Editor’s note: To read the closing argument of Burgess Owens, Republican candidate for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, click here.
Campaigns are about the future. Candidates are called on to say what they stand for and what they will do if elected to serve. Over time, issues rise and fall, but the promise that is America never fades. We all want the opportunity for a safe, secure, healthy and prosperous future. Delivering on that promise is being tested in an unprecedented way because of a highly contagious virus that still — after nine months — threatens our health and our economy.
Our country is hurting. Our state is hurting. We won’t get better economically until we act responsibly as individuals and get this virus under control. We have to lower the infection rate, lessen the strain on our health care system, and continue work on a safe and effective vaccine. To keep businesses and employees going, we must sustain the economic recovery, including additional unemployment benefits and financial help to households. Health care coverage, including for preexisting conditions, must be protected for Utah families at a cost they can afford. Struggling parents also need help to continue their children’s education, including better access to a high-speed internet connection.
Online learning will be with us for months, as communities battle the spread of the virus. Children who spend hours on computer screens are at heightened risk from online predators. I’ll continue to push tech companies for parental tools such as app ratings that help parents protect their kids. As the father of four kids, I constantly worry about threats from those who would exploit them. I’ll support law enforcement as they stand between these criminals and our children, and I’ll work with the private sector to find new ways to keep our kids safe.
The divisiveness and gridlock in Washington won’t get better until we put people ahead of party. We need to stop the name calling and attacking each other’s motives and find shared values and common ground. I will always do what’s right for Utah, like successfully blocking funding — in a House bill — to restart dangerous, unnecessary explosive nuclear weapons testing. But the fight isn’t over. There is $10 million for test site readiness in the Senate version of that bill and my effort continues to block any funding, period, and stop this terrible plan. I’m the only candidate in this race that is standing up to a federal government that lied to Utahns about the safety of nuclear testing. With so many Utahns still suffering from cancer caused by exposure to radioactive fallout, we never want to go down that path again.
My commitment to Utah as it begins to cast votes is to keep the focus not on a political party’s agenda, but on the needs of Utah’s hardworking families. I’ve shown time and again that there’s power in being a fiercely independent voice for my state. When it comes to pushing something across the finish line, whether it’s a trade agreement that supports hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, to transitioning to a clean energy economy, to protecting the national parks and Utah’s outdoor recreation areas, both sides of the aisle must come together to get it done.
Looking beyond this public health and economic crisis, I also commit to pushing for a return to fiscal discipline in Washington. The national debt is now larger than the U.S. economy. The first rule when you find yourself in a deep hole is to stop digging. I’ll continue to be a voice in Congress for passing a budget that reflects tough choices and priorities, and for pay-as-you-go rules to prohibit deficit-increasing legislation. I’ll renew my bill for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and will stand against automatic pay raises for members of Congress. Exploding deficits threaten our investments in health care, education and transportation and a country that knows only “borrow-and-spend” is on an unsustainable path.
I’m honored by the trust placed in me by Utahns. My public service is grounded in Utah values of independence, hard work, resilience and community. I work across party lines to get things done and I care about helping people. That’s my promise for the future.
Rep. Ben McAdams is the Democratic congressional candidate for Utah’s 4th Congressional District.