2nd Congressional District
John Swallow, Republican:
1. What is the major issue facing Utah today and how would you deal with it?
Funding the state budget, including education, without overtaxing our residents is the major issue facing Utah today. As your congressman I will: (1) assist economic growth (jobs) by making the federal tax cuts permanent, (2) cut small business regulation, (3) streamline federal permitting process to open up responsible access to our natural resources, and (4) bring federal dollars to compensate Utah taxpayers for the loss of access to our natural resources. The solution to our budget problems is not to raise taxes but to create jobs and provide responsible access to our abundant natural resources. I will use my experience in government and in business to provide such access and create jobs.
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 favor a constitutional amendment because I believe it is the only way to keep our judges from redefining marriage as has been done in Massachusetts.
3. What is your stand on Amendment 3, which will be on the Utah ballot, which would amend the Utah Constitution to limit marriage between a man and a woman? Do you favor the second part of the amendment, which some legal experts, including Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, say is too restrictive and possibly has equal treatment concerns?
I plan on voting for Amendment 3 to protect marriage.
4. 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?
Favor, so long as the prescription drugs are safe.
5. 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?
I support President Bush and his plan for Iraq. I would like to see the U.S. pull our troops out by the end of 2005, but we need to stay committed to finishing the job for the stability of the region and the people of Iraq.
6. Do you favor or oppose the United States remaining a member of the United Nations?
I, like many Utahns, have serious concerns with the U.N. and its liberal agenda. However, the United States needs to stay involved in the world community and, today, the best forum for that involvement is the U.N. I support requiring countries like France and Russia to pay the same amount of dues as paid by the United States, and I, unlike my opponent who voted for funding of the international criminal court, do not support the international criminal court. I likewise oppose having our troops fight under current U.N. jurisdiction.
7. (A new question for the general election) Do you favor or oppose the McCain-Feingold changes to campaign finance law, and do you believe the so-called 527s should also have to abide by the same restrictions as traditional political action committees?
I support full disclosure of finances accrued throughout political campaigns; it is important that the behavior of public officials is clear and transparent so the voters know who's contributing. That being said I do not support the McCain-Feingold campaign finance in its entirety. An unintended consequence of McCain-Feingold was that while it de-funded the political parties (who traditionally mobilize and educate voters on wide-ranging policy subjects) it empowered outside special-interest groups who are beholden to no constituents. Like President Bush and Senator John McCain, I am worried that the 527s do and will exercise too much political power and without restraint could polarize our political climate. I would be willing to look at legal methods by which the FEC could regulate these groups. I also believe the new law violates 1st Amendment rights of speech.
8. 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?
We face deficits due to increased spending and a sluggish economy. I believe tax cuts have helped job creation, and I am optimistic about our near-term job outlook. My opponent both criticized, voted against and then ultimately caved in to pressure to support President Bush. He has also voted against making some of the tax cuts permanent. I would support making all the tax cuts permanent to encourage more job growth. I am an experienced tax cutter. I helped broker the compromise in 1997 that provided a $236 million tax cut for Utahns to largely offset the gas tax increase to fund I-15 reconstruction. I was named the Utah Taxpayer Advocate of the Year. In Congress I'll keep fighting to cut taxes. As far as the deficit goes, we need to do a better job at saying "no" to new programs and entitlement until we can afford them. My opponent voted for one program that increased spending a whopping $500,000,000,000 over 10 years — a vote that some say did a lot more for the big drug companies than it did for our seniors. Voters will be able to count on me to stand against unreasonable government spending.
9. What is the one personal trait/characteristic that you want voters to know about you, and why is that important in this race?
From a lifetime of experience growing up on a 600-acre farm, to becoming the first member of my family to graduate from college, winning four elections and holding Jim Matheson to 49.3 percent of the vote in 2002, I have learned tenacity. That tenacity has led me back into this race and has helped me break every fund-raising record in the books. That tenacity helped Reagan and Lincoln go on to win and do great things. It will help me to both win the election and to win the battles I'll be fighting for Utah in Congress.
10. 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?
Although Hill AFB is not in the 2nd District, I'll do everything in my power to keep it open because I feel that both our economy and national security depend upon it. I have a strong relationship with Jim Hansen, and I know how to listen and to work. I'll work closely with Jim Hansen and our delegation to support a viable plan to make Hill Air Force Base attractive to the base closure commission. I'll fight the Goshute Plan to bring in spent nuclear waste because that would cut into the unique training range Hill has to offer and hurt our chances of keeping the base.
11. Wilderness has become the black hole of Utah/federal politics. While a few state inholdings have been traded out for other federal lands which can now be developed, what will you do to move the wilderness issue forward?
In 1991 the BLM, after exhaustive study, proposed 1.9 million acres of wilderness, but Clinton wanted to designate 5 million acres. According to BLM studies, we don't have 5 million acres of legitimate wilderness in Utah or places where only people on foot can access. Because wilderness areas are truly unique, we should not have arbitrary quotas to be designated as wilderness. I also support a reasonable limit on the time Congress has to designate wilderness once an area has been proposed as a study area under the Wilderness Act.
12. 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?
I favor helping all children, but anyone who understands this law knows that it is a federal pre-emption of a state issue. I believe we should leave to states, school boards and parents the substance of education policy. If we give it to Washington, we'll lose all control over education. The better plan would be to allow states the option to propose their own action plans to improve education and be judged based upon their success in achieving their goals. On that basis, I would favor a repeal of No Child Left Behind and get education back to the states, districts, teachers and families. To the extent it cannot be repealed, I will work to make it more effective for Utah.
