The Chronicle’s political endorsement

President: Barack Obama

Utah, like the rest of the nation, needs a force for change that John McCain can’t offer. According to Congressional Quarterly, McCain voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time in 2007. His record, in addition to recent signs of poor judgment such as the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate, are condemning. Beyond the bad situation the United States would be in if Palin actually had to take McCain’s place, the rash selection alienated a good portion of moderate conservatives and independents.

Obama’s record may not be as lengthy as his opponent’s, but he has shown sound judgment during his years in the U.S. Senate. For example, his selection of Joe Biden, one of the most experienced senators in Washington, as his running mate complements the ticket and shows the sound judgment McCain lacked.

Obama has the ability to heal our country’s tarnished international reputation and restore citizens’ confidence in their own government. Closer to home, Obama’s policies, especially in areas like education, taxes and health care reform speak almost directly to the financial situation of students. Obama, as president, would improve the quality of life for students and America as a whole. We fully endorse Barrack Obama for President.

Governor: Jon M. Huntsman Jr.

As Governor, Huntsman has demonstrated a moderate approach. He has avoided strong-arming political opponents, and has been refreshingly open-minded on items such as climate change. With Utah facing an economic recession, Huntsman’s financial and political experience will be valuable.

However, during his second term we hope the governor will be more assertive with the Utah State Legislature, especially in regards to ethics reform. Huntsman needs to find the courage to veto bad bills, like education vouchers and the one that made local law enforcement officers into immigration police, to name just a couple. Utah needs a man of action. We endorse Jon Huntsman Jr. for Governor.

Congressional District 2: Jim Matheson

Jim Matheson has been a reasonable Democratic voice in a Republican-dominated state. His commitment to fighting toxic waste storage in Utah will benefit generations.

Matheson shows admirable fiscal responsibility and a determination to account for where money comes from. He has even donated his congressional pay raises to charity. We endorse Jim Matheson for Congress.

Attorney General: Jean Welch Hill

Incumbent Mark Shurtleff authored an opinion in December 2001 on the topic of concealed firearms on campus, causing a lengthy and costly debate about the rights of weapons permit holders. While discussion is welcome, lighting unnecessary fires is an indicator of the bad judgment that has pervaded Shurtleff’s time in office.

Jean Hill is a fresh face who isn’t tied to the special interests that currently plague the attorney general’s office. She is an advocate for ethics, and will make the Legislature more accountable. She also stands against bad policies like vouchers. We endorse Jean Hill for Attorney General.

House District 25: Christine Johnson

Johnson speaks for an often under-represented minority voice in Utah8212;the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. As a legislator whose district encompasses the U, she has continually fought for better funding for higher education. Her opponent, Garrett Clark, lacks her experience, not to mention Clark’s campaigning method is questionable8212;running as a Republican although he leans Democratic on several key issues, including the environment and higher education. We endorse Christine Johnson for the Legislature.

Proposition 1: Tracy Aviary

Tracy Aviary is the oldest and largest aviary in the United States, and one of only two public aviaries in the country. It would be a shame to allow this rare and valuable educational site to continue to be underfunded. The proposed government bonds to pay for the project are the most affordable method to ensure Tracy Aviary’s quality. At a cost of only 21 cents a month to most taxpayers, funding the aviary is well within our reach. We endorse proposition 1.

Proposition 2: Hogle Zoo

Like Tracy Aviary, the Hogle Zoo performs an entertainment and educational role in Utah that can be provided nowhere else in the state. The funding plans for both propositions are similar, with Hogle Zoo costing taxpayers roughly 39 cents a month. We encourage the zoo to use the funding responsibly, and improve the quality of life for its tenants. We endorse proposition 2.