By Carrie Rowe
On the grounds of a largely republican BYU campus, the democratic candidate for governor told students the upcoming election is “a moment in time” for Utah politics.
Scott Matheson, the Democratic candidate from a prominent political family, spoke to the BYU Democrats Thursday, Feb. 12, 2004, addressing opportunities in government and the one-sidedness of Utah politics.
“My candidacy, among other things, is offered as an opportunity to redress that imbalance,” Matheson said.
Republicans have traditionally dominated state offices, and Matheson said with an essentially open seat, there is an opportunity for a competitive election, which hasn”t happened in 16 years.
“I think that”s important for everybody,” Matheson said. “I think it”s important for parties — I think it”s important for people — I think it”s important to the process. If you have a competitive election, you”re going to have meaningful debate on the issues.”
Balance is what Matheson is looking for. A great believer in the two-party system, Matheson said the checks and balances in Utah”s government just aren”t there.
“We”ve reached a point in time where we have to ask a fundamental question in this state,” Matheson said. “That is: how healthy is it for one party to dominate so many of the offices — making so many of the decisions about issues that affect our lives and our children”s lives? How healthy is it for one party to have a monopoly on these offices? I don”t think it”s very healthy.”
Patrick Hemming, president of the BYU Democrats, said the club is working to support candidates and give students and opportunity to serve on campaigns, dispelling the notions that one party has a higher ground.
“BYU is a great place because we have people from all over the country who have very diverse and various political views,” Hemming said. “We can add something additional to the discussion beyond just Utah.”
Matheson also emphasized the benefits college students can gain from involvement in the political process. He said involvement at any level will help students learn about different issues and meet new people.
“I can”t think of a better way to get immersed in knowledge about your community than participating on a political campaign,” Matheson said. “I”m living breathing proof of that. Like I told you earlier, this is where Robin [his spouse] and I met. I”m not suggesting that you”re going to meet you future spouse through politics, but you never know.”