people.

There are so many issues today, from health care and crime to grazing fees and Haiti, that voters want to discuss. They want to hear where candidates stand. Any candidate willing to meet face to face with Utahns in order to hear what citizens have to say and in order to state a position is deserving of our support.The comments made by Sen. Orrin Hatch's campaign manager, Charlie Evans, that if Shea doesn't lighten up on his rhetoric, Hatch will not debate, do a disservice to voters. If Hatch will not debate, how are we to know what our choices are in November? According to Evans, Hatch's strategy is going to be to remind Utahns of what Hatch has done for the state and run lots of paid advertising. This is a convenient way for Hatch to avoid the really tough questions and to merely puff about his record.

I get the impression from Evans' remarks that Hatch is annoyed that he is being challenged for his Senate seat and that his campaign is going to punish his rival for any negative remarks about the senator by refusing to debate. In other words, if Pat Shea elects to begin airing some tough issues now, Hatch will avoid discussion of tough issues in debates later on. Hatch, who has been in office for 18 years, has a long record. He should not be afraid to defend it. Utahns deserve that much.

Julie Mason

Salt Lake City