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Steve Thompson answers Deseret Morning News questionnaire

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1st Congressional District

Deseret Morning News

Democrat challenger Steve Thompson

1. What is the major issue facing the 1st District today and how would you deal with it?

As your congressman, I will focus on job creation and retention, maintaining the great-paying jobs we have — Hill Air Force Base, for example — and creating living wage jobs through investment in small business is critical. I will work to increase federal funding for research and technology transfer at our University's Innovation Campuses. Transferring technology to the private sector is key to our economic future and will create new high-paying jobs for Utah families.

2. Do you favor or oppose a U.S. constitutional amendment that would define marriage between a man and a woman? If yes, why? If no, why?

I support the traditional definition of marriage. However, I would not support amending the Constitution of the United States to discriminate against any class of Americans.

3. Do you favor or oppose allowing U.S. citizens to buy prescription drugs from other countries, like Canada? If not, what can be done to quickly reduce the cost of prescription medicine in the United States?

Favor. I will sponsor legislation enabling American consumers to buy prescription medications from Canada and other countries where prices are between 30-80 percent lower than in the United States.

4. How much longer should U.S. troops be in Iraq?

I would listen to our generals and not suppose that I know the answer because I do not know the dynamics of the situation in Iraq. However, we cannot allow the Iraq situation to become a war controlled by politicians.

At this time, do you favor or oppose spending as much money as President Bush requests on the Iraqi war?

We should spend more. We must support our troops with the equipment and manpower necessary to do their job. The language of the terrorist insurgents is death and destruction. We should speak their language and deal with them proactively and aggressively. Then get our troops out of harm's way.

5. Do you favor or oppose the United States remaining a member of the United Nations?

Favor.

6. As gasoline prices continue to rise in the United States, do you favor or oppose releasing some of the federal government's huge oil reserves in an attempt to drive down gas prices?

Favor. High oil prices are the result of world demand in the market — mainly from China. Even as supplies increase, we are going to see demand outpace supplies, resulting in higher fuel prices. We must get away from carbon-based energy and encourage development of "green" energy. Development and use of "green" renewable energies will create good-paying jobs at home, cleaner air and cleaner water.

7. The United States is now running huge budget deficits. How would you deal with this problem? Do you favor or oppose making the Bush tax cuts permanent? If so, how do you reconcile giving more tax cuts as the deficit just grows larger?

Oppose. I believe taxes should be fair and would welcome a discussion around a "flat tax." We simply must decrease government spending. In the last three years, discretionary spending by Congress (pork) has increased 39percent. I would join Sen. McCain and Rep. Flake, as well as other likeminded members of Congress, to freeze and cut discretionary spending. This won't happen overnight, but I believe we can formulate a plan to reduce spending significantly over a four-year period.

8. As you know, having Hill A.F.B. closed would be a significant blow to Utah's economy, especially in the 1st District. What will you specifically do to help keep the base open?

Hill is a vital employer for the state and the first district. Jim Hansen has provided the leadership to maintain the base. We must leapfrog over today's technology and bring tomorrow's high-tech systems to the base, making Hill a base that is vital to our national defense.

9. Wilderness has become the black hole of Utah/federal politics. While a few state holdings have been traded out for other federal lands which can now be developed, what will you do to move the wilderness issue forward?

I will propose a wilderness summit and bring all parties together to share their vision for our state and through the open sharing of ideas, arrive at a plan to consolidate our trust lands to identify both wilderness and developable areas.

10. Do you favor or oppose No Child Left Behind? If you don't favor it, would you support plain repeal? Short of that, how can it be fixed?

Oppose. The federal government is unwilling to fully fund this program. I also have a problem with the federal government forcing us into a program that is unworkable. I believe our educators know that we can do better and know best what to do to raise the level of education in Utah.

11. Should high-level nuclear waste be stored in Skull Valley? Why or why not?

Absolutely not! I don't believe Utah should be the dumping ground for higher level radioactive waste from Ohio, New York or anywhere else. The same could be said for any nuclear byproduct, whether created by research or the government. I will do everything in my power to fight against any temporary storage of nuclear waste anywhere in Utah. If the government or any state can easily dispose of radioactive waste, then we never get to the root of the problem. Our state and others, by refusing to store this waste, will force a national dialogue and encourage federally funded programs to recycle and/or deal with this very "hot" issue. As your Congressmember, I will propose legislation to open a federal dialogue to deal with this critical issue.

