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SLCC Alumnus seeks Orrin Hatch's Seat

Jeff Dixon

Issue date: 3/21/06 Section: News
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SLCC graduate and founder of internet service provider XMission, Pete Ashdown, officially filed as a candidate for the U.S. Senate on March 10 at the State Capitol building. He is seeking the Democratic Party nomination to challenge five-term Republican incumbent Orrin Hatch this November.

Ashdown, 39, also attended the University of Utah. His father Robert was a professor of Manufacturing Technology at SLCC.

For the filing, he was joined by his wife, Robin, and their newborn daughter, Greta. The couple has a twelve year old daughter and a five year old son, as well.

Ashdown also took the occasion as an to opportunity to give a campaign speech.

"Senator Hatch has done a good job looking after the interests of the last 30 years. I represent the interests Utahns will have for the next 50 years," said Ashdown.

Ashdown went on to cite four of his campaign's main issues: energy, health care, infrastructure and privacy.

"Energy is a major issue that affects our economy, our security and our health. We need to get off foreign sources of energy," said Ashdown. "There are areas of Utah with less than seven inches of precipitation a year; I would push for solar power arrays there."

On health care costs, Ashdown, whose own business provides coverage for its employees, noted some of the troubles among big businesses providing the same. "Health care costs have vastly exceeded benefits. I see GM going nearly bankrupt and moving factories to Canada because they can't afford health care for their workers," said Ashdown.

On his website, Ashdown proposes streamlining all of the Federal health care programs, such as the VA, Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, into one agency that will provide coverage for all Americans.

Ashdown thinks more needs to be done to improve Utah's physical and technological infrastructure.
"I support a more balanced approach in our transportation system; we need to balance more roads with other options, including trains," said Ashdown. He also said the rest of the world is beating America in train technology and use, with most countries having 300 mile per hour train networks nationwide, while "We're struggle to building one train line that goes 70 miles per hour."

Ashdown thinks Utah's fiber optic network needs a boost. "We need to do more to give our rural areas broadband access. We have dropped from first in the world in broadband deployment to 16th. I will change that," said Ashdown.

He also referred to the National Security Agency's warrantless spy program and USA PATRIOT Act.
"Right now, the government is asking the citizens to be transparent, wanting to know everything we are doing. But when we want to know what government is doing, they say we shouldn't care or we don't deserve to know. I think that situation should be reversed: government should be fully transparent and the citizens should be opaque."

The full campaign calendar, as well as a "wiki" page, where citizens can change and edit his campaign message, are both available on the campaign website,
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