District 2 Dems advocate compromise in Congress

Apr 18 2012 - 4:13pm



OGDEN -- A return to civility and moderation in Washington D.C. is a common theme among Democrats seeking the party nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives District 2 seat.

"We have a tremendously strident and extremist approach to solving problems," Bountiful resident Dean Collinwood said. "This doesn't make for good government."

Collinwood is one of a trio of candidates pushing that message, along with their own specific issues, as they head to the Democratic Party Convention Friday and Saturday at the Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City.

The three candidates are Collinwood, Salt Lake City resident Jay Seegmiller and St. George resident Michael W. Small.

Collinwood is a former university professor and is currently the chairman of the South Davis History Council and the Bountiful Historical Commission.

He ran for the Utah House in 1992 and the Utah Senate in 2004, while his wife, Kathleen McConkie, ran for U.S. Congress in 2000.

Seegmiller spent more than 40 years with the Union Pacific Railroad.

He beat Speaker of the House Greg Curtis in 2008 to win a seat in the Utah State Legislature.

"I think I've proved I can win tough races," Seegmiller said.

Small retired in 2005 after 32 years of federal service, during which he worked primarily as a wildlife biologist for the Bureau of Land Management. He previously served as president of the Democrats of Southern Utah and ran for the Utah House of Representatives District 74 in 2006.

He wants to raise the issues of air quality and land management, which are particularly important in his area.

"I think it's important that Southern Utah continues to be represented fairly," Small said.

The 2nd Congressional District covers by far the largest land area in the state, running from south Davis County to St. George and including a diverse mix of farmland, national parks and urban areas.

Each candidate has had to crisscross the massive district to meet with delegates.

"I've put over 2,000 miles in the last week," Seegmiller said recently.

Rep. Jim Matheson previously held the seat. After redistricting, Matheson chose to run in the new Congressional District 4.

Even with the boundary change, Collinwood believes that a Democrat has a chance to win the general election.

However, with rural Southern and Central Utah traditionally voting Republican and urban Salt Lake County traditionally voting Democrat, he said the election will depend on moderate Davis County to decide the election.

Whomever is elected, all of the candidates believe in a need to reach across the aisle in the national political dialogue.

"I think it's time that we elect people to Congress that aren't going to play this zero-sum game that is going on," Seegmiller said.

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