Deseret Morning News questionnaire responses from 2nd Congressional District candidate Jim Matheson, Democrat.

1. In general, what are the two major issues facing the United States and your specific House district today and how would you address them?

Keeping Americans safe and securing the future for our children are major issues for my district and for my country. Providing children a good education, economic opportunity and secure and safe neighborhoods, including the "virtual" neighborhood online are essential to me. I've demonstrated my ability to cross party lines in order to achieve progress on major issues.

2. Would you over the next two years in office ever vote for a tax increase? Yes. No. Explain.

I don't foresee it.

3. Before the United States invaded Iraq, did you favor or oppose the U.S. taking new military action in the country?

I voted for the authorization of force, as a final option for the president, should diplomatic efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein fail.

4. In your opinion, what should the U.S. now do in the Iraqi war? (Please be specific: should we withdraw immediately, set a time-line for withdrawal, stay-the-course as President Bush advocates, etc.?)

We all want our troops to return home from Iraq as soon as possible. I oppose setting an arbitrary deadline for withdrawal. I oppose calls for an immediate withdrawal. I support having Congress clearly delineate the conditions that, if met, would permit a U.S. withdrawal. We need an honest assessment of what is working and what is not working and what needs to change in terms of strategy. Other countries in the region need to be involved. Success should include not just a military role, but also a plan for political, diplomatic and economic success.

5. Should Democrats take control of the U.S. House (U.S. Senate in the Hatch/Ashdown race) after the November elections, predict three things that will happen over the next two years because of the power shift.

I would hope for more balanced budgets; the end of funding for the design and development of new nuclear weapons; and the adoption of a long-term research and development program to wean us from our dependence on foreign oil.

6. Considering that the U.S. budget will be in deficit again, do you favor or oppose making the current tax cuts permanent?

I have voted to make some tax cuts permanent, such as fixing the marriage penalty, protecting the child tax credit, and repealing the estate tax. It makes sense to allow small businesses and families to make proper planning decisions. Deficit-reduction requires numerous budget reforms that I support, such as reinstating budget rules that say before you can add new spending, or cut revenue, you must show how you are going to pay for it, the line-item veto, spending caps and a balanced budget amendment.

7. Please give your specific stands on the following issues, which some term as moral issues:

— Stem cell research. I voted for HR810 — legislation that allows federal funding for stem cell research within narrow limits and under strict ethical guidelines.

— Cloning of human cells. I voted to ban human cloning.

— Abortion. I voted to ban partial-birth abortion; I voted for parental notification before a minor can cross state lines for an abortion; I voted for greater federal protection for pregnant women who are victims of crime.

— Capital punishment. I support capital punishment.

— Same-sex marriage. I voted for federal legislation that would amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. I supported the amendment to the Utah Constitution that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

8. Specifically say how you would "solve" the immigration problem in the short and long term, what programs would you being, what would you do with the current 11 million estimated illegal immigrants now in the U.S.?

Immigration reform relies upon better enforcement and a fairer immigration system. I have voted for strengthening our borders, hiring more border agents, constructing border fencing and enhancing technology to track visitor entry. I oppose amnesty.

9. What is the one area where you see a real difference between you and your major party opponent?

I am not a "rubber stamp" for any political party. I look at each issue on its merits and then I vote according to what's in the best interest of Utahns. Mine is an independent voice for putting Utah first every day.

10. Responses to questions from Republican candidate Lavar Christensen:

1. You have said, "Harry Reid makes me proud to be a western Democrat." Why do you believe it would be good for Utah and America for Sen. Harry Reid and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to become the majority leaders in Congress?

As a graduate of Utah State University, Senator Reid has close Utah ties and brings Western values and a commonsense approach to Washington. He chairs the Mormon Democratic Caucus in Congress. Sen. Reid stands with me in fighting against the resumption of nuclear weapons testing and against the East Coast dumping its radioactive garbage on the West.

2. Why did you join in the unanimous Democrat vote against a $40 billion reduction in the budget deficit when that bill also specifically encourages development of our oil and energy resources in Utah?

Only in Washington, D.C., would legislation that increases the deficit be referred to as "deficit reduction." The proposal would actually have increased the federal deficit by several billion dollars. Along with that dismal prospect, it proposed deep cuts in student loan programs, Medicaid, support for states trying to collect back child support from "deadbeat dads" and funding for foster care. This was not an honest attempt to balance the federal budget, unlike the strong budget enforcement reforms that I have put forward along with my fellow Blue Dog Democrats.