Secretary of Interior Donald Ho-del advised Utahns to vote for Gov. Norm Bangerter if they want a government that continues to balance Utah's environmental needs with the need for energy and jobs.
Hodel, Bangerter and Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, held a press conference Saturday morning at the Governor's Mansion to announce Hodel's endorsement of Bangerter.Earlier, Hodel delivered a similar message at a breakfast on behalf of Republican congressional candidate Richard Snelgrove, who is challenging Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah.
Wilson and Bangerter differ on environmental issues the way the national Republican and Democratic parties differ, Hodel said. Democrats believe the country must sacrifice development and energy to preserve the environment. The Republicans believe it is possible to have both through thoughtful, deliberate decisions, Hodel said.
If Wilson is elected governor, "he will have to march much more closely to the national Democratic tune," Hodel said. Wilson will adopt Democratic environmental policies similar to those in the Carter years, Hodel warned. He noted that during Carter's administration, "We ended up with a sagebrush rebellion because the people in the West simply could not tolerate what was going on."
Hodel cited Robert Redford's support for Wilson as evidence that Wilson would be controlled by liberal environmentalists should he be elected governor.
"If you elect a liberal Democratic governor, he can't cut himself off from the base of support the Red-ford group provides," Hodel said. Wilson can't afford to offend the group that helped get him elected.
Garn concurred, noting that environmentalists wanted to take the irrigation requirements out of the Central Utah Project bill.
"If the irrigation parts are lost, municipal and industrial water rates will double in Salt Lake County," Garn said. Wilson is supported by environmentalists who do not have the best interest of Utahns at heart.
"I can say very candidly that Ted Wilson and Wayne Owens cannot be elected if they run on their records. If the people of Utah forget the rhetoric of both of them, they will find out how liberal their records have been."
Utah is a conservative state that wants responsible, limited government, Garn said.
Garn used the press conference to criticize the Utah Education Association for snubbing Bangerter at its fall convention. "To refuse an incumbent governor the opportunity to speak at the UEA convention I think is incredibly unfair." The snub was not worthy of UEA's stature, he said.
"It's too bad, particularly when the reason the governor has had a difficult campaign is for a tax increase for education. It seems to like that's biting the hand that feeds you."