Every seat in the Karen Gail Miller Conference Center was filled Monday as Ben McAdams and Congresswoman Mia Love debated issues and problems that plague Utah, their district, and the rest of the country.
Salt Lake Community College President Deneece Huftalin gave the opening remarks, citing the importance of educating voters of the 4th Congressional District about their candidates while also putting an emphasis on civility in politics.
Chase Larson, executive vice president of the SLCC Student Association, said both candidates seemed “very calm and collected” during the debate. He added, “I think Mia Love came out a little more on the attack, but she was also defending herself.”
While a majority of questions centered around national issues, candidates responded to a few local topics, including Utah’s air quality and medical cannabis.
When asked what they would do to improve Utah’s air quality, both candidates replied with unspecific answers that only seemed to attack one another.
“It seems like there’s only one choice: you’re either for the environment or for energy,” Love said. “I believe the two can come together.”
McAdams was also not entirely clear on how exactly he would help the air quality; and later in the debate, he accused Love of soliciting funds from oil companies, saying, “Unlike my opponent, I would never take money from big oil.”
The only question that the candidates shared similar views on was whether or not they will personally be voting for Proposition 2.
“Yes, I am going to vote for Prop 2,” McAdams said firmly.
Love didn’t say whether or not she was voting for it, but gave some evidence of support by saying she has previously supported medical cannabis research bills and bills to reschedule cannabis from the Schedule 1 category.
“I have long supported medical marijuana out of compassion,” she said.
The rest of the questions were common in political debates, focusing on paying the national debt, fixing social security, and immigration. One question that was asked related to the newly started trade war with China.
Both candidates seemed to talk about fixing and renegotiating trade deals if they harm Americans. McAdams pointed to the newly imposed tariffs on China as something to fix.
“I do not support the tariffs imposed by the President,” he said.
Both of the candidates provided a great energy and compassion, while also remaining professional and composed.
Read our 4th Congressional District election article to learn more about where each candidate stands on other key issues.
Photo gallery by Elijah Earl