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Matheson, Wright spar over issues on KUER's 'RadioWest' debate

Published: Wednesday, June 16 2010 9:27 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Claudia Wright, his challenger in the upcoming Democratic primary election, debated health care reform, Israel, the economy and election reform during a radio broadcast this week.

The broadcast during KUER's "RadioWest" show was moderated by Doug Fabrizio and featured the two Democratic candidates for the 2nd Congressional District. The primary election will be held June 22.

Some of Tuesday's hourlong debate centered around Matheson's votes on certain issues.

Wright said she would have voted for the federal heath care reform legislation, which has become law, though a number of state attorneys general are suing to stop it.

Matheson said he voted against the bill, because it didn't adequately address certain criteria: providing everyone access to health care, that the health care is high quality and that it guaranteed affordability.

"I wouldn't want to repeal the law," he said, adding that it has components he is happy with.

But he wants to return to Congress so he can have a say in the new regulations that are currently being written.

Wright said she thinks the legislation was a start and that debate will continue until the U.S. has a health care system that looks like Medicare, but for everyone.

Matheson and Wright agreed that the military policy of "don't ask, don't tell" banning openly gay people from military service needs to be repealed, but Wright said the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to decide whether to allow gay marriage, should be repealed, too.

Matheson said marriage should be between a man and a woman and that gay marriage and service in the military are separate issues.

"(Marriage) isn't a right for any of us until it's a right for all of us," Wright said.

e-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com

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