By LINDSAY PALMER
Utah State Senate Minority Leader Scott Howell announced Tuesday that he will run against Sen. Orrin Hatch for his Congressional seat.
Howell said he chose to run for U.S. Senate because he can take the things he has learned in the Utah Senate back to Washington, D.C.
Howell said he has learned a lot from the district he has been serving in, District 8 in Salt Lake City, which represents the diversity of Utah.
“We’ve got the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor,” Howell said. “I have listened to people and what they want.”
Howell said he will run an aggressive campaign about families, the economy and the future, not the past. He also said the issues that will develop during the election shouldn’t be addressed as partisan issues.
“When you talk about gun safety, it’s not about Democrats, Republicans or Independents, but about common sense issues like background checks at gun shows,” Howell said.
Howell would like to do away with the national debt and spend money wisely, putting some of it away for future use, he said.
“Now is the perfect time to assess all taxes in the U.S., before it becomes a big problem,” Howell said.
Another major issue in his campaign is the use of technology.
“We’ve created a digital divide between the haves and the have-nots,” Howell said. “Technology should be available and utilized by all Americans.”
Howell said he is not in favor of Internet taxation, but he is willing to listen to other opinions and come up with an entirely new taxing structure for the United States.
Howell’s campaign theme is “Talk to Me,” said John Hogelin, Howell’s aide and former BYU Democrats president.
Hogelin said Howell has served in public office for 10 years, and has returned every e-mail and read every letter he receives.
This is a good time for Howell to run because he will be leaving the Utah Senate in good hands, Hogelin said.
“The strength of the Democratic party in the state Senate is the strongest it’s ever been,” he said. “The Democrats are only four seats away from taking control, and Paula Julander can fill Sen. Howell’s shoes.”
Howell will continue in his Utah Senate position until the election in November.
“It’s just like what Hatch did with his Senate seat when he ran for president,” Hogelin said.
Heather Barney, Hatch’s campaign director, said Hatch has no plans to change his campaign because of Howell’s announcement to run for the Senate.
“All along, Sen. Hatch has planned on running a very vigorous and active campaign,” Barney said.
Barney said Hatch has always run on his record and accomplishments in the United States Senate. She said he appeals to Utah values with his common sense conservatism.
“Right now, Sen. Hatch is aiming at the Republican vote,” Barney said. “If he doesn’t get 60 percent of the vote at the state convention on May 6, a primary will be held.”
Three other Republicans, Greg Hawkins, Bart Thomas and Frank Guliuzza, are also running for the United States Senate seat.