Utah debates: Here’s how 3rd District candidates stand on the issues (Rep. John Curtis (R) vs. Glenn Wright (D)
SALT LAKE CITY — Incumbent Republican Rep. John Curtis will debate Democrat challenger Glenn Wright to represent Utah’s 3rd Congressional District on Oct. 6 at Brigham Young University. The debate starts at 6 p.m., and will be moderated by Natalie Gochnour, who is an associate dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.
The 3rd District encompasses Salt Lake, Utah, Emery, Carbon, San Juan, Grand and Wasatch counties.
Wright has been a member of the Summit County Council for six years and is a Vietnam War veteran. He also serves on the board of the Utah Association of Counties.
The top issue for Democrats in 2022 is abortion (35%) and for Republicans, the top issue this year is inflation (40%), as reported by NPR on Sept. 8.
Overall, 30% of survey respondents identified inflation as their top issue, but that’s down 7 points from the last time the question was asked in July. That was followed by abortion at 22%, up 4 points since July, according to NPR.
Utah 3rd district candidates on abortion
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. A little more than 60% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases while 37% think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. These views are relatively unchanged in the past few years. That figure hasn’t changed much since before the court’s decision, according to the Pew Research Center.
Utah’s trigger law, SB174, would prohibit abortion in most cases. But it does allow exceptions if the mother’s life is at risk or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. An exception is also allowed under Utah’s trigger law if two physicians who practice “maternal-fetal medicine” both determine that the fetus has a severe defect that is uniformly diagnosable and ultimately lethal, according to KSL.com.
— Rep. John Curtis (@RepJohnCurtis) June 24, 2022
From Wright’s campaign website on abortion:
“Reproductive freedom, two words that entail much more: Health, the potential negative health outcomes of childbirth for a woman far exceed the risks of an early-term abortion, particularly for a woman with pre-existing conditions.”
On July 22, 2022, Curtis and Utah’s three other House representatives — Reps. Blake Moore, Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens — voted against H.R. 8373, a bill to protect the right to contraceptives.
Utah 3rd District candidates on inflation
On July 22, 2022, Wright pointed to what he said are two misconceptions about what is causing inflation in the U.S.
“We have heard some say that ARPA funding [The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package] has been the sole source of inflation. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most economists estimate the effect of ARPA at 1%.”
Wright also said that lack of drilling on public lands has not led to an increase in gasoline prices.
“Public lands only contribute 10% of the U.S. domestic supply, leasing has been reinstated on the most productive lands, and the oil and gas industry has enough existing public land leases to last until 2030, if no more leases were sold.”
Here are the top five benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act, passed Aug. 7, 2022, by Congress, according to American Progress:
- Allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.
- Caps out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for older adults.
- Prevents higher health-care costs.
- Cracks down on Big Pharma’s greed.
- Cuts carbon pollution dramatically.
After passage of the Act, Curtis wrote this:
“This bill is nothing more than a grab bag of miscellaneous Democrat priorities, which:
- increase taxes at the cost of middle-class families,
- hurt economic growth,
- reduce the amount of life-saving new drugs that enter the market, and
- pick winners and losers in the energy space at the cost of innovation.”
“The inflation Reduction Act has a lot of very strong benefits for the people of Utah,” Wright said. “On the senior citizen area, the negotiating on pharmaceutical prices for Medicare recipients and putting an eventual cap on out-of pocket-expenses. I’m a senior citizen myself, and I know many people who reach that cap and may have to make decisions on health care or food or rent.”
Utah 3rd District candidates on immigration
In 2019, Rep. Curtis tweeted his concerns about immigration into the U.S. from the southern border.
“The answer to the crisis at the border is far more complex than a toothbrush.
I have consistently called for adequate resources at the border as well as other critical solutions. https://t.co/eobB5kQ90n
— Rep. John Curtis (@RepJohnCurtis) June 24, 2019
Wright’s stance on immigration:
“We need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes realistic legal immigration quotas each year, including —
- temporary work visas,
- increase in immigration judges to administer asylum requests,
- more rapid issuance of work permits for asylum applicants awaiting adjudication,
- regularization of the residence status of long-term undocumented residents,
- path to citizenship for DACA status residents [Dreamers] and
- increased border security aimed at preventing drug importation.”
Utah candidates on the Jan. 6 insurrection
On Sept. 21, 2022, the House passed the Electoral Count Act making it more difficult to to overturn a certified presidential election and prevent any future assault on the U.S. Capitol as happened on Jan.6, 2021. On that day, hundreds of then-President Trump supporters clashed with police and smashed their way into the building to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral college votes for President-elect Biden.
The Electoral Count Act is an 1887 law that outlines the process for Congress to certify the Electoral College votes submitted by states. Although vague, the law is clear the vice president of the United States cannot alter the results of a presidential election as Trump had urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to do after the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost by more than 7 million votes.
Trump falsely claimed last year that Pence could simply send the results “back to the States.”
The Associated Press explained the vice president’s role in counting Electoral College votes is largely ceremonial:
In light of the Jan. 6 insurrection, election-law experts urged the 1887 law to be updated and strengthened. The House vote on the bill was 229-203, with nine Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the measure. All four members of Utah’s House delegation voted against it:
- Curtis – Republican – NAY
- Moore – Republican – NAY
- Owens – Republican – NAY
- Stewart – Republican – NAY
The candidates on energy
Wright said the war in Ukraine points to the need for renewable energy from locally produced sources and stabilization of energy costs to insulate the nation from “petro-despots” like Russian President Vladimir Putin, who began the war.
Curtis also expressed the importance of energy independence in light of Russia’s war on Ukraine:
“We must lead as a country through energy independence and innovation to help meet our needs and reduce worldwide emissions,” Curtis said.
Curtis is a member of GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Energy Climate and Conservation (ECC) Taskforce. It claims it “will deliver lower energy costs for consumers, create American jobs and provide economic and energy security for American families by utilizing American resources and capitalizing on our competitive and technological advantage.”
Utah 3rd district candidates on the environment
Wright said air quality along the Wasatch Front will improve through “electrification of transport” from local renewable sources.
He also said climate change will be his focus if he defeats Curtis.
“Number one issue I’m going to talk about is going to be climate change, and how it’s going to affect the state and the nation,” Wright said, adding that that extends to “the water crisis we’re going through now,” as reported by KCPW.
Curtis said the United States needs to lead other countries to “invest in pollution-busting technology.” He also said it’s time to have a conversation about including nuclear power as an energy source.
“It is time for a conversation in the United States on nuclear, and it does not have to be partisan,” Curtis said.
“Republicans have conservative solutions to lower emissions while enhancing economic prosperity. We do care about climate – and we already have solutions and plan to find more,” Curtis said.
Glenn Wright talks about his candidacy with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic:
Incumbent Republican Rep. John Curtis joins Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to discuss the debate, his message to voters, and the Conservative Climate Summit happening next week.
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