The Utah Debate Commission is currently conducting polls to determine which candidates qualify for the October 17th candidate debate for US Congress District 1. There are three candidates challenging incumbent, Rob Bishop for the seat. Democratic candidate, Lee Castillo stopped by KPCW to talk about his campaign. Carolyn Murray has this:
“We’ve been on the radio like we are today. We’ve been doing parades, we’ve been doing fairs out there meeting the people. Every chance I get, even if I am at a gas starion filling up, I am out there handing out flyers. I am meeting everybody and anybody regardless of race, religion…it doesn’t matter to me. I want to represent everybody.”
Castillo says he has a different view from the incumbent on public lands and the environment.
“So, the biggest difference I see is I care about our environment. I want to make sure that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante are protected. People need to understand that Rob Bishop is leading the drive to shrink these designated monuments. And what that does is it affects thousands of families who have businesses that rely on that income from the tourism dollars that come. And we know that Utah makes so much more money in tourism dollars all year long than it does in oil and gas.”
Castillo says he realizes the oil and gas industry is an important part of the state’s economy but the future depends on developing renewable energy like solar and wind power.
“We know Utah is abundant in both of those and we need to start focusing on those things so we can, you know as the world moves along, and things change, I would hate for those places to become ghost towns as we become less reliant on oil and gas.”
He fully supports the ballot referendum to expand Medicaid in Utah but thinks the entire nation should move to a single payer universal health care system. He knows first-hand what happens to people who don’t have access to healthcare and medicines.
“And I see directly what happens when people don’t have access to health care, mental health and medications. I treated a client just the other day who fell through the Medicaid gap recently. This person had been on Medicaid for 10 years and had been going to her therapist weekly and on her psychotropic medications. And then she falls through the gap and is not able to afford her medications. Can’t go get her therapy and she ends up in jail because she is not able to make rational decisions. We need to put measures in place so that everybody is allowed to have those services. It’s the humane thing to do.”
Castillo thinks the US should allow Dreamers a path to citizenship and uphold the constitution providing asylum to the people fleeing violence. He says Utah’s agricultural and tourism businesses rely on immigrant workers.
“I’m not saying open the border, I’m saying we need to treat these people with dignity and respect. Allow them due process instead of stripping them of their constitutional rights when they cross the border. These are people who are escaping their hardships in countries, not just Mexico, but in South America and they’re fearful for their lives and for the lives of their children. They’re seeking asylum. And we need to honor that promise we made to the Dreamers and allow them to remain here. We need to keep our promise, we need to keep our word. We need to be a people of our word.”
Castillo says the only debate for the District 1 seat is scheduled for October 17th. He would welcome more opportunity to talk with Bishop about the issues. He says his skills as a therapist would be a service to Congress.
“He’s speaking in Ogden next week. If he’ll acknowledge me, I’d like to talk to him and ask him if we can do it again. Cause I think there are a lot of issues. We should have our own little town hall together. I would welcome that Congressman Bishop. I am asking all your listeners to please visit our website and donate because there’s nothing more that Washington needs than a therapist.”
KPCW has repeatedly invited Congressman Rob Bishop to be interviewed for his run for the first district and he is the only candidate who has declined an interview.