There is no dearth of candidates for state House of Representative seats in the northern half of Utah County, as four political parties are represented among the 14 people seeking five positions in the Legislature.
Only one race does not involve an incumbent - the District 60 race in which Republican Norm Nielsen eliminated Rep. Pat Nix, R-Orem, in the primary election. Joining Nielsen on the ballot Nov. 6 will be Democrat Helen Weeks and Libertarian Neil Skousen, both of whom have sought the seat before.
Republican Christine Fox was appointed to the House in 1987 and elected to the post in 1988, serving as vice chairman of the House Rules Committee. Opposing Fox are American Party candidate Jeanne Crawley and Democrat Steven Kesler.
Christine Fox, 1755 N. Frontage Road, Lehi, owns a dairy farm and a convenience store. She is also a student at the University of Utah, working toward a degree in political science, and is an American Fork Hospital board member.
She said she opposes Initiative A, to remove the state's sales tax on food, because that revenue is "used to fund needed social programs and higher education - I would oppose removing funds they desperately need."
Should the initiative pass, however, Fox said she would suggest the state phase in the tax removal to give time to adjust to the loss in revenue, "but I don't know where to cut that wouldn't have a painful impact."
Jeanne Crawley, 382 E. 520 North, American Fork, is a housewife and mother of nine who once served as District 57's Republican Party chairwoman and as a state delegate.
She said she favors the Initiative A because "government spending should be drastically reduced, thus eliminating the need for the food tax."
All "socialistic programs," such as - but not limited to - education, public transit and public welfare, should be phased out, according to Crawley. Also, budgetary contributions to the Utah Transit Authority and the Utah Winter Olympics proposal should be eliminated, she said.
Steven Kesler, 210 N. Robinson Ave., American Fork, is owner of a waste management company and a self-employed businessman. While Kesler did not comment on Initiative A, he said the state government must be more fiscally responsible.
"The state must curb waste in all areas possible," Kesler said. Programs promoting such governmental accountability will "make this state all we would like it to be for us and our children."
He said local schools and school districts should be responsible for quality education of children statewide.
The major issue facing the state is providing "quality education that is personal for our children, not fiscal, which reduces our children to dollars," he said.
Fox and Kesler agree that bringing business into the area is also a top priority, though they disagree on some aspects.
Kesler said he will work to bring in new industry and work with established businesses "to help them to continue to grow - that they may be able to pay our children and families enough to stay in Utah."
Fox, though, said that what is most important is to create "an atmosphere in which economic development can be balanced with environmental protection."
Crawley, on the other hand, said that like other American Party candidates she believes there is too much socialism and taxation in federal, state and local government.
"Eliminate all government programs that can't be handled by free enterprise," she said.
District 57 includes Lehi, Cedar Valley and American Fork north of Main Street.
Three candidates are vying to unseat incumbent Republican Donald R. LeBaron. The candidates, who represent the full spectrum of political parties, have parallel views on many issues; they are diametrically opposed on others.
For Donald R. LeBaron, 63, the biggest problem facing Utah is an uninformed populous.
If re-elected, LeBaron would work to get "the main issues before the public . . . in an interesting, understandable way."
He is opposed to the removal of the tax on food because "the segment of our state population expected to benefit is out of proportion to the segment of the state that will lose from cutting essential services."
If voters pass the measure, LeBaron believes it should be phased in over five years. Also, budget increases, new building requests and expansion of state government services should be frozen until revenue from other sources increases through growth.
LeBaron is a retired electrical engineer and lives in Highland. He was mayor of Highland from November 1977 to December 1981.
If there is a multimillion-dollar surplus in fiscal 1989-90, it should be used to offset revenue losses in critical programs if the tax on food is removed, LeBaron said.
LeBaron believes abortion should be allowed only when a mother's life is clearly endangered, provided the woman wishes to have the operation. He supports a constitutional amendment to prevent desecration of the flag.
According to Keith Hatch, Democrat, the problems facing Utah would have a better chance of being solved if the state weren't dominated by one political party.
"It would give a little more even balance (in politics) and openness in government," Hatch said.
Hatch, 62, is a retired steelworker who lives in Pleasant Grove. He serves on the board of directors of the Geneva Recreation Association. Hatch is running to represent working-class people and senior citizens. He has no prior government experience.
Hatch opposes the food-tax initiative because it would affect small towns that have few other sources of revenue. If the initiative passes, Hatch believes, it should be phased in over a period of time. Local governments, the Utah Transit Authority and the Utah Winter Olympic fund would have to make up funding by adjusting other taxes, he said.
