Remember the man who puts Utah first

By By Andrew Cannon

By Andrew Cannon

Editor’s note: The author has volunteered for about six hours for the Matheson campaign.

The races for the president of the United States and governor of Utah are already proving to be close. The election, however, that will affect Utahns in the long run may prove to be a less flashy race in the 2nd Congressional District.

Members of the House of Representatives have an incredible responsibility. They are assigned to represent their constituency and vote in their interest. Partisan politics will take a backseat to representing the voice of the people. Unlike many of his party-bound colleagues, Congressman Jim Matheson has faithfully fulfilled this obligation and deserves a third term.

When Matheson was first elected in 2000, the district was composed primarily of mostly liberal Salt Lake County. In 2002, the state Legislature redistricted Utah’s congressional districts, and so all three districts took in part of Salt Lake County. Fourteen rural counties, which are usually more conservative, were added to Matheson’s district in a blatant attempt to redistrict the Democrat Matheson out of office.

Despite the Republican challenger John Swallow’s best efforts, Matheson was re-elected. Since 2002, he has taken more conservative stances on many social issues.

Swallow, running against Matheson again this year, has borrowed a tactic from Bush’s presidential campaign and attempted to portray Matheson as a flip-flopper. These charges are completely unfounded. Matheson is simply doing his job.

A look at the issues will reveal that Matheson is working for Utahns. He voted to extend tax relief for families. Though tax cuts and tax relief packages are a pet Republican issue, Matheson crossed party lines and voted for tax relief, citing the needs of Utah families for such relief.

During the 1950s, nuclear weapons tests were performed in Nevada. Tests were postponed by military officials when easterly winds prevailed, which could have carried nuclear fallout to a densely populated southern California. When westerly winds prevailed, however, nuclear tests were conducted and nuclear fallout affected hundreds, if not thousands, of Utahns.

Matheson sponsored legislation that would protect Utahns from being affected by nuclear testing in Nevada if said testing is resumed.

One of the more controversial issues on which Matheson has taken a stance is the proposed federal amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. Many of Matheson’s other constituents support the proposed amendment. Congressman Matheson was acting as their representative.

Matheson sponsored legislation requiring the government to fund states in their efforts to meet the No Child Left Behind Act requirements.

Under the Act of 2001, the federal government required local schools to meet a number of criteria. With Utah’s education budget severely strained, many of these goals are difficult, if not impossible, to meet. Matheson’s legislation would ensure that Utah’s schools could meet these goals, with the help of the federal government.

Matheson himself has proven representative of Utah’s interests. He has taken principled stands on the issues that face him. Challenger John Swallow has himself been portrayed as someone who will do all the Bush administration’s bidding.

Matheson has shown that he is willing to work with the Bush administration when it benefits Utah, and he isn’t afraid to stand against the administration when it wouldn’t.

Matheson’s campaign slogan is “Congressman Matheson puts Utah first.” It’s not just political bluster-Matheson has proven it in his first two terms.

Today, give Matheson a third term to represent Utah.

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