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Little Disagreement But Some Controversy During Third Congressional District Debate

Dominic Valente/Pool Photo


Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz met Democratic challenger Stephen Tryon in Utah’s Third Congressional District Debate Wednesday night at Utah Valley University in Orem.  

There wasn’t much contention between the two on stage. Moderator David Magleby pointed that out.


"Well, you’re in a lot of agreement here," Magleby said more than once during the evening.


The candidates did spar a bit when it came to the public lands initiative. Chaffetz supports the bill. Tryon said it falls short.


“First of all it’s the only bipartisan solution out there and it is a balanced approach," Chaffetz said.


Tryon responded, "From my perspective neither the governor nor congressman Chaffetz has fulfilled his constitutional obligations to protect the Native Americans in San Juan County.”


There wasn’t much disagreement on matters of college affordability or national security. But Tryon did criticize Chaffetz’s tactics as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.


Specifically, his aggressive investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email controversy.


"I think that all of this nonsense about email and the quid pro quo stuff that we watched unfold this last weekend. You’ve mischaracterized even after event," said Tryon.


"It’s the FBI that came up with the conclusion," said Chaffetz. "It was an FBI agent that said there was a quid pro quo discussion going on.”


Those same statements made headlines this week. Also in the news, Chaffetz decision to unendorse Trump. A position he reaffirmed during the debate. Yet he was unwilling to share who he’d be voting for.


"I withdrew my endorsement of Donald Trump," Chaffetz said. "I am in the never Hillary [camp]. Never ever. I think she is a liar I think she lies lies lies...the people here in Utah, we’re going to have to figure out who we are going to vote and support.”


Tryon on the other hand was confident with his endorsement.


"Absolutely I support Hillary Clinton for president," he said.


Both candidates expressed confidence in the voting process as a whole. A sentiment that seemed significant given the tone of this election year.


Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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