How Blake Moore and GOP primary challenger Paul Miller view immigration and federal water policy

Moore is seeking a third term representing Utah 1st Congressional District. Paul Miller, an electrician and political newcomer, won over Republican delegates this spring.

The 2024 Republican primary election for Utah’s 1st Congressional District — which covers the northern portion of the state — features Rep. Blake Moore, seeking a third term, facing Paul Miller, an electrician and political newcomer. Miller won nearly 55% of delegates’ vote at the GOP nominating convention in April.

The winner of the race will face the Democratic nominee, Bill Campbell, in the November general election.

The Salt Lake Tribune submitted the same set of questions, based on top issues readers said they were watching in this election, to each candidate. The questions and their answers that appear below — with the candidates listed in alphabetical order — may have been edited slightly for length, style or grammar.

1. As a member of Congress, would you support a national abortion ban? Why or why not?

Paul Miller: I would support a national abortion ban. I believe in the fact that life begins at conception and, furthermore, implantation. I also believe that the Emancipation Proclamation was necessary because I also believe that “All men are created equal.” Well, all babies are also created equal. In any legislation regarding abortion, I am okay with three exceptions: rape, Incest, and the mother’s life being threatened by the pregnancy.

Blake Moore: I believe that Congress, state and local government, and our communities must work hard to provide pregnant women and families with the support, economic opportunities and resources they need to choose life, better ensuring that every child has the chance to live and thrive.

I am fighting the Democrats’ extreme policies that promote abortion up to birth. I earned an A+ rating on the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America National Pro-Life Scorecard and I have cosponsored and voted for legislation that would support women in need who are facing unexpected pregnancies, including the Care for Her Act, Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act, Pregnant Students Rights Act, and Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act.

2. The Colorado River faces an uncertain future. Climate change has weakened the river’s flows and overuse has siphoned its reservoirs. As the current guidelines for the operation of the Colorado River and its reservoirs will expire in 2026, the seven states that use the river’s water have been hashing out what new guidelines will look like.

Yes or no: Should Utah, an Upper Basin state, cut its Colorado River water use?

Miller: No.

Moore: No, Utah should not use less than its legal allocation.

3. How can Utah be part of the solution on the Colorado River?

Miller: The Colorado River and the tributaries involved with it provide water to millions of Americans in the West. There will have to be very thought-out answers with local and federal leaders as this issue affects all of us. Reducing our water use will help in the here-and-now, while other solutions are weighed and debated.

Moore: As Utah’s population continues to grow, so does our need for water and the Colorado River is crucial to our water security. Instead of cutting back Utah’s allocation, Upper Basin states need to find ways to use our allocated water more efficiently. Utah should continue to work with its neighbors to find ways to conserve and optimize water use. The Legislature’s creation of the Colorado River Authority of Utah is instrumental in upholding our commitment to Lower Basin states.

4. How should Congress address immigration reform? What are some specific actions Congress should take toward solving this problem?

Miller: The Secure our Border Act of 2023 was great legislation and should have been brought before the U.S. Senate. We need the “Remain in Mexico” policy, to finish the border wall and to end the catch and release policies. I am not against immigration. We are a nation of immigrants, although we need to only allow law-abiding migrants into the U.S. We also cannot sustain the migrant flow into the U.S. It is inhumane to the illegal immigrants promised jobs, housing and more.

Moore: The southern border is a national security and humanitarian disaster caused by open border policies. The Biden administration has overturned policies that helped deter illegal activity at the border. It has even considered implementing a “Remain in Texas” policy to replace the “Remain in Mexico” policy to deal with the influx of immigrants entering the country illegally.

I am fighting against the surging crisis, voting for H.R. 2 to secure the border and combat illegal immigration. I invited a Border Patrol agent to testify in front of the Natural Resources Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on how President Joe Biden’s border policies are allowing drugs to flow into our communities. I am committed to keeping children safe from traffickers; strengthening our asylum system; and ending Biden’s catch-and-release approach. At the same time, I believe in providing temporary worker visas to the Utah businesses that are creating jobs for Utahns in our local economy, supporting the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act to help those who served our country and were abandoned by the Biden administration, and assisting refugees from Ukraine and other war zones.

5. Yes or no: Do you agree with Sen. Mike Lee’s claim that undocumented immigrants are registering to vote in the U.S.?

Miller: Yes.

Moore: I voted in favor of legislation [in May] to prohibit noncitizens from voting in D.C. local elections and repeal the D.C. City Council’s Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act, which allows non-citizens to participate in elections.

6. More or less: Military aid for Ukraine?

Miller: Less

Moore: [See question 7]

7. More or less: Military aid for Israel?

Miller: Less

Moore: [For both questions 6 and 7, Moore referred to a statement given when he voted for a bill that provided additional military aid to Ukraine and Israel.]

“The overwhelming majority of this money is going directly back into the U.S. economy and supporting jobs at home...I certainly do not believe that any country should presume that it’s the U.S. taxpayer’s role to undersign every conflict or war against aggressors. But as China and Russia seek to undermine our economic prosperity and security, I believe today’s packages are squarely in our national interest because they allow us to improve our supply chains and industrial base, modernize our own weapons and encourage our European partners to increase their own defense budgets and overall burden sharing ... The bottom line is that we must grapple with the bad actors who are creating the riskiest and most unstable geopolitical moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Stopping the march of our enemies is not just a rhetorical exercise; resources are necessary to accomplish this.”

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