Today, the ABU Education Fund released a report focused on the impacts of gerrymandering on rural Utah. The report, titled “Fair Redistricting: A Better Deal for Rural Utah,” outlines the recent history of redistricting in Utah, explains the reasoning behind our four rural-urban mixed districts, and explores the ways in which rural-urban mixed districts disadvantage rural Utahns.
This article originally appeared in Utah Policy.
The ABU Education Fund and the University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society will host a series of three general election debates this fall. The debates will be for S.D. 8, H.D. 8, and H.D. 32.
The ABU Education Fund and the John R. Park Debate Society have teamed up for the past four years to offer debates in races for the Utah Legislature, State School Board, and last year’s 3rd Congressional District special election. The League of Women Voters of Utah is a community partner in hosting these debates.
While the ABU Education Fund is the logistics organizer for the debates, all matters relating to format, substance, and moderation of the debates are controlled exclusively by the John R. Park Debate Society.
Doors will open at 6:45PM, debates will begin at 7:00PM. There will be an opportunity to meet the candidates following the debates.
What: 2018 General Election Debates
Who: ABU Education Fund, John R. Park Debate Society
|Senate District 8|
7:00 – 8:30 PM
6240 S. Longview Dr.,
Murray, UT 84107
|House District 32|
7:00 – 8:30 PM
|Lone Peak Elementary|
11515 High Mesa Dr.,
Sandy, UT 84092
|House District 8|
7:00 – 8:30 PM
|Orion Junior High|
370 W. 2000 N St.,
Harrisville, UT 84414
The above links direct to the Facebook events hosted on the ABU Education Fund Facebook page.
In addition to these debates, we worked to host additional debates featuring candidates for two of Utah’s Congressional seats but were unable to secure final agreements for those events. We are disappointed that constituents in the districts represented by Representative Stewart and Representative Love won’t have more opportunities to hear from their current and future representatives. We hope that voters do take advantage of participating in the other events to which those representatives have agreed. In anticipation of the 2020 election cycle, we will be developing a broader network of community partners to aid us in helping bring more events like these to fruition.
More information on these debates can be found here. More debates will be announced soon.
This article originally appeared at KUTV 2News (Link)
(KUTV) – The ABU Education Fund announced two Democratic primary debates in Salt Lake City and a Republican primary in Wasatch County for its 2018 Debate Series on May 11.
The ABU Education Fund will be partnering with the University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society in hosting the majority of this year’s debates. The two organizations have teamed up for the past four years to offer debates in races for the Utah Legislature, State School Board and last year’s 3rd Congressional District special election.
The Democratic Primary Debates will be held on May 29 and May 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City.
The Wasatch County Attorney Republican Primary Debate will be held on June 5 at 6:30 p.m. the Wasatch County Senior Citizens Center in Heber.
For more information, please visit betterutah.org
This article originally appeared at the Deseret News (Link)
SANDY — President Donald Trump may not have been mentioned much during a debate Friday among four of the candidates seeking to fill the vacant 3rd District seat in Congress, but he still may have had an impact.
Both Democrat Kathie Allen and the new United Utah Party’s Jim Bennett brought up the controversial GOP leader several times during the 90-minute debate as a reminder that the Republican in the race, John Curtis, supports the Trump agenda.
The debate, sponsored by the ABU Education Fund and the University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society, also included Libertarian Joe Buchman. It was held in the Eastmont Middle School auditorium and attracted several hundred people.
Curtis avoided talking about Trump, instead focusing on the successes he’s had as mayor of Provo and even referring to a fifth-grade report card that chided him for talking too much.
“Look at my record,” said the frontrunner in the district that’s considered one of the most Republican in the country, pledging to continue building unity if elected. “It begins with valuing other people’s opinions.”
Allen, a Cottonwood Heights physician, made a point of saying she is a Democrat and stands for compassion, community and cooperation. But she said she would be tough on Trump even if other Democrats in Congress aren’t.
“We haven’t talked a lot tonight about Donald Trump. But he needs to be stood up to and I’m ready to do that. I’m ready to call him out for lying, for his racist tendencies, his sexist tendencies, for his xenophobia,” Allen said.
Earlier in the debate, she referred to a tweet she’d sent out this week with side-by-side pictures of the white nationalists toting tiki torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Statute of Liberty, telling Curtis to “Pick a torch.”
Curtis’ campaign responded by saying Allen was insinuating that he was a white supremacist, “a ridiculous charge and a new level of desperation.” Curtis did not talk about the tweet during Friday’s debate.
Afterward, Curtis told reporters it wasn’t his place to “clean that up. Trump has distractions. That’s a distraction. If anybody can’t see the hypocrisy of criticizing Donald Trump for that and then doing it themselves, I don’t need to point that out.”
Another recent campaign controversy also came up Friday: a Curtis ad on Facebook urging support for building the wall sought by Trump along the U.S. border with Mexico. Curtis pulled the ad and apologized.
Bennett, the son of the late U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, said people “exploded in outrage” over the ad, especially coming from a candidate they saw as more moderate than the president.
Curtis took one of the few swings of the evening, saying too many politicians “do what Mr. Bennett has just done, which is poke and prod for divisiveness” rather than look for better ideas on immigration, including improving border security.
Post-debate, Bennett said “the specter of Trump was hanging over everything that was said. The fact that John Curtis says he supports the Trump agenda and then tries to distance himself from the specifics … is increasingly frustrating.”
He said there’s no way to separate how Utahns feel about Trump from the election. Although the president won Utah with 45 percent of the vote, it was his lowest margin of victory in the 2016 presidential race.
