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Politics & Government
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Democratic Candidates for Governor Talk Education Spending, Medicaid in Debate

Two democratic candidates for Utah governor faced off in a debate this morning. Both Mike Weinholtz and Vaughn Cooke say Utah’s majority republican political system isn’t serving the needs of everyday Utahns.

Doug Wright of KSL was co-moderator of the debate which was broadcast on KSL News radio. The candidates discussed Medicaid. When asked about the limited expansion plan the state legislature passed this year Vaughn Cooke said Republican lawmakers have put politics before people. Mike Weinholtz called the plan fiscally irresponsible, because it covers the fewest amount of people for the most expensive cost.

On education spending, Weinholtz said the legislature needs to stop raiding the K-12 education fund to pay for other items, like transportation.

“Education needs to be our first priority,” Weinholtz said. “The republicans say it’s their first priority but their actions don’t reflect that.”

Cooke said additional funding isn’t the only solution to Utah’s problems.

“But most people in this state are in favor of a tax increase if they know the money is going to go to education,” Cooke said.

Both Cooke and Weinholtz said they would support increasing the minimum wage, although Cook said any plan must be implemented in a way that is sensitive to small businesses. On guns, Weinholtz supports strengthening background checks. Cooke called the issue of gun rights and restrictions inflammatory, and declined to speak to the matter.

The candidates must win the support of 60 percent of delegates at the state party convention this weekend or face a primary. 

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