Any surplus revenue in fiscal 1989-90 should be used to fund social programs, such as Meals on Wheels, the lunch program for senior citizens.
Hatch opposes a constitutional amendment to protect the flag and thinks abortion should be permitted only in cases of rape or when the mother's health is endangered.
Roger V. Ostergaard, Libertarian, said society is threatened by a steady encroachment of socialism.
If elected, Ostergaard vows to work for privatization of services and protection of the rights of citizens.
Ostergaard, 34, is a drafter and former Pleasant Grove police officer. He lives in Highland.
Ostergaard is in favor of removing the sales tax on food. He would align the tax cut with corresponding changes in privatization of government programs. Revenue shortfalls should be covered by the existing tax surplus, he said.
Local governments should absorb resulting revenue cuts by privatizing non-essential programs or instituting cuts in services. The Utah Transit Authority and Utah Winter Olympic fund should be put into the hands of the private sector, Ostergaard said.
Ostergaard believes abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother's life.
He opposes a constitutional amendment to protect the flag. "It's a sad day when we disallow someone to criticize the government in a so-called free land," Ostergaard said.
Alan K. Hunter, American Party, believes too much federal government regulation and funding are putting a stranglehold on Utah.
Eliminating federal funding of local programs, such as education, would allow the state to become more autonomous, he said.
"The federal government has too much control over state issues," Hunter said.
Hunter favors removal of the sales tax on food. "Food is essential for life," he said. "To tax food is as bad as taxing the air we breathe."
If the initiative passes, revenue shortfalls could be addressed by giving local counties and school districts more control over local schools and doing away with state-office school overhead.
The Utah Transit Authority and Winter Olympics, two other beneficiaries of sales tax revenue, should be self-funding, Hunter said.
Any surplus in the 1989-90 budget should be returned to the "overtaxed people of Utah.
Hunter opposes a constitutional amendment to protect the flag and favors allowing abortion only when a mother's life is in jeopardy.
Hunter, 34, is an engineer and lives in Pleasant Grove. He is involved in Scouting and is an amateur radio operator. Hunter has not previously held an elected office.
District 58 includes American Fork south of Main Street; Pleasant Grove except for its southeast section south of 200 South and east of Loader Avenue; and all of Highland, Alpine and Cedar Hills.
John L. Valentine, 857 E. 970 North, Orem, is the Republican incumbent.
"I oppose the removal of sales tax on food if it is to be replaced by an increase in other taxes such as a property tax," he said. Valentine would support the initiative if it is treated as a real tax cut.
If the initiative passes, Valentine said, he would reduce the budgets of the general fund, including health, human services, corrections, public safety and higher education, the five largest budgets.
"There are also three general sales-tax exemptions which I would vote to repeal," he said.
"The local government issues are probably the hardest to address," he said. To deal with this possible shortfall, Valentine would consider cuts in funding to the Olympics and UTA.
"I believe the major problem facing the state of Utah is to balance the growth of the state with the need to preserve the unique heritage which we as citizens of Utah share," Valentine said.
Valentine would allow the state uniform school fund to keep any surplus that may be generated this year.
Valentine, 41, is a tax attorney in Provo.
H.K. Pang, 1683 N. Main, Orem, is the Democratic challenger.
Pang, 39, who works as an operating engineer, opposes the removal of sales tax on food. He said that if the initiative passes, "there will have to be cuts in services and a reduction in personnel to compensate for the loss of income."
The state government cannot effectively operate without income. "I strongly believe in better management of our tax dollars," he said.
If the voters choose to remove the sales tax, Pang said, there would have to be a general, gradual reduction. "I would try to improve the management before I would reduce personnel," he said.
Pang also believes that local governments would need to look into areas of "revenue enhancement."
The main problem facing the state, according to Pang, is tax problems. "I don't feel enough attention is given to the tax problems of our middle-income taxpayers. I would look at a progressive income-tax structure."
In the event of a surplus in state funds, Pang would distribute it so that local governments would each have a percentage and then give some to social services, education, economic development and highway maintenance.
District 59 includes southeast Pleasant Grove, south of 200 South and east of Loader Avenue; Lindon; and north Orem, everything north of 800 North and west of 400 East, plus the area north of Center Street and east of 400 East.
Two of the three candidates favor the removal of sales tax from food, with only the GOP candidate, Norm Nielsen, opposed to the initiative.
Nielsen, 55, who beat Rep. Pat Nix, R-Orem, in the primary to earn a place on the general election ballot, is running against Democrat Helen Weeks, 64, a homemaker who is active in her political party, and Libertarian Neil Skousen, 29, an appliance salesman.
