3rd Congressional District
Deseret Morning News
Democrat challenger Beau Babka
1. What is the major issue facing Utah today, and how would you deal with it?
When looking to find the single most important issue that Utah faces in this election, there are obviously many issues that need to be addressed. The need for tighter border security and homeland defense, responsible health care, control of nuclear proliferation, greenhouse gases, and while the list is long, I plan to focus on them all. But these are all national issues. I think that the major issue facing Utah in this election is our children's educational needs. With overcrowding in schools and a shortage of teachers, we need to take a look at what the federal government can do to help. With the current state of the No Child Left Behind Act, un-funded mandates and overemphasis on administrators and testing prohibit this act from doing what it needs to help our children achieve in school. We must overhaul the plan and get money to teachers and into the classrooms where we need it most.
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?
On the issue of a federal amendment to the Constitution, aside from the fact that it is simply a state's rights issue, I deeply believe, as I hope any American should believe, that prejudice has no place in our Constitution. In this document's 200-plus years, it has seen a handful of amendments that were at the time popular sentiment but after later review were removed due to their inequitable meanings. America has worked very hard to remove discrimination from the Constitution, and I see no reason to change that policy now.
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 medicines in the United States?
One of the fundamental principles of capitalism is the free flow of goods and the right of consumers to be able to choose the best price. With the prescription drug prices as they are, many Americans are forced to choose between buying groceries and buying their prescriptions. If there are safe alternatives that come from across the border, Americans should have the right to purchase them. This must be done in a responsible fashion through an FDA-regulated list of known drug producers and distributors. The drugs imported from Canada are the same drugs we buy here. Why should Americans be punished by American drug companies for being American?
4. How much longer should U.S. troops be in Iraq? At this time, do you favor or oppose spending as much money as President Bush requests on the Iraqi war?
The present situation in Iraq looms heavily on the hearts and minds of all Utahns and indeed all Americans. This is a question with few easy answers. When the question is asked, "How much longer should U.S. troops be in Iraq?" I think the answer is obvious . . . until there is stability in the region. To achieve this, we will need a stronger showing from the other members of the United Nations. We will also need the proper funding to fight this war in a smarter and more effective way. For this to happen, I would support the current budget request President Bush has set forth, but the money must be spent in a way that would be to the benefit of our troops. We must curtail the money that is currently hemorrhaging from the budget to no-bid contracts and use these funds to protect our soldiers through better equipment, better training and readying the Iraqi army and police to ultimately shoulder the burden.
5. Do you favor or oppose the United States remaining a member of the United Nations?
The United Nations has long served as a way for the world to meet in a forum of peace and cooperation. With the countless benefits that the United Nations provides, through their humanitarian efforts and international aid, I feel that the United States should not only remain a member of the United Nations, we should strive to redeem our reputation within this community.
6. As gasoline prices continue to rise in the U.S., do you favor or oppose releasing some of the federal government's oil reserves in an attempt to drive down gas prices?
I do not feel that by releasing some of the national oil reserve, that our gasoline prices would go down, let alone be solved. There simply would not be enough oil released from the reserves to show even a marginal decrease in prices; it would simply be a drop in the barrel. The United States must focus efforts on alternate fuel technologies to reduce our dependency on OPEC.
7. The U.S. 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?
The most effective way that tax cuts could stimulate the economy would be by reducing the burden that small-business owners feel. With the stimulation that this would cause, small business would be in a better position to expand their operations and ultimately hire more employees. With this relief, more Americans are put to work. And with the creation of these new jobs the income tax that is collected would help to reduce the federal deficit far better than giving unneeded tax breaks to large corporations.
8. What is the one personal trait/characteristic that you want voters to know about you, and why is that important in this race?
I want the people of the 3rd District and certainly the state of Utah to know that I am a man of integrity and honesty. Over my long career as a police officer, these traits are what have made me the person that I am today. With these traits I plan to bring Utah's best interests to Washington and give a voice back to Utahns, a voice that has been long hidden behind party politics and broken promises.
9. As you know, having Hill Air Force Base closed would be a great blow to Utah's economy. What will you do specifically to help keep the base open?
