Utah Governor Gary Herbert

Governor Herbert set the stage for the second day, commenting that “States are the laboratories of democracy,” and noting that the Senate Presidents’ Forum provides critical opportunities for State leaders to share best practices and collaborate on problem-solving.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert (center) stressed the critical role of the States as “the laboratory for democracy.” He is pictured with his Utah State Senate colleagues, Sen. Wayne Niederhauser (left) and Sen. J. Stuart Adams (right).

Debunking the myth of a “healthy tension” between the executive and legislative branches, the Governor commented, “Instead of sustaining tension between the branches, we need to recognize the uniqueness of the roles that the executive and legislative branches perform. Interacting with respect and civility allows us to collaborate and cooperate to solve problems and improve the lives of all the people.”

Local solutions are the best solutions to local challenges, Governor Herbert stated. Local solutions take into account the regional, cultural, and demographic differences that can lead to the optimal solutions. He contrasted this with “one size fits all” solutions mandated by the Federal government.

Citing President James Madison’s Federalist Paper #45, he noted that the Founding fathers anticipated that the states would solve their own problems. As Madison wrote, the US Constitution limits the Federal government to “a few and defined powers,” while allocating to the States “numerous and indefinite powers.”

Governor Herbert made an emphatic argument for the role of the states and state legislators to push back on “Federal over-reach in entitlements.” The combined State budgets are $1.7 trillion per year, compared to the $4 trillion per year spent by the federal government, he noted. The current $19 trillion debt and the $50 trillion in unfunded liabilities put us on a collision course for a significant crash, Governor Herbert predicted.

Utah is one of only nine states with a AAA bond rating, was named by CNBC as the best state for business and start-ups, and was cited as the top travel destination of 2016 by Fodor’s Travel. “Utah’s success is based on good leadership, good principles, and good people that contribute to good policy,” Governor Herbert observed.

Utah has focused on helping people help themselves by expanding economic opportunity for everyone, instead of providing entitlements, the Governor reported. The State offers retraining programs to reeducate displaced workers with skills that meet the demands of the marketplace. As a result, Utah’s poverty rate is one-third that of the national average and its youth poverty rate is 50% less than the national average.

 “There has never been a more critical time in US history for State Senate Presidents to step up and push back against Federal over-reach and entitlements. You must demand from Congressional leaders that the Federal government stop taking State tax dollars or return the funds to the States without strings attached,” he said. “The States know best how to solve local problems and improve people’s lives. In forums such as the Senate Presidents’ Forum, you can share your successes and failures and find workable solutions to State challenges. Solutions are not coming from the Federal government. It’s up to the States to lead,” Governor Herbert concluded.

Speaker Biography

Gary Herbert

Governor Gary Richard Herbert has led Utah's recovery from the Great Recession to a position of national economic prominence. His unwavering focus on economic development includes attracting businesses and investment to the state while helping homegrown businesses flourish.

The governor is focused on four cornerstones to strengthen Utah's economy: education, jobs, energy, and self-determination. As a result, Utah has become a premier destination for business, jobs, and an unsurpassed quality of life.

As Utah's 17th governor, he took the oath of office on August 11, 2009. Prior to becoming the state's chief executive, Governor Herbert served as lieutenant governor for five years. He is the past chair of the Western Governors Association and National Governors Association.

Governor Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, are the proud parents of six children and 16 grandchildren.

Other Fall 2016 Forum Highlights articles:

Utah has focused on helping people help themselves by expanding economic opportunity for everyone.

Governor Gary Richard

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