Utah congressional candidates visit Sanpete County
By Suzanne Dean
MT.PLEASANT—The country needs to elect people to Congress who will put solving critical problems, such as health care and saving social security, ahead of partisanship, Democrat Ben McAdams said during a visit to Sanpete County last week.
And, McAdams said in an interview with the Sanpete Messenger, bipartisanship is an area where he sees a distinction between himself and Republican incumbent Mia Love.
“I have a track record of working across party lines,” he said. “Mia Love votes with her party 97 percent of the time.”
McAdams, who is running against Love in the 4th Congressional District, which takes in northern Sanpete County, made a stop in Wales and then appeared at a picnic at the Mt. Pleasant City Park.
The Messenger interview, which took place in Mt. Pleasant, covered a range of topics, including public lands, immigration, the Muller investigation, civility in government and the negative advertising that has cropped up on both sides of the campaign.
McAdams said there has to be a way through the partisan divide that has paralyzed Congress. “I’m a patriot,” he said. “This country has done amazing things, and I think we have amazing things in our future. I’m not willing to concede that Congress will forever be broken.”
He said he had a track record as the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County of working with a Republican-controlled county council and getting things done.
“We’ve balanced the budget every year,” he said. “We have a triple A bond rating. And we’ve lowered our tax rate every year.”
One of his major concerns as mayor has been the homeless problem in Salt Lake County. He said he had worked on the issue with Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah
House Speaker Greg Hughes, both Republicans.
The three officials brought “three very different opinions” to the table. Yet, he said, they were able to talk through their disagreements until they found a path forward that was better than any of them individually could have come up with.
McAdams said federal management of public lands has been poor in recent years. And while he favors moving slowly, local management of some of the lands “is an option that should be looked at.”
He also said the federal government needed to address the maintenance backlog in national parks, just as he addressed—and largely solved—a backlog in maintenance of county parks and recreation facilities.
“It’s going to take some fiscal discipline, and making it a priority, but as a country, we’ve got to be investing in protecting our national treasures and making sure the user experience matches the quality of the treasures we’re protecting,” he said.
McAdams said immigration is an example of where Congress has failed to do its job. He said young people who are chasing the American dream and have tremendous things to give to our society are being marginalized by laws that don’t work.
“We do need to protect our borders from terrorists, from drug traffickers and from sex traffickers who want to do harm to our country,” he said. But immigration laws are doing a poor job of keeping out bad people and letting in the people who would benefit the country.
McAdams said he favors providing permanent status to DACA recipients, even if the DACA fix isn’t part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. DACA, he said, is one of those problems that is easy to fix, “and we shouldn’t wait.”
If he is elected, and if Democrats take control of the House, how would he feel about impeaching Donald Trump?
McAdams wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea. He said the Muller investigation needed to proceed to its conclusion. He said he would need to see where things stand at the end of the investigation.
But he said, “I want to go back to Washington to get things done. That’s going to be my primary focus. My concern is that an impeachment proceeding may harm our ability to get things done.”
In recent weeks, both the Love and McAdams campaigns have run negative TV ads.
A Love ad accuses McAdams of raising taxes. In fact, the McAdams government has lowered property tax rates. But because of economic growth in Salt Lake County, including rising property values, many property tax bills have increased, and there has been an increase in tax dollars flowing in.
A McAdams ad says Love has raised $1 million in illegal campaign contributions and kept the money.
In his interview with the Messenger, McAdams said Love had raised more money than permitted under federal election law. The Federal Election Commission filed an action against her ordering her to give back a large sum. She’s complied with part of what the FEC ordered. The issue is still before the commission.