Skip to main content

Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Utah’s 4th Congressional District Debate


As I have learned throughout college there are a variety of different kinds of learners. There are individuals who learn by watching, listening, reading, and by doing. Out of all these ways I believe there’s no better way to learn than to be at the heart of the action. With going to Utah’s 4th Congressional District Debate I wasn’t only able to apply what I have learned in government class, but I was also able to gain a greater understanding of the way politics work. During the debate I brought with me a notebook and a pencil to write down all the things I noticed about each candidate. From my note taking I was able to analyze what each candidate was supporting, evaluate their behavior, and come up with a personal opinion of my own.

This debate was broken up into multiple sections in which each candidate would have to explain how they would support each issue. The majority of the issues were stated by the moderator with a hand full coming from Salt Lake Community College students. These issues contained topics such as national security, poverty, education, environmental problems, candidate competency, and law enforcement. What I took from listening to the two candidates was a broad line of opposing views and agreements.

The strongest point that stood out to me about the United States House Representative Republican Mia Love was her emphasis on supporting the military by increasing funding and proving them with the “tools” to do their job. Some of the highlighted points from Love included her belief that raising the minimum wage would affect the economy in a negative way. She predicts that this would cause the unemployment rate to rise. As opposed to Owens belief in public education, she hopes to deal with improving education by opening up more options for students such as online schooling. She stated that the most important work as a representative is done locally by representing the people and that she wants to deal with Utah’s poor air quality locally.

The strongest point that stood out to me about Democrat Doug Owens was how much he supported education. He stated that his number one goal is to put more federal dollars in education. He believes that public education can help rebuild the economy and create jobs. Some of the other highlights that stood out to me about Owens was that he does not support “boots on the ground” but rather hopes to fight the war on terror through giving the police the necessary training and resources. He wants to deal with poverty by lowering corporate tax rates and by raising the minimum wage. As opposed to Love he plans to deal with climate issues on an international level where all states have the same requirements. Also Owens proposed the “Ethics Program” hoping to get Congress to work more. He believes that Congressmen are overly paid, which is a waste of tax dollars.

Toward the beginning of the debate both candidates were asked if they would endorse their party’s presidential candidates. At the beginning neither candidate would give a direct answer, but rather skirted around the question. After being asked again by the moderator, Love stated that she would not endorse Donald Trump due to her opposing values. I feel that there was a lot of tension in the room after Love’s statement. Owens did say he would endorse Hilary Clinton, but only after being asked a second time. As I attempted to evaluate each candidate, I couldn’t help to notice that many times neither candidate would give a direct answer. I feel that this could be a technique that politicians use in debates to extend their time in answering a question or to avoid negative reflected answers.

In my observation between the two candidates I feel that Owens had great solutions and was more prepared for his responses, but I felt that the responses that Love gave were more realistic and from experience. What I liked most about going to this debate was a chance to listen in and make judgments based on my own values and beliefs. There were many favorable and unfavorable highlights from each candidate, but from sitting in at the heart of the action it is reassuring to know that by voting I can make a difference.



Salt Lake Community College

4600 South Redwood Road Salt Lake City, UT 84123
Student Services hours: M - F : 7am -7pm
Enrollment Info: 801-957-4073 |