This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart and state Sen. Luz Robles again waged a friendly, respectful debate Thursday in their 2nd Congressional District race, but outlined sharp contrasts on such issues as Washington gridlock, creating a greater Canyonlands national monument, health care and climate change.
But what seemed to strike the two is how nice they are to each other in a time of gridlock and hard-hitting politics.
"I think the people of Utah appreciate that" friendly tone, Stewart said in Thursday's debate on the Doug Wright Show on KSL Newsradio. "It's been a great honor," Robles added, to "have a civil race."
Both said such action and tone shows they have the skills needed to end Washington gridlock.
"In Utah, if you are a Democrat, you better be able to be effective and work with the other side of the aisle if you want to make things happen and be able to compromise," Robles said. She says her work in the GOP-controlled Legislature shows she can do that, and that is what Washington needs.
Stewart said, "I have worked in a bipartisan way on very contentious issues" but said Senate Democrats have been unwilling to work with the GOP-controlled U.S. House, and that is what is causing Washington gridlock.
The 2nd District encompasses all of Salt Lake City, but combines it with much more conservative areas, including southern Davis County and large swaths of rural Utah running south all the way to St. George.
Candidates disagreed about whether it would be wise for President Barack Obama to create a new national monument in the greater Canyonlands area.
Stewart said his "great fear" is that Obama would "create a 1.8 million-acre national monument in Utah without coming here, talking with us, understanding what our concerns are … and instead imposing it with a mandate from Washington."
Robles questioned those concerns.
"Tourism is our No. 1 money maker," and much of it comes from national parks and monuments here, she said. "I don't see why a monument couldn't be another effective piece of our revenue and tourism. So I welcome the idea of having more of that, and creating more of Utah being the place to come."
They also differed on the Affordable Care Act.
"This is the worst piece of legislation written in generations," Stewart said. "I think we have to start over on this" by repealing it and passing different reform.
Robles said the law is not perfect, "but it is moving in the right direction. More people are covered now than we have ever seen in this nation." She said it should be retained, but improved.
On environmental issues, Robles said, "Climate change is real. It's happening and it's impacting our way of life." She said the United States should step up as a global leader to reduce impacts.
Stewart said nobody knows how much of climate change is caused by mankind. Answers are needed before major action occurs because "it's going to cost trillions of dollars to implement some of the policies that have been suggested, which cost each man, woman and child in Utah hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year."
The debate Thursday was the second that the two have held. They faced one another earlier in a forum sponsored by the Utah Debate Commission.