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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended October 06, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 06Oct00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

An LDS Candidate's Hunger Strike for Debate

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- If you think it is not fair that US presidential candidate Ralph Nader has been excluded from the presidential debates, you may also agree with Jeremy Friedbaum. The candidate for Governor of Utah from the conservative Independent American Party is on a 40-day hunger strike seeking a place in the debates between Republican incumbent Governor Mike Leavitt and his Democratic challenger Bill Orton. Like Leavitt and Orton, Friedbaum is an LDS Church member.

So far, Friedbaum has been on his hunger strike for 26 days, in the process loosing more than 36 lbs. All he has taken since the strike began on September 8th at 10 pm is herbal tea and vitamins. He isn't seeing a doctor during his hunger strike because no doctor would participate in his plan, "They thought I was nuts," he said. "They said, 'Don't do it.' "

Friedbaum is a convert to the LDS Church from Judaism who worries about the affect his strike might have on his four children should he die. "My own father died when I was 4 years old," he said. "The last thing I want to do is have that happen to my children." But he believes that his cause is just.

In a previous campaign, in the Republican primary against Representative Chris Cannon, Friedbaum was painted as a religious zealot. And his affiliation with the Independent American Party reinforces that view because of its basis in religious and constitutional philosophies. Friedbaum's positions include advocating the state taking controll of all public lands and making direct payments to parents to educate children as they wish. He also favors designating English as the official language for the state and opposes "forced" flouridation.

But while his "publicity stunt" has gained some attention in the media, KSL-TV, one of several television and radio stations sponsoring the debates, isn't persuaded to add Friedbaum to the debate because he has support among just two percent of the population according to recent polls. KSL Managing Editor Con Psarras says they won't allow the hunger strike to affect their decision. "Do we feel obligated to save his life by inviting him to the debates? No," said Psarras.


Governor hopeful eschews food for principle
Deseret News 3Oct00 T2
By Dennis Romboy: Deseret News staff writer
Candidate is protesting exclusion from debates


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