When you leave Salt Lake County you have a difficult time finding much of a state Senate race.
You can look over the rest of the state and find only one contest that has both a Democrat and a Republican running: in Weber County, where Sen. Winn L. Richards, D-Ogden, is challenged by Republican Lewis Thorpe.Republican incumbents are unopposed in a Davis County race, a northeastern Utah race and a Box Elder-Cache race. In another Davis County race, the Republican incumbent faces a Libertarian opponent.
In Senate District 18, voters have a choice between an Ogden resident and a South Ogden resident - incumbent Democrat Winn L. Richards, 62, and Republican Lewis Thorpe, 50.
Both candidates oppose the initiative that would remove the sales tax on food. "I know of no fairer place to replace this tax loss," Richards said. "This is the only tax some pay. A portion of this tax is paid by tourists."
If there is a multimillion-dollar surplus in fiscal 1989-90, Thorpe said, the best use of the surplus would be to reduce taxes by 80 percent of the surplus total in the 1990-91 budget and apply that amount toward the new budget. Richards, however, said the state should wait before deciding.
"We have been on a roller coaster course for several years. With the economy as it is, let's be sure of a surplus before spending it," he said.
When asked under what circumstances he would favor abortion, Thorpe said that he personally opposes abortion but believes the women of the state should be allowed to make the decision.
Richards said he is against abortion but believes Utah should wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on cases already filed instead of creating legislation that would have to be defended in court.
Thorpe, a small-business man, served in many different positions in South Ogden government. He was mayor pro tem, councilman, planning commissioner and recreation director. He also was president of the Jaycees and a member of a Utah Department of Transportation committee and the Mount Ogden Rotary board of directors.
He said the biggest problem facing state government is the "lack of funds to meet the needs of the population and the ability to increase our economic base." Thorpe said start-up incentive programs can help create industry and jobs.
Richards, a physician, was chairman of the state Board of Health and a member of the state medical licensing board. He has been a state senator since 1986 and served on numerous committees and task forces. He, too, said shortage of revenues is the biggest problem facing state government.
He said the shortage is compounded by legislators making decisions without adequate information. Moving the session two weeks later would help because it would give lawmakers more time to study year-end information, he said.
District 18 includes southeast Ogden generally south of 22nd Street and east of Washington Boulevard; South Ogden east of Washington Boulevard; Washington Terrace; and Morgan County.
David H. Steele, 41, is seeking re-election and is running unopposed.
Steele, a Republican from West Point, Davis County, said he believes the biggest problem facing state government is the challenge to "provide greater economic opportunities for each of our citizens while maintaining a strong moral and family fabric."
"Education and economic development are some of the vehicles to get us to our goals," he said.
Steele, an educational administrator, said he is very much opposed to the initiative to remove sales tax from food because it could have crippling effects on state programs. "There are no concrete solutions to such a potential harm to our state," he said.
"When the Taxpayers' Association joins in opposition to removal of sales tax, I support their concern."
When asked what would be the best use of a potential multimillion-dollar surplus in fiscal 1989-90, Steele said it would be unfair to expect any surplus because of pending litigation and unmet needs in transportation, human services, education and criminal justice.
Steele said he favors allowing legal abortions only in the case of rape, incest or when the mother's life is endangered.
District 21 comprises the northern third of Davis County: Clearfield, Sunset, Layton areas north of 1000 North, Layton areas west of Angel Street, Syracuse, West Point, Clinton and South Weber.
Longtime GOP senator Haven Barlow has passed his most difficult re-election test, beating a Republican challenger in the primary on Sept. 11. Now Barlow, 68, faces Libertarian candidate Glen W. Hunt, 66, in the general election.
Barlow is opposed to removing the sales tax from food immediately and completely, as the ballot initiative calls for. He said he'd consider such a reduction if it were done gradually, over time. "My personal preference is that property taxes, not sales taxes, be reduced," said Barlow, who has been in the Senate more than 30 years.
Hunt wants the food tax removed, saying "the use of this tax is not a constitutional function of government."
Hunt says his first priority is elimination of the Utah Transit Authority, which he says is an illegal arm of government. "If we got rid of the UTA and the Winter Olympic funding there would be plenty of funds left over." He favors returning the estimated $150 million surplus to residents. "After all, it is really an overcharge."Barlow said that if the food tax passes, he doesn't know exactly what he'd recommend. "Some reduction in services, depending on the surplus, is the best we can hope for."
Barlow says the $150 million surplus should be spent on textbooks and computers for schools, the second phase of the Gunnison prison and, if possible, used to avoid borrowing to finance new state buildings.
Hunt said that while he personally is opposed to abortion for any reason, it is not the business of government to make such decisions. "It's up to the (woman's) church and husband" to have a say, no one else.
Barlow didn't give his personal feelings but said that if the U.S. Supreme Court allows states to control abortions, the Legislature certainly will.
He said the major problem facing Utah is the continued demand for more education money combined with the need to make the tax base grow.
Hunt says government has become unjust "by favoring some special interests over others. Government can't do everything for everyone. There isn't enough money available even if we were taxed at 100 percent. The state should return to its intent: protecting our rights."
District 22 includes portions of Bountiful and West Bountiful north of 500 South between 500 West and 1100 West, Centerville, Farmington, Fruit Heights, Kaysville, and Layton south of 1000 North.
John P. Holmgren, 56, is seeking re-election and running unopposed.
The Republican from Bear River City, Box Elder County, said that if a constitutional amendment banning the burning of the American flag passes Congress he would vote to ratify such an amendment.
"I think there's more meaning to the flag than just a piece of cloth," he said. "I think it's an absolute insult that we'd allow anyone to burn the flag."
He said one of the biggest problems facing state government is lack of adequate health programs and health care in the state. He said he has suggested legislation that would provide a minimum health plan for low-income residents who can't afford care.
Holmgren said that although he believes sales tax on food is "very regressive," he opposes the initiative that would remove the tax because it would have too big of an impact on social services, human services, health services and higher education.
"I can't find anywhere where I could make up for the loss from that fund," he said, explaining that all funding for state programs would have to be adjusted.
Holmgren, who owns a small farm, is chairman of the Human Services and Health Appropriations Committee. He has been a state senator for six years and also served as a county commissioner and a member of the Bear River City Council. He also served on the state Board of Water Resources.
District 24 comprises all of Box Elder County plus Hyrum, Wellsville, Paradise, Millville, River Heights, Mendon, Providence and Avon in Cache County.
Sen. Alarik Myrin, 44, is running unopposed.
The Republican senator from Altamont, Duchesne County, was a state representative for three terms and is about to complete his first term as a senator.
Myrin said that although he voted for a resolution encouraging an amendment banning burning or desecration of the American flag, he now believes that it is a dead issue. Because of that, he would not vote to ratify an amendment to the Constitution.
The senator said he opposes the initiative to remove the sales tax on food. "This tax lets people with large families help on education and other funding," he said.
But should voters decide to remove the tax, Myrin said, across-the-board reductions would have to be implemented, and supplemental and one-time projects such as highway improvements would have to be cut. Utah Transit Authority services would have to be cut and funding for the Utah Winter Olympics would need to be reduced.
When asked what he believes is the major problem facing state government, he said "infrastructure, education and Social Security funding." He said efficiency, innovation and current tax revenues should meet the needs.
District 26 includes Park City and the Uintas in Summit County; the East Carbon City area in Carbon County; and all of Wasatch, Duchesne, Uintah and Daggett counties.