Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, should be spending more time promoting growth in the 2nd congressional district, his Republican opponent said at a press conference.

"On every major issue, when it came time to go to bat for growth and opportunity for the working men and women of Salt Lake - where was the other candidate?" Republican Richard Snelgrove asked.Standing outside the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce offices, he said Owens had spent his time "proposing wolves in Wyoming, bird refuges on Utah Lake and 5 million more acres of wilderness."

Snelgrove identified the major issues as R/UDAT, a group of planners who visited downtown Salt Lake City in June; the expansion of the Hercules plant; and the proposed Ski Interconnect that would link the area's ski resorts.

But in a telephone interview, Owens countered that he brought the chairman of a House subcommittee on transportation financing to Salt Lake on Wednesday to announce an appropriation of at least $5 million for a light-rail system.

Owens also said he had devoted much of his time to the Central Utah Project, which is considered essential to ensuring there is enough water to accommodate future growth.

"A congressman ought to spend time doing those things he can do rather than just give him opinions on local issues," Owens said. He noted that a congressman also has an obligation to deal with national issues.