With Election Day approaching on Nov. 3 and mail-in ballots on their way to voters, The Park Record asked candidates to answer a series of questions on topics important to Summit County residents. Click here for the Senate District 19 race, here for the House District 53 race, here for the House District 28 race and here for the House District 54 race.
Utah First Congressional District: Darren Parry (Democrat) vs. Blake Moore (Republican)
• Please describe your background and why you want to serve in Congress.
Parry: For many people, running for public office is getting too involved. For years, I have mostly sat on the sidelines politically. As a Native American trial leader, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with local, state and federal lawmakers, while keeping my political stances at arm’s length. With a broken Congress and the vitriol being spewed by politicians on both sides, I decided that it was time for a truly independent bridge builder to step up and run for Congress.
Moore: I am concerned with the problems our country faces, but optimistic about how conservative solutions can lead us to a bright future. Watching socialism and anti-American attitudes take control of the minds of our youth has concerned me. Serving in the foreign service and living abroad has strengthened my faith in American exceptionalism and has shown me the merits of capitalism, free-trade, free-speech, and everything else we hold dear here. I want to protect these values and ensure that conservatism has a strong messenger that can relay these values to the future generations that will eventually become our leaders. Additionally, I want to help bring back the idea that we need to expect more from our leaders. In a time of much unrest and stress, it is important that our leaders set an example of civil and outstanding leadership. Treating those we don’t politically agree respectfully is key to building relationships in life, as well as Congress. From my time in the foreign service, to working as a management consultant, I have learned for myself that finding common ground and setting aside differences to accomplish goals is the best way to be successful.
• President Trump and Congress earlier in the year agreed to an extraordinary stimulus package in response to the economic havoc wrought by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Please describe the successes or failures of the stimulus programs that have been instituted. Do you anticipate further stimulus will be necessary in the next congressional term? If so, describe your preferred plan. If not, why not?
Parry: We absolutely need another stimulus bill, but we need one that benefits small business and working class people more. SBA grants/loans and PPP payments were beneficial, but many small businesses were not given priority by large banks. Luckily, many Utah banks led the way and fought for small businesses and helped them apply for funding, regardless of the size of the business. Millions of people have lost jobs, millions have lost health insurance, it’s time for Congress to step up and end the partisan bickering and start protecting the people of the United States of America.
Moore: Ideally, we could address stimulus packages from a place of financial security. However, with trillions of dollars in debt, we must be strategic with our approach. The federal government’s initial reaction created short and long term fiscal problems because legislation was rushed and didn’t take a strategic approach. Any relief packages should not inadvertently incentivize employees to not work, and employers need to have clear instructions of how to use PPP money. Relief packages for industries that are going to immediately suffer, such as tourism, hospitality, and travel. Individual packages should not be necessarily off the table, but they should be carefully administered as to not incentivize unemployment.
• President Trump remains a highly polarizing figure as he nears the end of the four-year term in the White House he won in 2016. Why has he not been able to better bring the nation together during his time in the Oval Office? Please rate the president’s performance and identify one policy or program of the Trump administration with which you agree and one with which you disagree, and why.
Parry: President Trump has not tried to bring people together. He instead has tried to tear people apart because of our differences. One item that I disagree with the President, is his immigration policy and the treatment of asylum seekers at the border. I personally have met families that had been separated at the borders. This is not something we believe in, this is not something that Utahns believe in. We need immigration policy that will keep families together and not lock children in cages. A policy of the President’s that I agree with is his willingness to not ignore the problems of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. He has shown a desire to assist with this problem that many people are ignoring. Still not perfect, but he is helping bring awareness to an important issue.
Moore: I believe that while President Trump’s legislative accomplishments are certainly commendable, his inability to unite the country during times of crisis is oftentimes disheartening. I believe that the role of the president, beyond commander-in-chief and head of the executive branch, is to be a voice of stable leadership. While every president has had his own troubles with the opposing party, the media, and even members of their own party, President Trump attacks have often been far too inappropriate and do nothing to unite our country. As far as legislative accomplishments, I am a big supporter of his corporate tax cuts, which are more in line with our global competitors, as well as his Supreme Court picks. I disagreed with the President’s move to move funds from military projects to the border wall. Congress appropriates where taxpayer money is spent. The president cannot ignore Congress and spend money wherever he wants.
• The continued spread of the novel coronavirus and the response by the federal government loom over the campaign season and will almost certainly be one of the key issues as voters make their decisions. Please discuss the successes and failures of the federal public health response to the sickness itself. Please also identify one new coronavirus-related policy, program or piece of legislation you pledge to propose upon your swearing-in should you be elected to Congress.
Parry: The federal response has been poorly executed. Again, with such division in our politics, even public health has become political. Look, masks work, they protect others and they don’t cause us any harm. I want our schools and businesses open, but to do so safely, we need to wear masks. I support opening up our economy, but if elected to Congress, I would support a national mask mandate when people cannot physically distance.
Moore: It has been nearly 9 months since the coronavirus was first detected in the United States, which has given scientists and doctors ample time to understand its severity and transmissibility. When the outbreak first started, it was hard to know these things, which was why our response was so drastic. We rushed to shutdowns and economic stimulus packages without real debate. Knowing what we know now, it is clear that economic stability would have been easier to protect if we had asked those who were vulnerable to self-quarantine and immediately begun wearing masks as a country. We should have initially been more methodical with which companies and industries were given stimulus. If we hadn’t shut down our entire economy and let things play out, it would have been more clear which areas of our country were more severely struggling instead of exploding our debt and throwing money at everything.
