Rep. Jim Matheson, Mia Love clash on debate schedule in Utah's 4th district

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11 2012 12:58 p.m. MDT

Utah Congressman Jim Matheson walks through the student center prior to a news conference regarding federal financial college aid at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Jim Matheson and Mia Love don't see eye to eye on much of anything, and how often they should debate is no exception.

The Democratic congressman has accepted invitations for three television debates and one radio debate.

“As always, I believe it’s important for Utahns to hear from candidates on the issues," Matheson said. "Traditionally, that means appearing before the public in the venues that offer the greatest opportunity for voters to watch and listen.”

But Love, a Republican, said the race for Utah's new 4th Congressional District seat demands more.

Love blasted the six-term representative, calling on him to accept debates in other forums "so we can go beyond the 30-second sound bites that he has used for years to distract Utahns from his real record."

“Jim Matheson is shrinking from public debates because he knows his stances are in direct conflict with the views of voters in the 4th District," the Saratoga Springs mayor said.

Matheson said he believes his views are in line with most Utahns and that Love's proposal to eliminate college financial aid and local police grants is extreme.

"She's offering ideas that don't really offer constructive solutions. She's actually advocating policies that are going to hurt people," he said.

Love chided Matheson for not agreeing to a candidate forum sponsored by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Matheson. The Salt Lake chamber does not endorse candidates but has scheduled a series of forums in several races for business leaders to attend in October.

Matheson said he has accepted invitations from KUTV, KTVX and KSL television and KSL NewsRadio's "Doug Wright Show." He has also agreed to participate in one-on-one, back-to-back candidate interviews on KUER radio.

The congressman said he’s looking forward to talking directly to voters about the issues that matter to Utah families and to offering his ideas for growing Utah’s economy and creating expanding employment opportunities.

Love said the debates will show who really has the interest of Utahns in mind and who will consistently cast votes to end the Affordable Care Act, reduce regulation, develop energy independence, foster Utah jobs and reduce the size of the federal government and the national debt. 

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com, Twitter: dennisromboy

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