Press Release on Proposed Constitutional Flag Amendment
March 8, 2006
Brett Garner
Office: (801) 983-7383
Cell: (801) 573-4759


ASHDOWN:  I'll Solve Real Problems First

Bigger Issues than Flags need to be Addressed, Ashdown says

SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Democratic US Senate hopeful Pete Ashdown today
called action of the Flag Protection Amendment “election year politics
that pushes aside more important issues.” Citing nuclear waste sitting
in Moab, the potential for more waste in Skull Valley, Ashdown said
Utah needs a US Senator who will address issues that “are more
pressing and more important.”

"As a US Senator, I will address the big issues first," Ashdown said.
"Yesterday, I visited Moab and witnessed the radioactive Atlas
tailings pile first hand.  This tailings pile, abandoned by private
industry, has been sitting under government inaction for over a
decade.  Instead of attempting to modify the US constitution yet
again, I would fight against budget cuts that affect the lives of the
citizens of Utah."  The Bush Administrations Fiscal Year 2007 proposed
budget cuts the tailings pile movement from $28 million to $22.6
million, for a project that experts expect to take over a decade and
half a billion dollars.  "Why is Senator Hatch once again pushing for
a constitutional amendment on the flag, when we have uranium poisoning
the water for 25 million Americans downstream on the Colorado River?
When I am senator, I will get the funding for moving that disaster by
forming the regional coalition of Senators we need to fix this

Ashdown also cited Hatch's failure to block the creation of a nuclear
waste dump at the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation. “Private Fuel
Storage just got its license from the NRC and what is the response of
Senator Hatch? He wants the citizens of Utah to petition the BLM,
while he scribes a constitutional amendment on the flag."  The
Democratic opponent noted that Hatch's plan to stick with the
Administration on Yucca Mountain has been a failure, saying: “If a
senior senator such as Hatch is as close to the President as he
purports, why can't he stop either Yucca Mountain or PFS? I know when
I am Senator, I will oppose PFS and Yucca Mountain and fight for
nuclear waste recycling and safe, on-site storage.”

Ashdown named a litany of issues Congress should address before
considering the Flag Amendment.  “I'm fine having a debate about a
Constitutional amendment on flag protection, but only after we have
freed Utah's education system from a flawed Federal micromanagement
law; after we have even started to give health care to 45 million
Americans without it; after we have secured our seaports, airports,
borders, and sensitive facilities.” Again, Ashdown asked: "Why, of all
the problems facing our state and nation, is Senator Hatch once again
pushing the Flag Amendment to the Senate floor?"

The answer, according to Ashdown, is that Hatch is either out of touch
with Utah's needs after 30 years of listening to Washington lobbyists,
or ineffective at getting Utah's real problems solved.  “Senator Hatch
is either incapable of moving the Uranium tailings, or he is unwilling
to listen to the people of Moab, Phoenix, LA, Las Vegas, etc.  Either
he is incapable of stopping PFS and Yucca Mountain, or he doesn't
listen to Utahns' unwillingness to be either a dumping ground or a
conduit to a dumping ground.”

Ashdown noted a promotional video on Senator Hatch's campaign website,
where Hatch proclaims how much he loves the Constitution.  Ashdown
pointed out the apparent contradiction in Hatch's legislative career.
“For someone who says he loves the Constitution so much, he sure wants
to change it a lot.  Whether it's flag protection or Arnold
Schwarzenegger for President amendments, or disregarding the Fourth
Amendment to allow to President's warrantless spying, or an
incompetent reading of the copyright clause, he sure has a strange way
of showing his love.” In his 30 year career, Hatch has sponsored at
least 22 constitutional amendments and co-sponsored another 44,
according to the Library of Congress.

Ashdown will be officially filing as the Democratic candidate for US
Senate on Friday, March 10, at 10 AM.  He will be filing with First
District Congressional candidate Steve Olsen, at the Utah Lieutenant
Governor's Office.