Third Congressional District candidates Karl Snow and Bill Orton put their time before Provo Rotary Club members to different uses Thursday.
Orton, the Democratic candidate, used his time to badger his opponent about not meeting him in substantive debates about the issues in the time remaining before the final election.Snow, the Republican candidate, spent his time at the podium to run through a brief synopsis of his political experience and some of his stances on budget issues.
The candidates spoke at a luncheon at the Provo Elks Lodge.
"What we are lacking is the opportunity to really get into the issues in depth, and say, `This is what I understand about the federal deficit, this is what I would do about the federal deficit,' and be challenged by one another and by the crowd," Orton said.
The need for in-depth debate is because of contradictory statements Snow has made on such issues as wilderness, Orton said.
"The problem I've got with this campaign is that we are invited to these type of forums . . . but where we're invited to give you a speech, to talk to you and let you know a little about us - give you some warm fuzzies and a little bit of political rhetoric - we don't get to those issues," Orton said.
Snow responded to Orton's comments at the end of his introductory remarks, saying: "It would seem to me my opponent is having a very difficult time getting an audience for a forum. I have more forums than I can possibly deal with."
He said 11 of 16 scheduled joint appearances are debates.
"I'm not afraid to meet Mr. Orton anytime, anywhere, but I'm certainly not going to let Mr. Orton set my schedule when I have a full agenda," Snow said.
Snow focused his comments on describing his political experience and his general philosophy on several issues.
"I know the district. I know the people. I know the players," Snow said. "I know the state Legislators - all of them supported me in the primary. I know the governor. I know the county commissioners, and I believe I'm prepared to interface with them as Congressmen Nielson has done in effectively resolving their problems, their concerns and their issues."
Snow said the overriding issue facing the nation is the continuing deficit.
"Some of us thought that Gramm-Rudman might be the answer to that several years ago, but it seems that Gramm-Rudman has failed," he said.
He chastised the budget bill proposed by the Democratically controlled Congress as unacceptable.
"I think the last thing we want to do in this district is send a Democrat to Congress who is going to play ball with a Democratically controlled Congress who has indeed strong-armed the president into accepting this proposal (the budget bill) if he does indeed do so," Snow said.
He advocates a reduction in the capital-gains tax, which would increase existing taxes by almost $32 million over next three years. He also supports a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution and a line-item veto.
Snow, in his follow-up remarks, said he opposes Rep. Wayne Owens' bill designating 5.1 million acres in Utah as wilderness - most of which is in the 3rd District and would severely affect some counties in the district. Designation of wilderness lands needs to be on a case-by-case basis, he said.
Orton hit the debate issue again during his follow-up remarks.
"When you go to Washington, D.C., this is what you do every day," Orton said. "You debate one another. You have to sell your point. You have to be able to convince, you have to be able to debate and discuss and if you're not up to it the people have a right to know that."
Hitting the issues
Gasoline and other taxes to pay off deficit
Orton: Opposes a new gasoline tax. Proposes that federal budget be on a two-year cycle and a tax-reform package adopted that would include taxes on domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations.
Snow: Opposes a new gasoline tax, which creates a greater impact on the West because of greater travel distances. Prefers an import fee on foreign oil. Champions the Grace Commission Report's suggestions for reducing expenditures.
Orton: Need to look at what government is supposed to do - whether programs are safety nets or ways of living. Proposes vast reform of welfare program.
Snow: Entitlements in general will be have to cut across the board if cut at all; but he doesn't see room for more cuts in Medicare. Opposes recently passed child-care program. Opposes federal funding of abortions and contraceptive counseling programs.
Incentives to decrease use of foreign oil
Orton: Need to create incentives, but should rely on market pressures. Proposes broad-base energy policy to wean U.S. from foreign oil. Use import fee on foreign oil to fund conservation.
Snow: May be appropriate as last resort to impose regulations requiring increased fuel efficiency. Ought to offer incentives for developing synthetic fuels.
Support for small businesses
Orton: Thinks small businesses are overregulated. Unfair competition from non-profit organizations needs to be addressed at both state and federal levels.
Snow: Opposes mandatory health insurance for all businesses. Pushes for privatization of many governmental services, decreased regulation.