The ballots for state House of Representatives races in northeast Utah look just like they did two years ago.
On Nov. 6 of this year, former House Speaker Glen Brown will face Jean Stauffer, the woman he defeated two years ago. And Rep. Beverly Evans is unopposed, as she was in 1988.District 54
Rep. Glen Brown, R-Coalville, and his Democratic challenger, Jean Stauffer, have different opinions on abortion, flag burning and the initiative to take the sales tax off food.
Brown, a dairy farmer who has served as a state representative for more than 13 years, would allow legal abortions only when the life of the mother is at stake or in cases of rape, incest, or "properly determined deformities."
He also said he would vote to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning desecration of the American flag if such an amendment were approved by Congress.
Stauffer, a registered nurse from Park City who ran against Brown in 1988, said abortion "is a decision to be made by a woman, her family and her doctor, not legislators. Women are capable of making a correct moral decision."
She said she opposes the proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting flag-burning. "This would be a step toward erosion of the right to freedom of speech. We must, as Americans, tolerate diverse opinions."
Brown opposes taking the sales tax off food, as do the majority of GOP legislators. He said he is against the initiative because of the "uncertainty of revenues, and I believe there are better ways to deal with the issue, such as an income tax credit."
If voters pass the initiative, which would cost state and local governments an estimated $113 million in lost sales-tax revenue, Brown said, lawmakers should "consider all of the alternatives that are available."
However, he said he would not favor a shift to property tax to make up the revenue that would be lost by local governments, the Utah Transit Authority and the Olympic fund.
Stauffer agrees with the Democratic Party platform that the sales tax should come off food, but "only if social service and education programs are not reduced. More importantly, the tax system must be restructured."
She said other taxes, such as income tax and the tax relief provided to large industry, should be adjusted to deal with the anticipated revenue losses if the initiative is approved.
"The idea is not to reduce the total tax collected but to relieve the burden on low-income families," Stauffer said.
Brown said the most pressing problem facing state government is "providing adequate jobs for the future that will allow a good, strong, balanced economy with reasonable taxes and increased emphasis on the environment."
Stauffer said state government has to deal with "maintaining and improving our quality of life without overtaxing people and carefully balancing priorities. Education should be our main priority."
District 54 comprises all of Summit County; Midway, Charleston, Wallsburg and Danielsville in Wasatch County; all of Morgan County; and Randolph and Woodruff in Rich County.
State Rep. Beverly Evans wants voters to get involved in the election. "It's critical," she said. "There are some key issues out here."
For Evans, R-Altamont, the political suspense is gone from her legislative race. She is unopposed for her third term.
"You can sleep election night," she said, "go to bed and not worry. You're always sure about two votes, you think, your husband's and yours."
The tangle surrounding the future of the Heber Creeper is one major district issue, Evans said. In Wasatch County, another concern is garbage. Residents transport waste across county lines, and Evans pegged that as just a temporary situation. In Duchesne and Uintah counties, Evans said, she is seeking clarification of jurisdiction after a recent court ruling regarding Indian rights.
"We have a real opportunity to work together in a partnership with the Ute tribe. That's going to be my next priority in the next little while."
Evans is director of human services for the Uintah Basin Applied Technology Center.
She supports the Republican Party line in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment banning flag burning. She opposes the initiative to remove Utah's sales tax on food, saying such a move would translate to a tax shift. "If modifications to the tax structure are needed, it needs to be done through the legislative process.
District 55 comprises Heber City, Center Creek and everything east of U.S. 40 in Wasatch County; all of Duchesne County; and Ballard, Gusher and Fort Duchesne in Uintah County.