Stewart and Rider debate guns and inflation ahead of Republican primary

Republican candidates from Utah’s 2nd congressional district gathered in a radio studio Tuesday night for one of the only debates ahead of the upcoming primary election, mostly agreeing on many conservative gun values. fire, inflation, energy and the 2nd district.

Erin Rider is a Republican congressional candidate for Utah's 2nd District and is challenging incumbent Rep. Chris Stewart for 5 terms in a June 28 GOP primary.

This primary will be a showdown between five-term incumbent, incumbent U.S. Representative Chris Stewart, and Erin Rider, a Salt Lake City-based attorney and former congressional staffer with the late U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch.

Representative Chris Stewart is running for re-election to the United States House of Representatives in Utah's Congressional District 2.

The debate was sponsored by the Utah Republican Party and was moderated by radio host Rod Arquette on his show on KNRS. To listen to a recording of this debate, click on this link. The debate begins at 1:16 a.m. of the show.

Guns and mass shootings

Much of the conversation was about guns, shootings and politicians’ reactions to the shootings in Buffalo, New York, where 10 black people were killed at a grocery store and in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed. were killed in a school. .

The candidates spent almost half of the debate on these topics, with both candidates saying they were sad and both saying that new policies in schools, a focus on mental health and measures to “strengthen the family” should be used to solve the problem.

Rider called for a “holistic approach” to addressing gun violence in America, saying there may be room to enact legislation that could tighten gun ownership in the country so those responsible can possess weapons. She also called for increased school safety, mental health and family support, saying any action around guns should not violate the 2nd Amendment.

Stewart was less flexible on the issue of guns, saying changing gun rules won’t stop mass shootings, but changes in other areas of policy can. The main thing he touted in the debate was an increase in school safety. He compared the security he wants in schools to airports. He promised to present a proposal to transfer unused COVID funds to school safety in the coming weeks.

Stewart says he doesn’t support Democrats’ proposals to reinstate a ban on the sale of assault weapons because he thinks it’s a slippery slope where more guns could be banned more late.

“Is this the last step you are going to take? I’m pretty confident that we’ll have another shoot after [Uvalde]as tragic as that may be, and then what are [Democrats] will propose? said Stewart.

Rider said Congress was unwilling to do the work to fix the problem and most people wanted to see changes in the system.

“We all know that every responsible gun owner knows there are ways to improve the system,” Rider said.

Both candidates supported the creation of federal red flag laws to prevent dangerous people from owning guns, but cautioned that such laws must be strict and specific. Riders said she thinks America’s disparate criminal justice system makes it difficult to write good law about it and Stewart advocated that such laws only apply to people making threats and could do the trick. called every 30 days by the red-flagged person.

2nd District

Many of the topics discussed related to national issues such as inflation, energy production and immigration, but the 2nd District was touched on briefly on how each candidate views representing the district’s vast geographic area.

Stewart said he liked what was done in the last round of redistricting by the Utah Legislature since the 2nd District “hasn’t changed much.” He echoed a point made by state redistricting officials that he thinks it’s good to have an urban-rural mix in the district.

“It’s so important that members of Congress represent both rural and urban parts of the state. The issues in Salt Lake City, the issues in Davis County or Tooele County, are very different from the issues in Washington County…every legislator needs to be aware of and committed to representing all of these issues.

He pointed out that since Utah has a large amount of federal land, rural areas must have multiple congressional representatives. Stewart also said that “his heart” is in southern and rural Utah.

Rider touted the diversity within the district and said his ancestors helped settle Washington County. She acknowledged that covering this large district is a challenge and one that can be met by increasing the number of congressional offices and staff in the district.

“We’ve talked a lot about the fact that this is one of the largest…geographical districts in the state right now,” she said. “We need a stronger presence in the neighborhood.”


Both candidates have denounced the Biden administration for the current inflation in America. Stewart said he saw this coming a year ago, and Rider said the administration had been “reactive” to the issue.

Stewart said the current administration’s high spending — particularly on COVID relief funds — is fueling inflation.

“It’s not because of the bottlenecks,” Stewart said. “The inflation rate in the EU is much lower than ours. It has nothing to do with COVID. It’s not Vladimir Putin’s price hike. It’s because this president and the Democrats in Congress spent $10 trillion in 26 months.

He said the easiest way to control inflation is to cut spending and reduce the deficit.

Rider denounced the actions of the previous Congress, saying that even when Republicans were in power for the past decade, spending had increased and was “terrible” when it came to spending. Saying the federal government is still growing and tough spending limits need to be introduced, she warned that if this is not addressed, a recession could occur.

“We need a biblical Joseph in Egypt, don’t we, to say we have our seven years of famine ahead. What do we do? Are we filling up the warehouses? Or do we keep spending hoping we can outspend a looming recession,” Rider said.

Energy production

Both candidates have expressed a desire to lower gas prices and make the United States a net exporter of energy, both criticizing the Biden administration for ending the Keystone pipeline and its decisions to limit lease emissions tankers on federal lands.

Although the United States is currently not a net exporter of oil and petroleum, it remains a net exporter of crude oil, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Rider said oil and gas should be developed to meet demands and she would advocate for greater investment in renewables, green energy and nuclear power.

“Here in the 2nd arrondissement, we have a lot of resources, we have a lot of energy resources, we have geothermal, we have wind, we have a whole bunch of solar things here in the 2nd arrondissement itself, this district could to be a true leader on this,” Rider said.

Stewart took a shorter approach, saying the United States should increase oil production and “it’s as simple as that.” comes to replace American oil on the market.

Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwestern Utah. Follow @seanhemmers34 on Twitter. Our work depends on subscribers, so if you want more coverage on these issues, you can subscribe here: