By KELLEY RADUNICH
Health insurance and the family are priority issues for District 61 this year, said Republican incumbent Margaret Dayton. Her challenger, however, Independent American Brian Light, said he prefers taking a more general approach to the problems facing the district.
Dayton, 49, has been involved with either revamping or disposing of the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, a proposal passed by the legislature last year. The CHIPs program provides low income children with health care, funded by federal money, Medicaid money and a “sick” tax.
Dayton opposes this sick tax, which is hidden in patients’ hospital bills and has increased more than 700 percent in three years.
“There are almost 800 taxing entities between local, federal and state governments, and now we’re taxing sickness,” she said.
Dayton said she feels something must be done about the existing tax, whether it involves reworking the program to be funded another way or getting rid of the program altogether.
“In (the next) 10 years we already know that the funds will be cut off. What do we say to those who are dependent on the CHIPs program at that point?” Dayton said.
Dayton said her belief in the importance of strong families supports her views on tax issues like these and others.
“I’m opposed to same-sex marriages, abortion, anything that weakens the family. I try to have that as my backdrop for decision-making,” she said.
Dayton is concerned with the heavy tax burden placed on women in order to maintain government programs.
“I would never legislate that women stay home, but as it stands, we’re legislating that she can’t,” Dayton said. “Women have to go to work just to make ends meet.”
“I’d like women to have the option of being a stay-at-home mom,” she said.
While Dayton has chosen to debate specific issues like taxes and family well-being, her opponent, 39-year-old Brian Light, said he is purporting “an overall agenda of trying to stay on general terms.”
“I’m not going to lash out on any individual issues. If the people of this district decide to elect me, then I’ll deal with what the individual people (of the district) want,” Light said.
Light, however, mirrors Dayton’s conservatism and concern for the future of the family.
“I’m sticking with a conservative approach and keeping the focus on a family basis and away from a government basis,” he said.
Light said he believes the government activity currently happening on a state level is not dealing with the proper principles.
“The people running the show right now are pounding on facts that deal with individual issues. When it comes down to voting on a particular issue, my position will probably be against the view everyone else takes,” he said.
Light said his primary reason for running is to give the people in the area of south Orem and north Provo a choice.
“By running, I’m keeping the Independent American party on the ballot,” he said.