12. Should the types of waste Envirocare receives be reduced or expanded? Reclassified? Or is what they receive fine and nothing about their business should change?

There is a place for businesses such as Envirocare. However, the key phrase in this equation is "low level radioactive waste." To allow higher levels of radioactive waste storage at Envirocare or anywhere in Utah is wrong, and I stand with other elected leaders, both Republican and Democrat (except my opponent Rob Bishop), to prevent storage of higher level radioactive waste in Utah.

13. The 1st Congressional District is expansive and includes a mix of rural and urban constituents. Do those two groups have conflicting needs from their federal representatives, and if so, how can those conflicts be balanced?

Yes, of course they have different needs and concerns. But they also have a lot in common. The way to balance these needs is through open and honest dialogue between representatives of each area of concern. It has been my experience through serving on the Logan City Council, that by listening and being accessible to all parties, I have been able to facilitate these types of discussions in a spirit of compromise.

14. Two universities are within the 1st District. Are there ways in which you, if elected, can help institutions, faculty or students of higher education?

Many of our future jobs will come through research at our universities. I will fight to increase funding to our universities and their innovation campuses. Utah State has had great success in transferring research into the private sector thus creating living-wage jobs for Utah families. I will work for increased funding through Pell grants as well as encouraging tax-free savings accounts for education.

15. A ban on some types of assault weapons recently expired. Does the ban's expiration increase the threat of gun violence or deaths, or was it ineffective even when in place? Should there be a ban on certain types of guns or restrictions on gun ownership and possession?

I believe the ban on assault weapons was ineffective and should have expired. I favor a dialogue on certain types of guns as well as restrictions. I am a Second Amendment supporter. However, I do not believe guns belong in churches or schools.

16. There is no federal term-limit law for congressmen. Are you willing to say now that you will limit your own terms in the U.S. House? If so, how long before you not seek re-election?

Yes. I would not seek reelection after 12 years.

17. What, if anything, does your campaign funding say about your candidacy?

My campaign, by any standard, is seriously underfunded. Because of this, we've been creative in getting our message out using personal contact and new media as methods to achieve this goal. We have relied heavily on our Web site (www.stevethompsonforutah.com) to explain how I stand on the issues, define my experience and introduce myself on a personal level. Our campaign has offered a cash scholarship and a computer as an award for a coloring contest for children ages 4-12. This contest was used to promote my stance on education with the state. We've also sponsored a film festival for high school and college age youth to get their "creative juices" flowing on political issues. I have sponsored "Family Empowerment" seminars free to the public throughout the district to aid families in learning to build their communication skills and avoid future problems down the road. I have walked neighborhoods in the district since July and have personally met the citizens of Utah and listened to their concerns.

18. What is the one personal trait/characteristic that you want voters to know about you, and why is that important in this race?

I'm fair. I believe that government should be held to a higher standard when it comes to following the rules that they have created. Many times government does things to us because they can.

19. Why are you the better candidate and the better person to represent the 1st Congressional District?

I have demonstrated through my service on the Logan City Council that I am accessible and responsive, that I always represent the constituent and never hide behind a desk.

20. The above questions are to find out why voters should elect you. Can you give us one or more reasons why voters should not vote for your opponent? For example, does he lack experience, education, vision, have conflicts of interest, not represent the views of the district, does not have the best interests of the district in mind, etc.?

One of the very first things that Rob Bishop did to us here in Utah was behind closed doors. He attempted to slip "hotter" radioactive waste into our state. Bishop, a former lobbyist for Envirocare, sent a letter to our congressional delegation, encouraging them to join him in this act. For this reason alone, Rob Bishop should be sent home to Brigham City. I, on the other hand, will stand up for the health and safety of the citizens of Utah. I will oppose nuclear testing in Nevada and fight to keep "hotter" radioactive waste out of our state. When elected, I will also force a national discussion on radioactive waste storage issues. My record in public service proves that I will stand up for the rights of the citizens in Utah.