He lost his first race against Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch in 2000 but Democratic challenger Scott Howell said this time he believes his chances against the 78 year-old, six-term senator are better.
On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Wednesday, Howell said Hatch is out of touch with the people of Utah and one example is the farm bill now before Congress. Howell said the bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly but Hatch was one of only seven senators who voted against it.
“The farm bill is so important to Cache Valley,” Howell said. “You are setting precedents on crop rotation, on growing of livestock.
“This is still an important piece of the American fabric of what drives our economy. We just cannot in any way turn our backs on what you all do up there.”
On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Thursday, Hatch said his vote was a protest vote because the farm bill contained too much spending.
“One of the big problems about the farm bill is about 85% of it is more public dole spending, it’s food stamps,” Hatch said. “Food stamps (have) jumped from 32,000,000 people to 46,000,000 people under this administration.
“That’s why I voted against it. It was just more or less a protest vote because we cannot continue to have so many people on welfare who really could work.”
Hatch said we have got to give people on welfare an incentive to work, not an incentive to stay home and watch television. Hatch said he believes the farm bill will eventually pass and he feels farmers know that he won’t let them down.
A lot of people are calling it a David versus Goliath contest but Howell said he has a good chance to beat Hatch on his second time around. Howell challenged Hatch in 2000.
Howell said 36 years is too long to serve and if elected he promises to serve no more than two six-year terms. Howell said Hatch seems to have lost the art of compromise and he has changed his mind on important issues such as the Dream Act. Howell says he is a strong supporter of the Dream Act.
“I believe that kids that are born here to illegal parents, if they will commit to give service back to the community either through the military or through education, they deserve a pathway to citizenship,” Howell said. “I support the Utah Compact. I support it 100% and in fact when I get to Washington I want to sit down with President Romney or President Obama and say, ‘we have got to fix this immigration. It’s not fair.'”
Howell said Hatch even changed his mind on the Violence Against Women Act and on the landmark Children’s Insurance Bill where he collaborated with the late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy.
Howell said as a retired business executive and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he is in tune with Utah people.
Meanwhile, Hatch believes Mitt Romney made a great choice for a running mate when he picked Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Hatch said he feels that Ryan fits the ticket very well.
In Hatch’s words, Democrats will demagog the Ryan budget plan and no one can explain it better than Ryan himself. Hatch says Ryan is a decent man, a family man and a straight shooter which is what Republicans need to win the November election.