SALT LAKE CITY – With Jim Matheson running in the new Fourth District, Utah’s Second District is guaranteed a new representative. Democrat Jay Seegmiller and Republican Chris Stewart are vying for the job.
Chris Stewart is a veteran of the Air Force. He flew B-1 Bombers and set a record for fastest around-the-world flight, recording 36 hours, 13 minutes. After the military, Stewart began writing books.
“We said hey we’re about a third of the way around the world. Let’s just keep going,” Stewart said. “I had written two books while I was in the military and I realized I could make a living writing books.”
Now Stewart writes apocalyptic novels with LDS themes, but he says his worldview conflicts with the tone of his writing.
“My true worldview is just the opposite of this apocalyptic. Look I know we’re going to have challenges and who knows, maybe there will be a zombie apocalypse or something like that, but I think really we have great reason to be hopeful and that’s the more important message and really the message of our campaign,” he said.
Seegmiller is a conductor on Amtrak’s California Zephyr. He is a union member and leader.
“I’m the guy who yells, ‘All aboard!’ and makes sure everybody has a ticket,” he said. “I tell all kinds of stories about Butch Cassidy on the train. I tell them all about the national parks and the ski resorts.”
Both Seegmiller and Stewart support civil unions for gay couples, but they do disagree on allowing gay couples to adopt.
Seegmiller says that everyone should have the same rights under the law while Stewart says his opposition is based on protection of the institution of marriage.
“I don’t thing that’s a good idea and here’s why and again it comes back to protecting the institution of marriage primarily because that protects children,” Stewart said.
To tackle spending, Stewart wants to decrease social security payments to wealthy retirees.
“If someone has an income of 180 thousand dollars a year in their retirement years. Do they really need social security? Is it appropriate for them to be drawing 45 or 50 thousand dollars a year when they have that other income,” Stewart said.
Seegmiller would rather see high-earners pay social security tax on most or all of their income. Right now, they only pay taxes on their first 110 thousand dollars.
“I do think we need to raise the caps because they haven’t raised with inflation. And I think we should raise the caps if not completely eliminate the caps,” Seegmiller.
Chris Stewart now runs a management consulting company while writing books. Seegmiller still works with the railroad. He’s the underdog, but has the credentials to win after serving in Utah’s House of Representatives after beating sitting House Speaker Greg Curtis.