About 50 people came to meet Senator Orrin Hatch and to hear him speak. Emery County Republican Party Chairman Bill Dellos welcomed everyone and after a prayer and a pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States. The Senator was able to enjoy with the rest of the company a great buffet meal.
Senator Hatch said he was enjoying his visit to Emery County and meeting with the city and county officials earlier in the day. He reminded everyone that he was here to ask for their vote.
"I first ran for the US Senate based on my conviction that I could truly make a difference for Utah and the people I was elected to represent. Today that same conviction burns deeper than ever before. Right now the stakes for Utah, and America, are greater than they have ever been. Utah may not have the power or the population of the larger states, but believe me, the voice of Utah can be powerfully expressed and effectively heard. Working together, we have had some big victories for Utah and have made a positive difference in the lives of all Utahns. I pledge to you my commitment and resolve to do all in my power to fight for Utah and to protect the values we hold dear. I appreciate the opportunity you have given me. It is an honor to serve," said Senator Hatch.
He discussed the struggle he has been having to keep Hill Air Force open and to save the jobs of 23,000 people on that base, and the additional approximately 23,000 people's jobs who work in the surrounding community. The Skull Valley Repository was a bad idea for nuclear waste because this is in the center of a test training range and more than 70 airplane crashes have occurred there since it began.
He was concerned about the highway system deterioration, especially the coal trucks in Emery County. He said there is just not enough dollars to repair all the deteriorating highways in the US. They are still working on a comprehensive energy bill and he likened Utah to Saudi Arabia for coal. Utah has the best coal in the world, highest quality, lowest sulfur content and the cleanest burning coal for energy. The department of defense considers Utah a potential supplier of fuel because of the coal bed methane, the coal resources, and the tar sands in Utah.
Canada with their beds of tar sands produce 30 million barrels of oil per year. If Utah develops the tar sands they could produce oil at $30 a barrel.
The geothermal energy in Utah could supply as many as 22 million homes, if utilized. The Clear Act for alternative fuels allows for the use of bio-fuels such as alcohol made from corn and other crops.
In other countries nuclear power plants are being built rapidly, and nuclear waste is being stored on site. With new technology nuclear power plants could be built on a smaller scale that would allow for easier maintenance and repair. Nuclear power plants can supply the lowest cost electric energy.
With the question of immigration, Senator Hatch said he advocates secure borders, that a fence along the border would be too costly and the aliens would tunnel under or break through and we have unmanned drone planes patrolling the Mexican border. They are equipped with infra-red sensors that can detect the heat of people passing through the area. He is opposed to amnesty for lawbreakers and feels all aliens should be registered.
"We need to keep public lands open for use by the public and for the recovery of resources in those public lands. There are expanding numbers of groups that want to close public lands for these purposes. The Senate still does not have a conservative majority and has never had a conservative majority in his 30 years.
"Health care needs to be changed so small businesses can afford health care for their employees. Social security will go into deficit in 2018, and double in the next five years. Expect a 3.5 percent growth this year. We need to find a way to put a lid on medical costs. Seventy percent of the government's budget consists of entitlement programs such as social security, medicare, medicaid and education. Community health care centers could help reduce the cost of medical services.
"No Child Left Behind needs to be changed. It is too difficult and costly for rural communities to use it effectively.
"Congress gets credit for spending and not for saving money," said Senator Hatch.
He wished everyone a good year and hopes to see them at the state convention which will be held May 20 in Sandy.