In one of Utah’s closer races, Democrat Shireen Ghorbani challenges Republican incumbent Chris Stewart for control of the state’s 2nd District Congressional seat.
The 2nd District encompasses the southwestern part of the state as well as parts of the Salt Lake Valley. Stewart has held the office since 2013 and has run on a fairly traditional conservative platform.
The Globe sent identical questionnaires to both candidates. Stewart’s campaign declined to fill theirs out and said in an email, “At this point we would direct you to our website to see where we stand on a number of important issues, as well as follow us on FB or Twitter.”
Here is a breakdown of where the candidates stand on popular election issues.
One issue on many voters’ minds is public land management and who should be in charge of Utah’s lands.
Stewart’s website says, “I believe Utah is the most beautiful state in this country, and its lands must be cared for by those local leaders and citizens that know it best.”
He supports “responsible development” of natural gas, clean coal, and renewable energy but says he does not “support privatizing or selling all of our public lands.”
Ghorbani advocates for the preservation of public lands and the National Parks and Monuments that reside within them.
Greatly concerned with the recent reductions to some of Utah’s National Monuments, she says these actions set “a dangerous precedent for the most beloved places in our country and cannot stand uncontested.”
“Our public lands are our national treasure,” says Ghorbani. “The thought of a future where my son and our children’s only connection to this pristine and protected land is photographs and stories of what it was like before we sold it off for short-term gain is unacceptable to me.”
Another issue this election season is how representatives plan on working with President Donald Trump and his administration.
“This administration does not represent the very best of who we are as Americans,” says Ghorbani. “From national security, to corruption, to taking care of people, I know we can do better.”
She made clear that she was willing to work across the aisle over issues Utahns care about.
“I am ready to work for you,” says Ghorbani.
Stewart’s recent stance on the current administration hasn’t been made clear, with his website not mentioning anything about the issue.
Recently, Stewart has made few statements about the administration, but in a 2016 address to the Hinckley Institute of Politics, said “Donald Trump does not represent Republican ideals; he is our Mussolini.”
Stewart later declared he would vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton.
Also on the ballot this year is Proposition 2, which would legalize medical cannabis in Utah. Ghorbani says she supports the initiative.
“Personally, I will be voting for Proposition 2 as I would like to see an alternative to opioids that are killing far too many of our fellow Utahns and to help patients in pain,” says Ghorbani.
Stewart has said little on the measure, but earlier this year signed onto a statement from the group Drug Safe Utah opposing the initiative. He has made no further statement on the matter.
You can read questionnaire responses from Ghorbani and other candidates on our website.