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Democrats who seek Chaffetz’s seat agree on disliking Trump and vary on health care

First Published      Last Updated Jun 16 2017 12:03 am

Though the field is much more congested on the Republican side, three Democrats also are elbowing their way into the race for GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz's soon-to-be-vacated congressional seat.

In the heavily red 3rd Congressional District, the opposing-party candidates face a tough challenge. And it's likely that only one will move forward in the race coming out of Saturday's Democratic convention.

Delegates will parse through platforms that are alike when it comes to President Donald Trump and immigration, but that diverge slightly on health care.

To better explore the nuance of their policy positions, The Salt Lake Tribune conducted a survey of five questions among the contenders. Their responses are briefed below.

Obamacare • Kathie Allen, a physician in Utah since the 1980s, launched her campaign largely because of the GOP-led plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. While she favors fixing the legislation rather than trashing it, her vision for change includes a taxpayer-funded system.

"I am for removing the profit motive from health care and insuring that everyone is covered at an affordable rate and in an efficient manner," she said.

While the other two Democrats — progressive activist Ben Frank and environmental lobbyist Carl Ingwell — agree with Allen that Obamacare could use fixing, they support a single-payer, "Medicare for all" system.

"Health care is a right and should never again become a luxury that only the rich can afford," Ingwell said.

The president • The three Democrats vehemently disapprove of Trump.

Frank describes his level of support for the president as "minimal at best." He denounces Trump's proposed budget cuts for social programs. He disagrees with his efforts to roll back Obama administration environmental policies. And he condemns the president's plans for a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Ingwell believes Trump's practices are "based on lies, misinformation and hatred."

"Every single executive order has been a disaster, at best," he said. "He has a Cabinet full of self-serving incompetence."

Allen, who also criticized Trump, said she'd be willing to work with the president only if he does "something good," such as reducing regulations on small businesses or supporting science research.

Chaffetz • The competitors also unilaterally opposed how Chaffetz served in Congress. Each vowed to take a different approach if elected to the office.

Ingwell blasted Chaffetz for being too partisan.

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