• The cause of social justice broadened in recent years, including the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, amid economic inequities and racial tensions. Please discuss what you see as the successes or failures of the recent social justice efforts. Please identify one piece of legislation regarding a social justice issue you would support and one you would oppose, and why, if you are elected to Congress.
Parry: To be clear, BLACK LIVES MATTER. I do not support riots or destruction of property, but as Martin Luther King Jr has stated, riots are the voice of the unheard. We, as a country, are not listening, and we need to do a better job at that. Coming from a minority background, I understand the need of everyone having a seat at the table. I will fight for marginalized communities so that their voices are heard. I will fight for reforms on a federal level, including a complete ban on chokeholds, elimination of qualified immunity and better community involvement in policing. I do not support defunding our good police officers, but I do believe that more federal dollars should go to training in de escalation and other areas.
Moore: It has been encouraging to see states, cities, and police departments take initiative in holding bad cops that abuse their power responsible. While I believe that the greatly vast majority of police officers are good men and women who seek to protect their communities, public trust in our officers can only be held if we are willing to go after those who abuse their power. The federal government can incentivize good police reforms. Federal legislation that ends qualified immunity and forces bad cops face responsibility for bad policing must be on the table. Rhetoric that demands “defunding” police departments without offering real solutions must be avoided.
• Leaders in Washington continue to struggle with the details of comprehensive immigration reform, disagreeing largely along partisan lines on some of the key issues. Please outline a comprehensive immigration reform package you would support, and why. If you prefer the current immigration policies as they are now, explain why. In your answer, please outline your support of or opposition to the DREAM Act.
Parry: Dreamers are Americans and I support congress working together to grant citizenship to Dreamers. 71% of respondents believed that DACA recipients should be allowed to live in the United States. 97% of “somewhat liberal” people, 82% of “moderate” people and 66% of “somewhat conservative” people, and 53% of “very conservative” people agreed with this poll. Utahns want to protect Dreamers. Our immigration system is so broken. I absolutely do not support a wall. I support bipartisan legislation like a BLUE CARD system. Under the Agricultural Worker Program Act, farmworkers who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in the past two years may earn a “Blue Card” status that allows them to continue to legally work in the United States. Farmworkers who maintain Blue Card status for the next three-five years, depending on hours worked in agriculture would be eligible to adjust to lawful permanent residence (Green Card).
Moore: Dreamers and others who were brought into our country when they were young and don’t know any other country deserve compassionate, pragmatic solutions. Punishing children who had no control of their situation is never fair. Before any immigration reform can happen, however, we must secure the border. It is a fool’s errand to try to fix a problem without first addressing the source of the problem. Once we can secure the border, coming to a solution on reform will be less difficult. Streamlining legal immigration will benefit both the immigrants and the American economy, and those who go through the process legally will not be punished like those who do not. We need to enforce the laws we have, establish an understanding of our current state, and create a sensible approach to solving a problem that has evaded us for decades.
• Many in the Park City area are worried about a changing climate based on human activity, saying the environmental, social and economic impacts could eventually be devastating. Do you believe human activity is leading to climate change? If so, why and please propose one environmental initiative you will pursue if elected to Congress. If not, why and please outline any rollbacks to environmental programs, policies or protections you would propose.
Parry: From the start of my campaign, climate change has been one of my priorities. My people have lived in CD1 for thousands of years. They understood the importance of taking care of the land, because she provided for them. Park City and Summit County stand as a beacon and leader in addressing Climate Change. Summit county is on track to hit their goal of 100% renewable energy 7 years early. By focusing on solar and wind energy projects and moving away from fossil fuels, we can protect our planet for generations to come. Our country needs to be a leader in this fight, not a country that denies the impact humans have on our climate. I support defending our public lands. Keeping these lands public and protecting them from corporate interests will aid in our fight against climate change.
Moore: Yes I believe in human-caused climate change, but that does not mean that the federal government should step in and dictate environmental policy. A federal takeover of the economy in the name of environmental progress will create much more problems than it will solve. The federal government’s role in climate change should be to incentivize clean energy via tax rebates and grants. As new energy solutions arise that are more cost efficient, market forces will fix these problems on their own. If we want to be serious about cutting our carbon footprint, we should continue to promote natural gas electric production while we move off coal, while investing in clean renewables and nuclear energy. As the Department of Energy has noted multiple times, any long term plan for carbon-free energy is not reliable without nuclear energy.
• Please differentiate yourself from your opponent.
Parry: Congressional District 1 is the most beautiful district in the United States. The people here are important to me. I have lived and worked my entire life in this district and this land has been my people’s land for generations. If CD1 is good enough for you and your families, then it should be good enough for your representative in Congress. I believe that my experience building bridges as a Native American Tribal leader will be invaluable in a Washington DC that is broken and that is failing to work for the people of our country. I will fight to represent all people of Utah’s 1st congressional district and not represent political parties or corporate interests. Congress has never heard a voice like mine. You can learn more about my campaign at darrenforutah.com.
Moore: I have a unique resume, with both foreign service and business experience. My experience in the foreign service has given me first-hand knowledge of national security threats as well as the nature of government waste, and my experience as a management consultant has taught me the importance of data-driven solutions, which I believe are not properly applied to legislation in Congress. I will bring a unique approach to Congress that I believe is vital for our country going forward. Principled in my conservative values, yet pragmatic and open to data-driven solutions and committed to rising above partisan rhetoric.