Barron: A Vote for Ben McAdams Is a Vote for Utah


By Morgan Barron, Opinion Writer


A recent Deseret News poll found that the race for Utah’s Fourth Congressional District (UT-04) is tied up, with 35% of voters supporting Ben McAdams, the Democratic incumbent, and 35% supporting Burgess Owens, the Republican nominee. While UT-04 is a competitive district, this race should not be competitive. McAdams’ record and Owens’ rhetoric clearly indicate that if voters want a representative and not a party loyalist, they must re-elect McAdams to the House. 

This May, almost 75 years after the first atomic bomb was detonated in the Trinity test, the Trump administration began discussing resuming nuclear bomb testing. It is estimated that nearly 150 million curies of radioactive material were released during atmospheric nuclear tests conducted by the United States in the 1950s — about twenty times the amount of radiation released during the Chernobyl nuclear accident. McAdams is currently working not only to prevent future nuclear weapons testing but also to extend federal compensation to Utahns and other Americans exposed to radiation during previous nuclear tests. In contrast, Owens stated he would definitively support the President’s efforts to perform nuclear tests because he believes in “peace through strength,” even as discussions of potential tests have edged the Doomsday clock closer to midnight. When later pressed on this issue, Owen’s team stated their candidate does not support nuclear testing in Utah, ignoring the fact that nuclear testing in Nevada led to hundreds of Utahns dying of cancer.

In March, McAdams was one of the first members of Congress to test positive for the novel coronavirus. He has frequently impressed the seriousness of COVID-19 upon the public and has encouraged Americans to follow health officials’ guidance to prevent the spread. McAdams also understands the impact COVID-19 has had on every American, whether or not they have contracted the virus. He has sponsored and voted for legislation, from paycheck protection to expanding child care, focused on providing needed relief to Americans. Owens, on the other hand, has spent his time advocating for a premature return to “normal” rather than a recovery from this crisis. In a recent appearance on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show, Owens blamed “chaos-loving” Democrats for the cancellation of college football. Owens told Ingraham that fans should be able to enjoy the games without the pandemic politics, completely dismissing the fact that playing football generates aerosols known to spread COVID-19. Owens is, at best, dangerously misinformed about the spread and seriousness of the pandemic or, at worst, willing to put lives at risk for the appearance of normalcy before the election to boost the Republican position.

In a radio interview, Owens made it clear who he would serve if elected to the House of Representatives, telling the host that “we should be loyal, period” to leaders like Trump. McAdams, however, will use another term in the House to continue improving Utahns’ lives.  Not only has McAdams supported legislation preventing nuclear testing and providing relief during the pandemic, he been a champion for clean air, suicide prevention and fiscal responsibility. Clearly, a vote for Burgess is a vote for partisanship while a vote for McAdams is a vote for Utah.


[email protected]