Two first-time candidates are looking to replace the most powerful woman in the Utah Legislature.
Republicans David N. Cox and Steven W. Roll are vying for the House District 56 seat formerly held by Christine Fox-Finlinson, who resigned after getting married and moving out of the area. She had served in the Legislature since 1987 and was the House majority leader.Cox said he's using the campaign slogan "mainstream not extreme" to distinguish himself from the GOP's far right. Roll said if the phrase is directed at him, it's inaccurate because he's conservative but not ultraconservative. The two candidates beat out five other Republicans at the state convention. Roll received about 48 percent of delegates' votes to Cox's 30 percent.
Fox-Finlinson's successor will have some big shoes to fill as the Legislature tackles some major education, growth and tax issues next year. Lawmakers might also address the sticky concealed weapons law. Democrat George F. Tripp, Independent American Sheila E. Heindel and Independent John R. Parker will join the Republican nominee on the November ballot.
House District 56 includes Lehi, Cedar Valley and northern American Fork, generally north of Main Street. It also covers unincorporated areas between American Fork and Lehi.
David N. Cox (R)
Address: 7812 N. 8350 West, Utah County
Occupation: Lehi Elementary School teacher
Personal: Master's in educational administration from Brigham Young University; wife Zina and seven children.
Experience: Area and legislative district chairman; Utah County GOP executive committee
Should state law be changed to allow certain entities to ban all weapons, including legally permitted concealed weapons, from their premises? "I believe that we have the right to bear arms, but that's all the Constitution says. It doesn't say we have the right to bring concealed weapons into a church," Cox said. Although he said churches and public schools should be able to ban weapons, colleges and universities might be different because they're populated by adults.
Do you favor or oppose eliminating sales tax on food? Cox said that would be his first choice of a tax to eliminate if the state has other sources of funding to make up for the lost revenue.
Should state or local tax dollars be used to preserve open spaces from development? Cox said he could support Gov. Leavitt in his attempt to preserve open space, but he'd want to know all of the ramifications. "I'd have to look at a specific bill," he said.
Do you favor or oppose class size reduction funds for junior high schools? "I just believe junior high schools need help," he said, noting the Legislature was one vote shy last session of appropriating $5 million to reduce class size.
Steven W. Roll (R)
Address: 511 W. 2375 North, Lehi
Occupation: Sales and marketing at Alexander's Digital Printing
Personal: Political science degree from University of Utah; wife Ursula and five children.
Experience: Lehi planning commissioner; former intern with Utah Taxpayers Association.
Should state law be changed to allow certain entities to ban all weapons, including legally permitted concealed weapons, from their premises? "It's a tough call because the Second Amendment doesn't make exceptions," Roll said, adding good sense should tell people not to carry guns into churches. Weapons shouldn't be allowed in grade schools, Roll said, but he doesn't have a problem with a security officer carrying a gun in junior high and high schools. And in colleges and universities, he said, "What's the point of carrying it?"
Do you favor or oppose eliminating sales tax on food? Roll said he favors leaving the tax in place and offering an annual credit based on family size and consumption.
Should state or local tax dollars be used to preserve open spaces from development? "I think that depends on the needs of the people," he said. Roll said preserving open land shouldn't preclude people from developing their property. He doesn't favor open space if there's no benefit to residents.
Do you favor or oppose class size reduction funds for junior high schools? "I don' think so," he said, adding the money should be used to train teachers to be more effective.