Nielsen said he is against taking the sales tax off food because "it will have a serious, negative impact on local government funding and our higher education budgets."
He said that "a replacement tax, whatever it may become, will very likely negatively impact the group of people who would benefit from the removal of tax on food."
Weeks said she wants the initiative to pass because "we have gone too far in overtaxing the poor and middle class in favor of particular interest groups."
She said that "middle-class people are compassionate and willing to share their wealth with the disenfranchised, but not to `wealthfare kings.' "
Skousen said that "historically, high taxes and high tax rates have discouraged incentives to work hard, to save and to take risks as a businessman."
He said the sales tax on food "hurts those who can least afford to pay the tax" and labeled Utah "a pretty, overtaxed state."
If the initiative passes, Nielsen said, programs would have to be prioritized. "This would pit one department against another. The people of the state would have to decide which programs would be cut."
Weeks said she is in favor of "a complete overhaul of the tax structure" and said that would be at the forefront of her efforts if she is elected.
"Utah citizens want a tax cut - not a tax shift," according to Skousen, who said he favors "an across-the-board cut in spending in all administrative departments."
Nielsen said the major problem facing state government is inadequate funding for necessary programs and said Utah's education system "ought to be the envy of every state in America." He said the state needs to find new sources of revenue by doing more with tourism and "find specific ways to stabilize and earmark funds exclusively for education."
Weeks said the biggest problem confronting Utah "is in where we obtain our funding and how we allocate our resources. Utah taxpayers are patient, but they want accountability for their dollars, and they want quality of life for themselves as well as the disenfranchised."
Skousen said there is "too much taxation, spending and administrative regulations" and said he wants "to reduce the `reach' of government, financially and politically."
District 60 includes the central part of Orem. Between 800 North and Center Street, it stretches from I-15 to 400 East. Between Center Street and 800 South, the district goes from 400 West to about Carterville Road.
Republican R. Lee Ellertson is a four-term incumbent, representing the south part of Orem, northwest Provo, Vineyard and Lakeview.
Education funding is the biggest problem facing the state, Ellertson said. "Also, our budget for Corrections is growing much faster than for public education. We must find alternatives to incarceration."
Ellertson opposes the removal of the food tax. "I am well aware that we need a tax reduction. However, there are too many critical needs to address at this time."
If taxpayers vote to remove the tax on food, Ellertson said, he would use the current budget surplus, "being careful not to build it into the base budget. The budget would be reduced to make up the difference.
Revenue shortfalls in local governments, the Utah Transit Authority and Winter Olympic funding should be met by reduced spending.
If 1989-90 results in a surplus, Ellertson favors putting some into the "rainy day" fund and using "the balance on prudent, one-time programs, such as textbooks."
Ellertson would vote to ratify an amendment banning desecration or burning of the American flag, but he said, "I don't think it is needed. Old Glory is strong enough to withstand these infrequent occurrences."
He favors legal abortions for health of the mother, rape and incest.
Ellertson lives at 1616 S. 400 West, Orem. He is 53 and an assistant plant manager for Reilly Industries Inc. His hobbies are model railroads and golf. He gives volunteer time to the Boy Scouts of America.
American Party candidate John C. Paulson said state government is too complex. He is seeking to represent District 61 to simplify government and to return control to the people.
"I am not a politician," Paulson said. "I think I have the ability to listen, to weigh the facts and to make a decision that will be in the best interest of the citizen and the taxpayer."
Paulson favors removal of sales tax on food. "My main push is to see that our state government does not get any bigger than it is." A shortfall in revenue should be met by "tightening the belt and reducing spending."
The Utah Winter Olympics may be great for tourism - "I'm 100 percent for that," Paulson said. He thinks, however, that private enterprise should supply the bulk of the funding.
The Utah Transit Authority is a "disgrace" that would be out of business if it weren't government supported.
A state surplus for 1989-90 should be returned to the taxpayer, after some money is placed in an emergency fund, said Paulson.
Paulson would not support a constitutional amendment on flag burning because he said it is a moral issue. Abortion should be legal only for incest, rape and the mother's health.
Paulson, 1425 S. 100 West, Orem, is employed at Brigham Young University, where he has been on the administrative staff for 40 years. He also has been active in Boy Scouting and the John Birch Society.
The Provo area that is in District 61 is north of 1460 North and west of Carterville Road. The Orem portion includes everything south of 800 South, plus the area south of Center Street and west of 400 West.