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Election 2014: Turley, Webb agree education needs more money, differ on how to get it

October 3rd, 2014 Posted in Opinion

Story and photo by Sierra Copeland

LOGAN — The smell of old books and quiet conversations seemed the perfect setting for the debate between Republican incumbent Curt Webb and Democrat Jeff Turley for the 5th District Utah House of Representatives seat Wednesday.

Republican Curt Webb, left, and Democrat Jeff Turley discuss better ways to fund public education. Photo by Sierra Copeland.

The audience was all ears in the Jim Bridger Room at the Logan Library ready to hear the answers to their questions in a debate hosted by The Herald Journal and Utah Public Radio.

“Even though you might think I wouldn’t get nervous public speaking, my heart is going 100 miles per hour,” Webb said, opening the debate. “Legislatures are not bigger than life, I’m not comfortable with thinking that. Not all of the these issues we are going to talk about will make the news, but they make a difference.”

Turley said Webb doesn’t represent the people here in Cache Valley. “I have lived in Cache Valley for 25 years,” Turley said. “I understand what it is like to struggle to make ends meet.” Turley claims he better understands what people of Cache Valley need.

Turley’s main point during the debate is that we need to better fund education. “There has to be a different way to look at the state budget,” he said regarding education funds.

Webb agreed, but has qualms of his own. “Those are valid issues, but where does this extra money come from? I know that people do not want to pay more taxes,” Webb said.

“Families with larger sizes should have to contribute more, the right people need to be taxed more,” Turley replied, but Webb wondered if increasing taxes for those least able to pay is the best solution for education funding.

The disagreements didn’t end there. When moderator Tom Williams brought up term limits for house members, both candidates had strong opinions.

“I feel that if you wanted to get rid of us you would by voting us out, but you shouldn’t be forced to lose a Legislature that you like.” Webb said.

Conversely, Turley believes that term limits are necessary to keep fresh blood in our local government. “Let’s get fresh blood to tackle the problems that we face. Without term limits, our leaders can get a sense of entitlement.”

Webb said that if we got rid of the everyone to start out fresh, legislatures would lose their teachers. There has to be a balance between the old and the new. Turley agreed, but said that he would be willing to sacrifice in order to learn, and would still be the embodiment of fresh ideas that our local government needs.

They also disagreed on Medicaid expansion. Turley was a supporter of Medicaid expansion, while Webb was against it.

“There are people out there who quietly just get the work done,” Webb said in his closing statement. “I like to think that’s how I fit in.”

“I’m a typical guy who wants to make a difference, please give me an opportunity to do that,” Turley said in closing.


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