Allen said after the debate Trump is a focus because the GOP has not “demonstrated any ability at all to hold him accountable.” She said sending another Republican to Congress won’t make a difference, “no matter what a great guy he is.”
Curtis told reporters that when he says he supports the Trump agenda, “I’m talking about solving health care. I’m talking about solving immigration. I’m talking about tax reform.”
He said those are the issues he’s hearing from voters in the 3rd District, which includes portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties as well as Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan and Wasatch counties.
“The don’t say Trump and they don’t say (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi,” Curtis said.
Asked by reporters about Trump’s new executive order ending health care subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare, Curtis said that’s the president’s style.
“That’s a little bit of the way he negotiates and does things, right. He’s going to force Congress to do (its) job,” Curtis said. He said Congress “should be the ones embarrassed” by the failed attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
He also said difficulties in Washington, D.C., were nothing new.
“I don’t care who your president was. I don’t care what all the agendas are,” Curtis said. “It’s been far worse than this multiple times. We’ll work through this. That’s why we need to send people back there who are going to work hard.”
Buchman, who is lagging in the polls behind the other three, used his invitation to participate in the debate to talk about libertarian ideals, including freedom from government interference in people’s lives.
The special election for the remaining year of former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s term in Congress is Nov. 7. There are eight candidates vying to replace Chaffetz, who resigned June 30 and is now a Fox News contributor.
This article originally appeared in The Daily Herald (Link)
Oct 9, 2017
With elections just over a month away, Utah residents will have two opportunities to hear candidates for the open 3rd Congressional District seat make their case.
Two formal debates will be held. The first, put on by the ABU Education Fund and the John R. Park Debate Society, will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Eastmont Middle School auditorium in Sandy.
The top four polling candidates have been invited to participate, according to a press release: Republican John Curtis, Democrat Kathie Allen, United Utahn Jim Bennett and Libertarian Joe Buchman.
Each candidate will get a 3-minute introduction followed by approximately an hour of responses/rebuttal following moderator questions.
Those who wish to attend must register for tickets, which can be done at betterutah.org/cd3debate.
The second debate, sponsored by the Utah Debate Commission, will be held at Brigham Young University’s KBYU Studios from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 18, and will be hosted by David Magleby.
People who wish to attend this event in person can register for tickets at http://bit.ly/2y5J41W.Three candidates cleared the threshold for participating in that debate — Allen, Bennett and Curtis.
Questions can be submitted for this debate by visiting utahdebatecommission.org. The deadline for submitting questions is noon Friday.
This article originally appeared at The Salt Lake Tribune (Link)
In the midst of Utah’s public lands madness, much of our leaders’ rhetoric claims public lands are good for the soul, but not for the economy. Better Utah’s super volunteer, Doris Schmidt, did some extensive research and wrote up a report challenging this narrative and demonstrating just how good public lands are for our economy.
Doris found that safeguarding the environment has proven to be a singularly effective way to create jobs in Utah. Our large and growing outdoor-recreation economy dwarfs the declining coal industry, although coal is most often proposed as a way to grow jobs on public lands. The outdoor recreation economy extends beyond tourism to include manufacturing, marketing, gear sales, vehicles, equipment, and clothing used in outdoor activities. It draws new businesses to Utah in a pattern of growth that has outperformed most other job sectors.
The coal industry, in contrast, has suffered a decades-long decline with decreases in demand, the rise of alternative fuels including natural gas, and lower employment as automation replaces workers. Proposals to mine coal that lies under the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument cannot solve the fact that demand, not supply, for coal is dwindling.
However, the decline of coal does not have to mean the demise of hope for Utah’s “coal country,” however, as the transition from a coal-based economy presents a variety of opportunities for the region. Variety is the key, with diversified economies offering the greatest stability. Solar energy is likely to be part of that mix; with Utah ranked No. 2 in the nation for solar capacity installed per capita and No. 6 for total solar capacity installed, the solar industry created more new jobs in the state in 2016 than the total employed by coal.
The land itself stands as the region’s greatest economic asset, with its abundant beauty and seemingly limitless potential for outdoor recreation. Safeguarding that beauty, and maximizing the economic potential of outdoor recreation – including the goods and services that support it – can only benefit the quality of life and economic growth that bring Utah long-term prosperity.
Former Republican legislator reiterates the importance of debates for civic participation
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Salt Lake City — A series of non-partisan, legislative debates has come under fire after an e-mail exchange from Republican party leadership was leaked to the political news site UtahPolicy.com.
In the exchange, Utah GOP Chairman James Evans discouraged his Republican candidates from participating in a series of debates organized by the John R. Park Debate Society, KCPW and the ABU Education Fund, the 501(c)(3) affiliate of Alliance for a Better UTAH.
David Irvine, board member of Alliance for a Better UTAH, has released the following statement on behalf of Better UTAH and its affiliate, ABU Education Fund:
“This strikes me as a cheap way to avoid a real debate. Any candidate who has a problem appearing at a highly legitimate forum to engage in a serious way on vital public topics — with neutral rules and a neutral moderator–has no business pretending to be an advocate and a competitor in the free marketplace of ideas. Voters deserve to see and hear a real, person-to-person exchange. We need more Lincoln-Douglas-style debates, not less. The Republican Chair is doing GOP candidates a huge disservice.”
The Utah Policy article can be found here: http://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/3241-republican-chair-calls-proposed-debates-a-set-up
Communications Director, Alliance for a Better UTAH
801.664.9751 | firstname.lastname@example.org
ABU Education Fund | www.abueducationfund.org
ABU Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing a strong, educational voice by creating resources that advance civic engagement and good governance.