It’s about the only thing in the news today. Jon Hunstman was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to China, and Gary Herbert was sworn in as the 17th Governor of the State of Utah. In my opinion this is a win-(hopefully)win situation for Utah.
Governor Huntsman was a moderate. He was well liked by the state, but he wasn’t the governor that I would have chosen to lead this state. His departure opens the door for the more politically conservative Gary Herbert.
I have written in the past about two separate incidents where Herbert had looked like the conservative that I would like, and the liberal that I would not like. So, I listened to his inaugural address with an open mind hoping to hear the political direction he plans on taking this state.
While I applaud his emphasis on the economy and on education. This wasn’t what I was paying attention to. These are two great goals, and I hope for the best on both. What I am interested in is what Herbert’s approach will be accomplishing his goals.
So, let’s look at his own words to determine his direction. First he says, “To protect our existing jobs, we must maintain a healthy business climate, a well-educated and highly skilled workforce, and competitive tax rates.” Here he recognizes the important connect between education and the economy. He also comments that a competitive tax rate is important for thriving business. So far, I am impressed with his approach.
However, he gives me pause when he says, “My commitment to you is that, first and foremost, we will recognize the great significant importance of our own local businesses and work with you for your continued success.” While he isn’t specific, I wonder just how much does he plan on working with them. If he plans on subsidizing and industry, then I am opposed. But if he is looking to create better education or more skilled labor then we might be able to agree.
However, his speech does lean to wards some great free enterprise and limited government statements that I liked. Here are just a few:
I believe in free enterprise, the risk and reward system that some call capitalism. But “free enterprise” is best characterized as “freedom.” I believe in empowering the private sector… As we work together, Utah will continue to be a leader in promoting free enterprise.
Later he states:
We can, and we must, develop our natural resources, but we must do it responsibly and with an eye to our children’s future.
We will not forget our duty to be good stewards of our land and protectors of our environment. Clean air and clean water are something we all value. The Utah quality of life is greatly enhanced by our beautiful canyons, our stunning mountains, and our incomparable red rock deserts. Protecting our extraordinary natural wonderment and meeting our pressing energy needs are not mutually exclusive goals.
He expresses his limited government approach by declaring:
let me also affirm that I believe in the appropriate – but limited – role of government. I believe that what government we have ought to be well-run and efficient. As stated by former President Ronald Reagan in his farewell address, “There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” As Governor, I will lead the charge for government efficiencies in all that we are tasked to do.
He also affirms his belief in a self-reliant society by stating:
I believe in self reliance. This pertains to both the individual and the State. As a nation we seem to be drifting from a culture of self reliance. Government entitlement can never substitute for individual responsibility or for the inherent roles of family, neighborhood and community.
And finally, and this is a very important one to me:
I also affirm my support for the principle and importance of state’s rights. We should never forget that we, as a nation of United States, created the federal government, not the other way around.
While I am still hesitant to declare Herbert as the conservative that we need to govern Utah. I am very hopeful based on his inaugural address. Only time will tell, but so far Herbert has impressed me.
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