What went down in Utah’s 4th Congressional Debate

Oct 28, 2022, 9:02 PM | Updated: Feb 23, 2023, 1:13 pm

4th district new debate...

Candidates for Utah's 4th Congressional District: Darlene McDonald and Rep. Burgess Owens. (Photos: left, Utah Democrats, right, U.S. House of Representatives)

(Photos: left, Utah Democrats, right, U.S. House of Representatives)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s 4th Congressional Debate took place Friday evening. Candidates Darlene McDonald and Rep. Burgess Owens, discussed multiple topics such as inflation, education and the overturn of Roe V. Wade.

Inflation and energy prices

Early on in the debate, moderator Professor James Curry asked about inflation rates and what policies each candidate plans to support to reduce inflation in The Beehive State.

In response, Owens said Utah must become energy-independent. Until this happens gas and electricity prices will continue to rise.

“Keep in mind, it was only a year and a half ago that we weren’t having this conversation about inflation. We weren’t having parents … filling up the gas tank and wondering if, based on their decision there, if they’re going to have enough food on the table when they get home,” Owens said. “These are the kind of things we have to address. We can do it, it’s very simple. It’s going against everything the Democratic Party has done in the last year and a half.”

By doing this, Owens said, we will have a “remarkable,” “free.” and “robust” economy “once again.”


Further on in the debate, the candidates were asked about education and the drop in Utah students’ reading and math performance.

McDonald stressed the importance of educating parents along with students.

“We know that there is an intergenerational link, there’s a link, between intergenerational poverty and education,” she said. “To be able to get the education back on track, we also have to focus on the parent. We have to get the parents involved … [We have to] make sure that if there’s a member of that household that did not achieve their high school diploma [or] did not finish college, finding [the money] and making sure that we use that money to put towards our higher education.”

McDonald said to get students back on track, we have to invest in education and find what works for each student.

Roe V. Wade

Candidates shared their thoughts on the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe V. Wade in June. Along with this, McDonald and Owens discussed a similar bill proposed recently by Sen. Lindsey Graham.

McDonald said the “proper role” of the government “does not include taking away women’s reproductive freedom.”

“We have seen state legislators, as well as people on a federal level, repeat things about a woman’s body, not having any clue of what a woman’s body actually does and does not do,” she said. “This (abortion) is a decision that needs to remain with a woman and her doctor. The government has no business in this decision, whatsoever.”

McDonald said she will never support a federal ban on abortion.

Owens had a different view, saying he is “proud to be in a state that believes in life.”

“I’ll say this, it was a real exciting moment for me … when we heard that Roe V. Wade had been struck down, as it should have been,” he said. “It should have never been put in the hands of nine people (the Supreme Court). It should be put in the hands of … every state based on their values [and] based on their priorities. What we do best is we talk. We educate each other. We see what the views are. You have some people that will start to understand that the life of a baby is important.”

Election Day will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.


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What went down in Utah’s 4th Congressional Debate