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In his recent letter (Forum, Aug. 19), Matt Asay would have us believe that Bill Orton, who has a 100 percent Right-to-Life ranking, a 100 percent voting record with the National Rifle Association and has consistently earned awards from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business for his support of Utah's small businesses, is a liberal Democrat.

I don't think so, and more importantly, Utahns in his congressional district know better. Dixie Thompson, and her supporter, Mr. Asay, are simply falling into the same trap others have landed in when running against Orton. You damage your creditability when you say Orton is a liberal Democrat. It just isn't so.Orton has earned a great deal of respect from his colleagues in the House of Representatives and his voters in Utah because he studies each issue and votes the way that is best for his district, regardless of which side of the political fence that puts him on. And, contrary to Mr. Asay's assertion that this willingness to seriously study bills and their impact on Utah leaves one without a party, in reality it actually leaves Orton in a position to effect changes and help build coalitions within the conservative branch of his party. This gives him power that he's used very effectively. Just recently, for example, he was successful in using this power to bring about important, permanent changes in how the House deals with deficit reduction and budgeting.

If we want to talk about lack of power and influence in Congress, one might question the power Dixie Thompson would have in the House of Representatives. She's already said she will say no to just about everything. An attitude like that will leave her a minority within a minority. How effective will that be?

Joel Dickerson