Gov. Mike Leavitt had a decision to make this election: Just how much time, credibility and interest should he pay to Jim Bradley.

Bradley, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, started way behind in the polls and hasn't gained much. Leavitt had $1 million in his campaign account and 80 percent job-approval ratings. Bradley had some name identification by voters, almost no money and was at one time 60 points down in the polls.Leavitt decided to pay some attention to Bradley - debated him a dozen times around the state - but not as much as he paid to his opponents in 1992.

Bradley sought, meanwhile, to try to make Leavitt accountable for some of the past four years. He called for "some kind of investigation" into Leavitt's connection to a state investigation of a trout disease that claimed the Leavitt family fish farm in central Utah.

He tried to thump the governor over transportation problems along the Wasatch Front.

Meanwhile, Leavitt wanted to talk about how good things have been in Utah during the 1990s and some of his plans for the next four years.

While the two do have some differences on the issues, Bradley's main complaint is that hundreds of millions of dollars in state surpluses have been "wasted" over the past four years through "government as usual" spending. A great opportunity to really "invest in the future" has been lost, says Bradley. Leavitt's attempt to lead-through-consensus and not take any political risks is a real disappointment, says Bradley.

Leavitt disagrees.

About $250 million in tax cuts have come since 1992, all while class size in public schools has been reduced, the 2002 Olympics bid was acquired and plans laid for $3.5 billion in road work over the next 10 years, says Leavitt.

To go beyond the men's campaign advertisements, the Deseret News asked each to answer several questions, and to ask two questions of each other.

Leavitt and Bradley, besides answering Deseret News questions (see table), also answered a detailed questionnaire put out by Project Vote Smart, a national political education group. Leavitt's and Bradley's answers can be seen in their entirety on the Internet site: (http://www.vote-smart.org).

Here are some of the differences on the questionnaire:

Abortion - Leavitt says abortions should be legal if the pregnancy results from rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger. Bradley approves of abortions in all circumstances within the first trimester of pregnancy.

Affirmative action - Leavitt says that sexual orientation (gay, lesbian or bisexual) should not be included in any nondiscrimination laws. Bradley says homosexuals should be covered under non-discrimination laws.

Balanced budget amendment - Leavitt supports a federal balanced budget amendment, Bradley does not.

Block grants - Bradley supports federal block grants coming to the states for agriculture, education, environment, farm subsidies, food stamps, housing, law enforcement, Medicaid, school lunches and welfare. Leavitt agrees with most of those, but says he's undecided if states should get block grants for agriculture and farm subsidies.

Crime - The two agree on several solutions. Both want to limit the number of appeals allowed inmates on death row, expand funding for community policing and prosecute youths accused of murder as adults. They also favor increasing funding for Boys and Girls Clubs and other independent organizations that help at-risk kids. But Leavitt also favors increased spending on building prisons and Bradley favors helping drug and alcohol treatment centers.

Education - Bradley says maintain the national "Goals 2000" goals, Leavitt doesn't favor that. Leavitt wants to give parents vouchers so kids can attend any public school of their choice, Bradley opposes that. Leavitt likes charter schools and allowing voluntary prayer or a moment of silence in public schools. Bradley didn't check that option. They both want to reduce class size and increase teacher pay.

Environment - Leavitt believes federal range lands should be transferred to state control. Bradley doesn't. Both want to increase state park budgets. Leavitt wants to change the Endangered Species Act to limit the number of species that can be declared endangered. Bradley doesn't support that.

Family issues - Bradley wants to increase funding for programs aimed at reducing teen pregnancy. Leavitt opposes that. Leavitt wants to revoke state licenses of people who don't pay child support. Bradley doesn't favor that. Both want more programs aimed at stopping kids from smoking and at collecting delinquent child support payments. Both support tax credits for businesses who provide employee child care.

Guns - Both agree on all issues listed.

Health care - They also agree on a number of these issues. However, Leavitt wants to put limits on medical malpractice awards and says government shouldn't guarantee health care for everyone.

