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The voters of Senate District 2 in Salt Lake City are fortunate indeed. Regardless of which major party candidate they elect to represent them, they will have an articulate advocate in the Utah Legislature.

The Democrat, Scott McCoy, is a lawyer who was appointed early last year to fill the seat when Paula Julander retired. The Republican, Joe Jarvis, is a medical doctor, former State Health Officer of Nevada and chairman of the Utah Health Policy Project.

The Tribune's Editorial Board recommends Jarvis because of his moderate Republican views and his expertise in health policy. The failure of the last Legislature to provide dental and vision benefits to the most vulnerable Medicaid recipients during an unprecedented budget surplus highlighted the need for a strong voice there for health-care reform. Jarvis would provide that voice within the caucus that controls Capitol Hill.

There is not a physician in the Legislature now, and Jarvis would fill that void.

The only drawback we see to our recommendation is that if voters elect Jarvis, McCoy will no longer be in the Legislature. It's a shame that voters cannot send both men into the next Utah Senate, but that's not an option.

McCoy has carried Sen. Julander's long battle to force health insurers to cover contraceptives. He proposes a state constitutional amendment recognizing all people's right to health care. He would outlaw smoking in cars when children are passengers, and he would create a task force to study safe disposal of toxic materials in consumer electronics.

At 36, McCoy is the youngest member of the current Senate and an openly gay man. He helped to lead the fight against the Utah constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage. Because both young people and gays are under-represented in the Legislature, McCoy's departure would be unfortunate.

However, there is another openly gay member of the Legislature, but no doctor, and specifically, no doctor with Jarvis' expertise in health-care reform. He led the effort to allow small business owners to buy into the Public Employees Health Plan, a way to reduce the number of uninsured Utahns. We want him to carry on that fight in the Senate.