Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
Incumbent Rep. John Curtis and his challenger in the 3rd Congressional District, Chris Herrod, took part in a Friday afternoon debate on KSL News Radio.
The debate was moderated by Boyd Matheson and Maria Shilaos from KSL. Each candidate had two minutes for an opening speech and one minute for a question and answer. Shilaos said the purpose of the debate was to allow the candidates to talk more about the topics and solutions they are in favor of rather than against.
The main topics of debate were election security, drought, inflation, Roe v. Wade and improving background checks when buying firearms.
Election security is on the minds of many voters, with some wondering if their vote will count in this election or any other. Candidates were asked how the public should know their votes will count.
Herrod responded first and explained that he was old-fashioned, saying he believed election procedures should follow the constitution and disagreed with mail-in voting.
Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
“I believe in the Constitution,” Herrod said. “I believe that the election, according to the Constitution, is supposed to take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and yet we have now gone to vote by mail. There are other things that extended the election by two months. I’m a same day, in person ballot, voter ID guy. If you understand statistics, you can take random samples and get a very good idea of whether the election is secure. People don’t trust the system, and there’s a lot of mistrust on both sides right now, and we need to get back to basics.
Curtis talked about what he thinks shouldn’t be done, which is the federalization of elections. He said the federalization of elections has been the buzz in Washington, DC, all year.
“The Founders were very wise with what they put in the Constitution, that elections should be held at the state level, and there’s a lot of wisdom in that,” Curtis said.
According to dryness.gov, Utah has been experiencing a drought of varying severity for years. Many Utahans have raised concerns with both candidates about what needs to be done to protect Utah’s water.
Curtis called this situation “everything on deck” where individuals and cities can better conserve and plan and where government can get more involved in water lawsuits and funding for water projects.
Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
Herrod said he believes state officials are in the best position to decide how to protect Utah’s water.
“I don’t want the federal government to say how we should use our water,” he said. “I was in Blanding recently and had a conversation with a government official there. He showed me pictures of new technologies where their crops were getting the same amount of growth with 3% water usage. So there are these new technologies that we can use.
Shilaos said most Americans cite economic inflation as the biggest problem and cited statistics showing gasoline prices are up 8.6% from a year ago. She asked the candidates what they thought was the role of Congress in reducing inflation.
Curtis said he believed Republicans taking over the House was a crucial part of reducing inflation because they would stop wasteful spending. He said the trillions of dollars spent by the federal government more than a year ago were “pouring gasoline into the fire of inflation.”
“Since then, this administration has done everything it can to keep pumping money into the economy, including things like canceling student debt,” Curtis said. “That’s why it’s so important for Republicans to take back the House.”
Herrod also mentioned cutting wasteful spending and keeping the federal government limited.
“Republicans are almost as much to blame as Democrats,” he said. “You look recently and we spent $40 million on Ukraine, and we continue to fund the Ministry of Education and other ministries that I don’t think are necessary, so we have to go back to the Constitution.”
Another hot topic is the Supreme Court’s possible decision to overturn Roe v. Wade of 1973 which ensured the protection of women’s abortion rights. Candidates were asked how they plan to support women and families if Roe v. Wade was canceled.
Herrod said he would be extremely happy if Roe v. Wade was canceled. It supports each controlling state, not the federal government.
“I know there are a number of private organizations that are ready to step in and help women who find themselves in this situation, single and pregnant,” he said. “So I look forward to the community at large to meet that need.”
Curtis said he recognizes Utah doesn’t have enough recourse for women at risk of having an unwanted pregnancy. He also acknowledged a lack of mental health and healthcare resources for women.
“I think it’s really important that we take a deep look at ourselves and say, ‘Look, if that’s the law of the land, what comes with that is a huge responsibility to help people with these kids,’ Curtis said.
Elaborating on the subject, Shilaos said that many women think they are penalized by having to pay the price for birth control, unlike men.
Curtis said that as a 65-year-old man, he doesn’t know much about the cost of birth control, but he’ll have whatever conversation is needed to bring abortions down to zero.
Herrod reiterated his belief that this issue would always be best handled at the state level. He suggested that religious beliefs could affect how each state decides how to deal with the issue.
“My religious beliefs don’t have a problem with birth control, but there are other religions that do,” he said. “Until you’ve seen that happen, especially with the Catholic Church, and balancing those issues, I think it’s best done at the state level.”
Although the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 21 dead, happened almost a month ago, it is the most recent example of why many people believe that stricter restrictions on firearms are necessary. Each naysayer shared their thoughts on improving background investigations and/or waiting periods for people trying to buy a gun.
Herrod acknowledged that it was an 18-year-old responsible for the Uvalde shooting and pointed out that the United States also asks 18-year-olds to fight foreign wars.
“For me, the difficulty I have is that we allow an 18-year-old to go and fight a foreign war for us and then he can’t come back and buy a shotgun, I have a hard time with it,” he said. “I believe it’s best determined at the state level.”
Herrod went on to say that he wouldn’t want to punish those who own guns and handle them responsibly.
Curtis said he would not be able to make a decision on either restriction option as he would like to see the data, but claimed there was none.
“You don’t have the data to make those decisions, and that’s really unfortunate,” Curtis said. “Just a few years ago, the federal government actually banned federal funds from being spent on studying firearms, and in order for me to make a decision on what you’re talking about, I need to see some data.”