While Democrat Gunn McKay said Utah isn't getting its fair share of military projects, Republican congressional incumbent Jim Hansen said military projects in Utah are expanding faster than ever.
The pair, both candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat, traded barbs Wednesday afternoon during the Bountiful Area Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting."I am concerned that we are not getting sufficient of that (defense) mission in this state as compared to the expenditure on the federal level. Over the last eight years, the defense budget has nearly tripled. As a percentage of that, we haven't been getting our share," McKay said.
Hansen disagreed, saying the announcement of new biological weapon testing and destruction facilities at Dugway Proving Grounds, buildings at Hill Air Force Base and the strong possibility of an electronic battlefield being built in the state are signs that a fair share of military projects are coming to the state.
During speeches to the business people, McKay and Hansen disagreed on the economic progress of the state and nation during the Reagan administration. Hansen maintained that the Reagan administration has brought healthy business growth and an increase in jobs.
"We need policies not of recoil and stagnation, but of looking out and reaching out. I see a national debt that's accumulated more in the last eight years than the last 200. And we talk about how the jobs have grown, and what I ask is `for whom?' when we are 48th in per capita income nationally," McKay asked.
The candidates also disagreed on the role of the federal government in solving the state's education crisis. The federal government should spend money to help correct the state's education woes because of the large amount of federal land in the state, McKay said. Hansen disagreed. Federal involvement always costs more and comes with strings attached, he said.
During a question and answer session, McKay said he would vote against the proposed tax initiatives. Hansen said he has no opinion yet because he hasn't studied the issue enough.
Hinting at Hansen's strong support for President Reagan, McKay said he would represent the people of Utah and not the president. He also said voters should elect him so they could have a voice in the Democratic-controlled Congress.