Welcome to the week after Labor Day - the traditional opening of the campaign season.
Gov. Norm Bangerter is saying his Democratic opponent, Ted Wilson, will promise anything to win. Wilson is saying Bangerter sits in his office too much and doesn't help rural Utah's economy.Wilson called a press conference Wednesday to talk about his plans for economic development in rural Utah. Bangerter spoke to the Utah Board of Realtors and then called a press conference of his own to talk about the Provo Canyon Road.
Bangerter campaign officials said they were a bit surprised that Wilson, who leads in the polls, came out gunning for the governor as the Labor Day Weekend kicked off the fall campaign season. It appears Wilson will keep on hammering the governor, even though Wilson leads by nearly 20 points in the polls.
Wilson said Bangerter sits in the capitol too much and doesn't travel to rural Utah except "to take credit for the opening of a new business he had nothing to do with." In his administration, he said, he'd personally be involved in rural development.
High school and college graduates have almost no chance of staying in their rural hometowns to find jobs, Wilson said. "Yes, Utah's uneployment rate is 4.7 percent (the lowest in years). But that's because so many people have left Utah to find work."
Bangerter told the Realtors: "Ted Wilson is a `promising man.' he promises not to raise taxes for four years. He promises to raise teacher pay and reduce class sizes. He promises a state-funded school loan program for college students. He promises to at least double the Travel council budget. he promises to spend $1 million on an economic study. He promises public employees a pay increase.
"But Ted hasn't explained how he'd pay for these and other promises -- except to say that he promises to double the state's debt from six to 15 years," Bangerter said.
The governor again criticized Wilson for raising taxes when he was mayor of Salt Lake City, 1976-85. "If I had done on the state level what Ted did in Salt Lake City, we'd spending $285 million more than we are today, and have a tax increase to pay for it."
In a debate last week, Bangerter asked Wilson: "Ted, where's the beef? You're all hype, no substance."
Wilson didn't care for the comparison to Walter Mondale's 1984 failed presidential campaign. Asked at his press conference if he was releasing his rural economic developement plans to show some beef, Wilson said: "We've got the beef, the substance. This is an excellent economic development plan. (The beef question by Bangerter) is a stale metaphor that doesn't apply. The beef? I've got it. And I now how to implement it better than they (Bangerter's people) do,if they even had it."
Wilson said his rural economic development plan consists of:
--The governor and lieutenant governor traveling the state more often, personally involved in rural issues.
--An 800 telephone number that rural businessmen can call to get immediate answers on state economic development issues.
--Reviving former Gov. Scott matheson's Project BOLD, an attempt to trade a million acreas of scattered state land sections for blocks of federal land.
--Establishing a statewide small business investment company, partly funded by bonding, to help underwrite loans for rural small businesses.
--Bonding to improve rural tourism through road construction and maintenance, new marinas and park improvements.
--Using "reasonable" new wilderness lands as a draw for tourists.
Wilson declined to say how much more wildreness he wants. "It must be studied and then, as governor, I would make a reasonable recommendation," he said.
He then criticized Bangerter for saying he doesn't want any more wilderness in utah. "More wilderness is coming and it's wrong for Norm to refuse to participate in the process," Wilson said.
Wilson also challenged Bangerter to take a stand on the redesigning of the Provo Canyon Road. "I favor the resident-supported compromise, with biking and hiking trails, keeping the flavor of the canyon. Why do what UDOT wants--an interstate trucking route?"
Bangerter, on his own, decided to announce Wednesday what's in store for the canyon. In an afternoon press conference Bangerter said he spports a highway design committee, the Utah Transportation Commission and the Utah Depar6tment of Transportation.
While details of the highway have yet to be decided, the route will not be ideal for truckers and traffic will be restricted to 50 mph, said Sam Taylor, transportation commissioner.
Bikers and hikers will be given separte paths away from the main road, Taylor said.
Bangerter said the plan will provide the best comprise possible between environmental and transportation interests.
"We made the determination we just could not delay building taht road any longer," Bangerter said noting he is sensitive to environmental concerns. "Everybody wanted to preserve the scenic beauty of the canyon.