A position in the House of Representatives once held by Jason Chaffetz is up for grabs this November.
GOP Rep. John Curtis faces Democratic challenger and Salt Lake Community College Professor, James Courage Singer. Curtis, who served as the former mayor of Provo, received his current position in a special election held in early 2017, after then-Rep. Chaffetz resigned and went to work for Fox News.
Voting for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District will take place Nov. 6, alongside all other districts in the state. The district encompasses much of Southeast Utah and includes a significant portion of Utah County.
Learn more about the candidates’ views on some of the most significant issues for voters.
One issue important to many Utahns is how we should be managing our public lands.
In an email interview, Curtis stated that if re-elected he would “preserve and protect these resources by investing in their long-term success.”
“The state and federal governments should be working together to make the best decisions possible,” says Curtis.
While this may not paint a clear picture of where Curtis stands, it should be noted that in the past, he has proposed legislation that would make commercial use of public lands more accessible.
When asked his view on public land management, Singer stated that he saw Utah’s public lands as “the last vestige of what we consider the commons.”
“We have a hard time understanding that as Americans these days, because everything is so privatized and individualized,” says Singer.
He pointed out that he himself is Native American, and in the past, tribes in Utah had worked with the federal government to protect public lands like Bears Ears. Singer says that he sees the issue as a last “point of resistance” noting that public lands are something we all own as Americans.
With how split public opinion is over the current presidential administration, many Utah citizens are interested in hearing about how their candidates would plan on working with President Trump.
Singer and Curtis share a similar view of working alongside the president while acting as watchdogs for their constituents’ values and beliefs.
Curtis made clear his stance of keeping an eye on the president while also working alongside him, as long as the president acts in the interest of his constituents.
“I’ll be the first person to express support,” says Curtis.
He also added he would be “quick to point out when tone or position isn’t consistent with Utah and our values.”
Singer expressed concern over the current administration, however.
“Even people from his own party are saying it’s hard to work with him because of what his character is like,” says Singer.
Another measure on the ballot this November is Proposition 2, which would legalize medical cannabis in Utah.
“While I haven’t joined any formal organization or coalition in outspoken opposition, I don’t plan on voting in favor this November,” says Curtis, when asked about his thoughts on the measure. “I’ve been an advocate for medical marijuana and the research needed for the states to make a decision.”
This stance is similar to many other Utah conservatives who support medical marijuana, but only if the correct research has been done and proper safeguards have been taken.
Singer’s views are best described as liberal in being that he fully supports Proposition 2.
“Marijuana seems to be helping patients,” says Singer. “In Congress, I would like make medical cannabis legal, and move towards [legalizing] recreational, too.”
These beliefs fall in line with a large portion of Americans, as a Pew Research poll suggests that 61 percent of U.S. citizens support legalizing marijuana recreationally.