Three candidates are seeking the two state House of Representatives seats that represent portions of Tooele County.
Rep. Beverly J. White, D-Tooele, faces Grantsville attorney Merrill Nelson, her first Republican opponent in 10 years. Rep. R. Lee Allen, R-Garland, is unopposed for the first time in his five campaigns.District 1
Republican R. Lee Allen, Garland, Box Elder County, a Utah legislator since 1983, is running unopposed.
Allen, 63, is a rancher and farmer and owner of Lee Allen Realty Inc., Tre-monton.
He opposes removing the sales tax on food, but, he said, he wants to see the tax on food reduced, "but not by increasing the property or income taxes."
Allen says he believes the biggest problems facing state government are the growing demand for public and higher education, the lack of water in the state and environmental issues.
District 1 contains parts of Box Elder and Tooele counties. The Tooele County portion includes Stockton, Tooele west of Coleman Street, Wendover and all western and southern areas of the county.
Democrat Beverly J. White is seeking re-election and faces a stiff challenge from Republican Merrill Nelson.
White, a Tooele resident who works for the Utah Department of Corrections, said she opposes removing the sales tax on food and believes the Legislature needs to take a look at the state's entire taxing structure.
"It would take two-thirds of Tooele City's budget away and economically hurt all small towns," White said. "There are no concrete answers to this problem. The Legislature has been `band-aiding' the tax issues for too long."
Nelson, a Grantsville resident who works as an attorney, believes the sales tax on food is regressive but does support the tax because it is one tax that everyone pays, including non-residents.
"The food tax is regressive, but so are most other taxes," Nelson said. "On balance, the revenue loss would be too great and too sudden, especially for local governments."
If voters approve Initiative A on Nov. 6, Nelson said he would support increasing the general sales tax on other items and look at canceling certain sales-tax exemptions to make up the shortfall. He said local governments likely would have to increase property taxes to make up their losses.
White said taking the sales tax off food would be like putting the cart before the horse. She said the state needs to find ways to level out the tax before removing it. White also noted that recent court decisions could seriously affect the state's tax structure and the Legislature needs to look at the entire tax package as soon as possible.
White said she wants the Legislature to go slow in dealing with the state's anticipated budget surplus. "We should hold it until we find out about the tax matters and how education fares in the election," White said, referring to a number of school districts holding property-tax leeway elections next month.
Nelson said he wants the surplus put in a "rainy day" fund to meet future needs. He believes making small refunds to taxpayers is a waste of time and money.
Nelson said he favors abortion to preserve the mother's life, in cases of severe fetal deformity, and possibly in cases of rape or incest. He also favors parental notification for minors and spousal notification for married women. He also wants greater emphasis put on education and adoption as alternatives to abortion.
White said she believes Utah's current laws are working well and appear to be binding. She said that until the U.S. Supreme Court gets through with the issue and the state's own task force comes forth with its recommendations the Legislature should leave existing laws unchanged.
White said she believes flag burning is a federal issue and should be left to Congress. She believes taxes, education and dealing with social problems are the major problems facing Utah today. She favors efforts to revamp the entire tax system.
Nelson said he favors a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning, as the free-speech clause in the Constitution was not intended to protect such seditious and inflammatory acts.
Nelson said he believes education reform and funding is the state's major issue. He wants more control given to teachers, along with more accountability.
White has a long history in politics, serving in state and local offices for the Democratic Party and as an officer for the National Order of Women Legislators. She enjoys knitting and is a board member for Tooele Valley Hospital.
Nelson has served on the state Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Appellate Procedure and has drafted legislation on adoption reform and other subjects. He has worked as a volunteer in other campaigns. In his spare time, Nelson serves as a youth basketball coach.
District 21 includes Tooele except for west of Coleman Street, Grantsville, Stansbury and Lake Point.