By any means necessary. Members of Congress and the Senate from Utah, regardless of political party, need to project a solid front against any piece of legislation that could possibly harm Utah as severely as a Hill Air Force Base closure.
10. Wilderness has become the black hole of Utah/federal politics. While a few state in-holdings have been traded out for other federal lands which can now be developed, what will you do to move the wilderness issue forward?
This state was blessed with some of the most diverse and beautiful wilderness areas in the nation. From the red rock deserts to the peaks of the Uintas, we find ourselves living amidst a national treasure. But the fact of the matter is, Utah is growing, and we must prepare to meet the needs: Development is inevitable. But we must take a long, hard look at the lands we are thinking of giving up and try to decide if our children's lives would be less enriched without these areas. Research and pulling information from experts without political agendas and community leaders seem to be the best way of finding a reasonable balance in environmental protection and economic development.
11. Do you favor or oppose No Child Left Behind? If you don't favor it, would you support plain repeal, or short of that how can it be fixed?
As a professor and a father, education is of great importance to me. Though the heart of the No Child Left Behind Act does seek to advance the educational requirements of America's school system, it is lacking. The lack of federal funding is one of the factors that is preventing this act from reaching its full potential. With the current implementation of No Child Left Behind, teachers are forced to cater to stringent standardized tests, rather than paying attention to the needs of their students. This act also creates the need for more administration; that, in turn, pulls money away from teachers, students and classrooms.
12. There are no federal term limit laws 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 would retire and not seek re-election?
Though there currently is no congressional term limit law, I do feel that the basic ideal of the Congress is its fluidity. Simply put, every now and then a shakeup is good. And while there is no term limit, many Utah legislators have made promises to limit their terms but, over several election cycles, have yet to retire. I don't want to limit myself to one or two terms and then in course of my time in Congress realize that I have the ability to do more for the people of Utah. I want to have the time to do what is needed, but I do not want to be a lifetime congressman; but rather than retire, who knows? There may just be the possibility of a Senate run.
13. The above questions are aimed at finding out where you stand; why voters should pick you. Can you give us one (or more) reasons why voters should not pick your opponent? For example, does he lack experience, education, vision, does he bring conflicts of interest or is he too closely associated with a minority wing of your party, is he more likely to lose in the final election, etc.?
The best way for me to describe my opponent's shortcomings is to take notice of what almost half of the Republicans voters in their primary felt: Chris Cannon is simply not representing Utah or the people of the 3rd District. He votes along the party lines seemingly without deviation. I will not do that. I want to be the voice of my constituents and not a puppet of my party.
16. Health-care costs are spiraling upward. How should Congress go about helping Utahns and Americans fix the system? Are health savings accounts the answer?
To answer the question of rising health-care costs I must first address the fact that an alarming number of Americans are without any type of health insurance. The federal government must help small businesses to shoulder some of their health-care needs so that all of their workers have coverage. Heath savings accounts would be a positive step forward to reduce the costs of health care.
17. What is your definition of the term amnesty as applied to illegal immigration?
Amnesty is most easily defined as a reward for breaking the law. It's a reward for the employers who have exploited immigrant workers, a reward for people who have been living and working illegally in America, a reward for the drug runners and coyotes who have the blood of desperate, impoverished people on their hands. Amnesty simply will not work.
18. What are the economic impacts of illegal immigration, good and bad, and what are your sources for your information?
Though most natives are more skilled and thus do not face significant job competition from immigrants, more than 10 million natives who lack a high school degree do face significant job competition from immigrants.
Illegal immigrants make it harder for people who wish to immigrate legally find employment at a reasonable wage.
The economic benefit to using "low-cost illegal workers" is negligible. Illegal immigrants don't pay taxes; therefore the community is not financially benefited by their employment, and the only economic benefits are seen by the companies that illegally employ them.
19. The nation does appear to be facing a coming shortage of workers. How should America deal with that? Is a program for recognizing illegal immigrants the right way to do it?
I would disagree with the notion that our nation is facing a shortage of workers. With the current unemployment rates, this country is full of workers, ready to work. The problem that we are facing is the jobs they need have been outsourced in the name of increasing corporate profits. We must stimulate the economy by producing jobs and getting America back to work.