Illegal drugs - Both want to increase penalties for selling illegal drugs. Leavitt also favors mandatory jail sentences for people convicted of selling drugs near schools. Both say there should be required drug testing for key state employees, such as mass-transit workers and state police.

The homeless - Both want to increase state funding for homeless shelters and low-income housing projects. Bradley wants to increase the minimum wage, Leavitt doesn't. Bradley wants to give homeless families apartment vouchers, Leavitt doesn't. Both want to increase income-tax deductions for charity giving to help the homeless and favor enterprise zones in areas of high unemployment.

Taxes - Leavitt wants to slightly decrease the capital gains tax, Bradley wants to greatly reduce the tax. Both want to slightly increase the cigarette tax.

Term limits - Both favor term limits.

Welfare - Both say welfare recipients should be required to accept some kind of job after two years and that unwed welfare teenage mothers should be required to live with their parents (if possible) and attend school. Leavitt thinks welfare should be limited for women who have additional children while on welfare, Bradley doesn't. Both think child care should be provided to welfare parents who attend school or work. And both want incentives to employers who hire welfare recipients. Leavitt would also require welfare mothers to identify their children's father, Bradley doesn't favor that requirement.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Governor

What is the main issue facing Utah state government and how would you address it?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

We must maintain Utah's exceptional quality of life as we grow. We must expand and upgrade our highways, preserve scenic, recreational, and agricultural open space and protect our environment, build our education system by individualized student attention and increased parental involvement. We'll continue to reform health care and welfare and empower local governments.

JIM BRADLEY (D):

My top priority is management of growth. This election is about leadership, and leadership requires rapid growth. Top on growth issues' list are transportation, affordable housing, high-wage jobs and public safety.

Do you favor or oppose President Clinton's 1.7 million acre national monument? What amount of wilderness should Congress adopt for Utah?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

Two years ago I proposed a solution that would protect scenic splendor of the Escalante Canyons, but also preserve (the area's) economic benefits. That proposal was a cooperative effort. In direct contrast to our collaborative efforts (Clinton) used the Antiquities Act to protect the land, but he ignored its energy assets and abandoned the democratic process.

While Congress and state leaders have struggled for 19 years (over how much wilderness to adopt), we haven't built consensus. I've introduced a new strategy, calling for all sides to come together and designate wilderness on a region by region basis.

JIM BRADLEY (D):

I favor the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The Utah (congressional) delegation's intransigent stance paralyzed efforts to protect this unique area.

I support 3.2 million acres of wilderness. In addition, I will work to place 2.5 million (more) acres which possess unique wilderness characteristics into wilderness study for further consideration.

Why should Utah voters pick you instead of your opponent?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

My first term accomplishments and my goals for the future are my best qualifications for re-election. We've cut sales, property and income taxes by $250 million. We're fighting crime and fixing freeways. We have reduced class sizes, improved teacher salaries. We've turned welfare into an employment program, extended health insurance opportunities and preserved open space. During my second term I'll continue current initiatives, launch new ones to protect our quality of life.

JIM BRADLEY (D):

Utah needs a leader with courage and vision. My four years as chairman of the Salt Lake County Commission prove my ability to mediate between people of widely differing needs and opinions, to lead the way toward solutions that manage growth, not just accommodate it, and make hard decisions. As manager of the largest local government budget in the state, I proved my ability to combine fiscal responsibility with the needs of the organizations essential for the cultural, social and economic vitality of Utah. I'm the leader Utah needs.

In the next four years would you ever support a tax increase? If so, which tax and for what purpose?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

A significant accomplishment of my first term is the unprecedented 10-year transportation plan. It mixes general funds, federal dollars, bonding revenues, gas-tax indexing and savings. The gas tax will be indexed. Current projections indicate that will be about a penny per gallon per year.

JIM BRADLEY (D):

It's appropriate to use the gas tax to rebuild our highways. Funding for highway upgrades should come first from the general fund, then from increased gasoline tax as needed to make up the difference.