13. There is 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?
Congress is run on a system of seniority. I would support federal term limits if all members of Congress were to be under the same rules. I am not willing to say at this time how long I might serve.
14. Utah has a number of national parks, some in your district. As the budget deficit grows, the parks come under new financial constraints. What needs to be done for Utah's national parks and what specifically can you do?
Our national parks are treasures that the entire country enjoys and therefore should be funded by the federal government. Unfortunately, some of Utah's gorgeous parks are in disrepair, in part because the funding process for National Parks is highly political. There are areas designated as national parks that receive what some would call an unfair amount of funding, either on the high or the low end of the spectrum. As your congressman, I would advocate taking politics out of the funding equation. On a more philosophic note, the fundamental problem with the national parks is that the federal government owns too much land. If the government didn't control so much land, it could afford to focus its resources on the true land gems, national parks.
15. Polls show that while there are more Republicans in the 2nd District than either Democrats or political independents, Republicans are still NOT the majority of the district. What will you do to represent people not of your political party and independents?
As Utah's 2nd District congressman, I will work hard for Utah, always. Although I am a proud member of the Republican Party, I will never let my party affiliation get in the way of representing Utah. If there are instances that the agenda of my party interfere with my beliefs or the beliefs of my constituents, I will not support them regardless of party leaders or political pressure. However, I do feel like the agenda of President Bush represents the views of my constituents far more than the views of John Kerry and the Democratic Party. While Republicans may not be the majority of the district, conservatives certainly are, and I am the best candidate to represent their views.
16. How have you funded your campaign, and what, if anything, does it show primary voters about your candidacy?
Unlike my opponent, who receives the bulk of his campaign money from liberal Democratic leaders and political action committees outside of Utah, I can proudly say that the majority of my contributions have come from individuals within the state of Utah; individuals who can vote in my district and have a true stake in the outcome of this election. Their investment in my race is a strong sign of the broad base of support we are enjoying today.
17. Some people worry that funding a new "bunker-buster" smaller nuclear weapon would require renewed underground testing of nuclear warheads at the Nevada test site. Do you favor or oppose funding the new "bunker-buster" weapon? Do you favor or oppose renewed underground nuclear testing in Nevada?
I will never support the resumption of above- or below- ground nuclear testing at the Nevada test site or any other site that could possibly endanger Utahns. My opponent favors nuclear disarmament, and I believe that to be an irresponsible and indefensible liberal position that will weaken the United States and give military advantage to rogue nations like Iran and North Korea. I support studying bunker- busting technologies and I believe they can be tested through computer technology that simulates testing. I appreciate the fact that two bills have been filed recently on the testing issue, the weaker of the two by my opponent. I am disappointed that Matheson waited four years to begin to address the issue. I understand that the United States is in a unique position where military strength is crucial to ensure democracy on a global scale and support the continued defense research programs necessary to ensure that we maintain our technological superiority over foreign nations, rogue states and terrorist elements.
18. The 2nd District race is, obviously, a rematch of 2002. How is the race different this time from two years ago?
Although the similarities in this race are striking, there are several key differences that will ensure a different outcome this year. First, it is now clear that my opponent supports the national Democrats 75 percent of the time at the expense of Utah. The voters will understand that I will always put Utah first. Second, I have a clear vision for the needs of the 2nd District moving forward. We need to help create jobs through cutting regulations which drive jobs offshore. We need to make all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, something my opponent has resisted. We need to have better access to our lands and responsibly develop our natural resources to create jobs in rural Utah. My opponent has been inactive in these areas, and we need a change. I'll be talking about these and other issues and it will make the difference because this race is about the future. Moreover, with President Bush, Senator Bennett, Jon Huntsman Jr. and Mark Shurtleff at the top of the ticket, we expect significantly higher Republican turnout in a district with more than 64 percent for President Bush.
19. Why are you a better candidate and/or would make a better congressman than two years ago?
Campaigning, like most things, requires experience. In 2002 I ran a strong race, exceeding national expectations. As far as being a better congressman, my 2002 campaign made me stronger and even more determined to serve the people of Utah and fight for our values, our dreams, our economy and our precious freedoms. Moreover, since 2002, Jim Matheson has voted with national Democrats 75 percent of the time. He has fought us on tax cuts and land use. He has supported federal control of education. With those positions on key issues, we have an even clearer picture of Jim Matheson's habit of saying one thing in Utah and voting another way in Washington, D.C. Our message of results and always putting Utah first is resonating strongly with voters who feel they didn't get what they were promised by my opponents.
20. The above questions are aimed at finding out where you stand and why voters should pick you. Can you give us one (or more) reasons why voters should not pick your general election opponent? For example, does he lack experience, education, vision, does he bring conflicts of interest or is he too closely associated with minority political views, etc.?
The simple fact is that Jim Matheson puts Utah first only 25 percent of the time; the rest of the time he's voting for the liberal left and the national Democrats. He has admitted he is pro-choice on abortion, he has voted against banning the horrific practice of partial birth abortion, he has voted several times against the Bush tax cuts, he has voted against domestic drilling, against missile defense, bunker-busting military weapons and for funding the international criminal court. He supports Kerry for president. Why not Jim Matheson? He's a nice person, but when you look at his record and what he does in Washington, D.C., it's clear he's not right for Utah.