Created: Mon, 18 Jun 2012 04:15:00 MST
Updated: Mon, 18 Jun 2012 12:10:25 MST
Education is the key to growing the economy, according to Donna McAleer, Democratic candidate for First District Congress who is running against Ryan Combe in the June 26 Democratic Party primary election. The winner of that race will face incumbent Republican Congressman Rob Bishop in November.
At a debate between the two Democrats Thursday on KVNU 610 AM/102.1 FM, McAleer said she visited the USU campus prior to the debate and was extremely impressed, especially with the U-Star program. She said before you get there you need a good education on the high school and primary level and she is concerned about that.
"We are falling behind in this state, dramatically," McAleer said. "We have the lowest per-student funding of any state. Actually, we're 55th in the nation and the last time I was in school there were only 50 states. We've now fallen below the District of Columbia, Guam, the Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. We need to look at investments in education."
Combe says when it comes to education we do not have a money problem. Rather, he says, it is a priorities problem.
They essentially agree on the issues but during the debate the two candidates showed they have different ways of getting similar results. Asked what should be done about health care, Weber State University administrator and entrepreneur Ryan Combe said he strongly favors a single-payer health care system.
"I think it's absolutely ridiculous that we will argue that we have the best hospitals and the best doctors in the world," Combe exclaimed, "and yet we're not fighting to give all of our citizens access to them.
"So I would be a major, major proponent for single-payer system. I think the sooner our country gets there, the better we'll be at investing money in preventative care, the better we'll be at spreading the load."
West Point graduate, Army veteran and former business owner, McAleer said she hopes the Affordable Health Care Law will not be struck down. She says if that happens we will be at ground zero. Right now McAleer said those people who do have health insurance are paying for those who do not.
The winner of the Combe-McAleer race will challenge incumbent First District Republican Congressman Rob Bishop in November. The Democratic primary is the first to be held in the First District since the early '70s.