What taxes, if any, do you want cut over the next four years and why?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

During my first term in office, Utahns enjoyed the largest tax cuts in state history. However, I cannot currently project what cuts will be possible in the future.

JIM BRADLEY (D):

Sales taxes on groceries are a burden for all fixed- and low-income people. Grocery store sales taxes should be lowered or eliminated. Property taxes should be frozen on homes owned and occupied by senior citizens or people on Social Security.

Should churches, local govern-ments, private businesses that cater to the public, or school districts be able to ban guns from their facilities?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

The constitutional right to bear arms should be weighed against private property rights. Churches and other private property owners have the constitutional right to keep guns off their property. Concealed weapons have no place in our schools. Utah's concealed weapons law needs clarification to ensure public safety in schools, churches and private businesses.

JIM BRADLEY (D):

Yes to all questions here. (Churches, local governments, schools and private businesses should be able to ban guns from their facilities).

Should the state approve tougher abortion laws, even if those laws are challenged in court? Should Utah keep its current death-penalty law? What about refusing to recognize same-sex marriages?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

Utah should and does have the strictest abortion laws in the country. I've worked to defend our strict laws while minimizing legal costs. I support the death penalty law in Utah. I believe the definition of marriage is a legal union between one man and one woman. That's Utah law. I support our current law that recognizes marriages in other states only if they meet legal Utah requirements.

JIM BRADLEY (D):

I believe that no useful purpose is served using taxpayer money to defend these (abortion) lawsuits. A woman's decision regarding childbirth should be made between her and significant persons in her life such as the father, clergy or doctor. I believe the state should keep its current death penalty law. IBM recognizes same-sex partnerships. There is clearly room for disagreement among respected institutions on this issue. I believe that the government should interfere as little as possible in personal life decisions.

Bradley's question for Leavitt: Mike, you have stated the firing of Wildlife Resources professionals was on the advice of a consultant hired by the department head. You have also stated your brother was appointed to the state fisheries board by (board) members, and that you did not influence that appointment. What leadership do you think the governor should exhibit in cases like these?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

The premise of your question is wrong. According to the Department of Natural Resources, no one was fired in the state Division of Wildlife Services as a result of the organization. Regarding my philosophy of management, I hire directors with expertise in their fields and excellent management skills so they can show strong leadership. Today, the division is solvent and broad improvements have been made. Regarding board appointments, I'm responsible for some 1,700 appointments. I work hard to identify the best possible candidates. There are many other appointments I do not and cannot control, and cannot attempt to influence.

Leavitt's question for Bradley: Jim, what specifically is your proposal to fix Utah roads, on what timetable and what is your financing plan?

JIM BRADLEY (D):

This is a complex question requiring a complex answer. Suffice to say that 12 years of Republican governors and 20 years of Republican legislatures without vision to be involved in long-range planning and the courage to implement timely funding strategies have placed all Utahns at a serious disadvantage.

Bradley's question for Leavitt: The state is defending the Department of Child and Family Services against lawsuits filed as a result of the deaths of 10 children since 1993 and continued endangerment of children in the DCFS system. Shouldn't you lead the way to restructuring priorities within the department using those legal fees to hire trained case workers?

MIKE LEAVITT (R):

When I took office the restructuring of the Division of Child and Family Services became one of the highest priorities of my administration. We're rebuilding the division top to bottom with one goal in mind: to better protect at-risk children. I've brought in new leadership, more than $60 million (in additional money) and hired 270 additional case workers. We've made enormous progress in recruiting and training new foster parents.

Leavitt's question for Bradley: Over the last four years we have dramatically aided education while encouraging local control. What specific initiatives would you undertake beyond (what we've done) to improve public education?

JIM BRADLEY (D):

While the Leavitt administration has funded education in these plentiful tax-revenue years, what are the plans to sustain adequate funding for the long term? We must look at alternatives such as private school development and re-evaluate the state policy of offering tax exemptions for all dependents.