Educating our children is vital to Utah’s future. It’s time for transformational improvements to Utah’s K-12 education system, including increasing teacher salaries and reducing bureaucracy to help our quality teachers succeed and encourage new teachers to enter the profession. Two principles should guide our education policy: localization and personalization.
As governor, I will apply these five guiding governing principles as I consider legislation and other government action:
- Is the proposed government action constitutional?
- Could someone outside of the government perform the action?
- Can someone closer to those impacted take the action?
- Does the action interfere with fundamental personal liberties?
- Is the action affordable and sustainable?
I oppose new taxes and, as governor, I will not raise taxes. Last year, I voted against Prop 1 in Salt Lake County. Utahns deserve a break from ever increasing taxes. I will actively look to shrink government, not expand it. I will look for ways to reduce taxes, including corporate income tax and income taxes on military and social security benefits.
Federal Government Overreach
In 1982, Ronald Reagan said “the federal government is still operating under the outdated and, if I may say so, arrogant assumption that the states can’t manage their own affairs.” If that was true over three decades ago, it is worse today.
The Tenth Amendment clearly states that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution” are “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It protects the rights of the states and the people from federal overreach.
Unfortunately, Washington bureaucrats and federal courts frequently ignore the Tenth Amendment. Worse, states have failed to stand up for their rights as sovereign entities – looking to the federal government to solve problems and fund government programs. The Herbert administration has furthered this troubling trend – even when there were onerous conditions attached to the federal funds.
For example, Governor Herbert’s Medicaid expansion proposal sought over $700 million a year in Obamacare funds – but on conditions which imposed unknown and uncapped liability to Utah taxpayers. In another example, Governor Herbert as chairman of the National Governors Association, lobbied Congress to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act – a law which gives the Secretary of the Department of Education full veto power over Utah’s education plan. This law passed, despite all members of the Utah Congressional delegation (other than Senator Orrin Hatch) voting against the bill. These are only two of many examples of Governor Herbert encouraging federal overreach into Utah affairs. A governor should not allow D.C. bureaucrats to mandate how we run our state.
In addition, Governor Herbert has not stood strongly against uninvited federal overreach. For example, he has stood idly by as the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forrest Service have restricted Utahns access to public land in the state – severely hindering many rural Utahns from making a living. Governor Herbert has not used his chairman position in the National Governors Association (or his leadership positions in other governor groups) to meaningfully further the cause of states’ rights. Rather, he has let the staff of these groups advance a pro-federal government agenda.
During his two terms as governor, Governor Herbert has increased Utah’s dependence on the federal government from $2.5 billion/year to $4.0 billion/year – and it would be much higher if his Medicaid expansion proposals had passed. With every federal dollar, he’s lessened Utah’s ability to stand up to the ever-increasing encroachment of the federal government.
To protect Utahns from further federal overreach and dependence, as governor I will push for laws that:
- Require the state legislature to disclose potential costs to Utah taxpayers to maintain Utah government services or programs partially or wholly funded by the federal government if the federal government decreases or eliminates federal funding.
- Require the state legislature to have a specific contingency plan to fund, scale back or eliminate any Utah government services or programs if the federal government cuts some or all of the federal funding for such services.
- Require the state legislature to disclose if any proposed legislation includes federal funding, including the amount requested.
Economy & Careers
The Government doesn’t create jobs, businesses and individual entrepreneurs create jobs. Job growth is the result of the hard work and ingenuity in the private sector. The government should ensure a fertile business environment by lessening regulation and allowing for innovation.
Utah has jobs – we need more careers
Utah’s unemployment rate is 3.4%. It’s great that jobs are readily available along the Wasatch Front. However, a recent survey of Utah businesses found 71% have trouble hiring qualified employees for higher skilled positions – ones that allow workers to buy a home and get ahead. Utah can close this gap by partnering with businesses to ensure government sponsored training programs and certifications better fill the business community’s needs. We do this by focusing on career training programs (e.g., manufacturing, nursing, computer programming, skilled labor positions like welding, machinery, mechanics, etc.) where demand is currently unmet.
Promote Utah’s Tech Industry
I am an executive of one of Utah’s leading tech businesses. I serve on the board of trustees of the Utah Technology Council. I get tech. And I understand what it takes to grow a start-up into a billion dollar business. I will better promote Silicon Slopes, bringing more talent and attracting more capital to Utah. Utah can significantly improve its business regulatory climate – one that currently hinders disruptive technologies like Zenefits, Tesla, and Airbnb from successfully doing business in Utah. I’m the leader to grow Utah’s important tech industry.
Economy in Rural Utah
While the Wasatch Front is experiencing a healthy economy, much of rural Utah is suffering hard times. For example, last year Garfield County declared an economic state of emergency because families there are forced to leave to find work and its school population is dwindling. A strong rural Utah economy means families are able to live and support themselves where they want. Federal overreach is severely suppressing rural Utah’s economy. It’s time for a state leader who will push back against the decades of growing federal restrictions on the rural economy. I’ll be that leader. I’m from a family of eight boys and when any one of us was in a fight, all eight of us were in that fight. Utah can’t continue to leave rural Utah to fight the behemoth federal government alone.
I believe the Utah caucus-convention system works well. I’ve been a precinct chair and state and county delegate. I know the caucus-convention system makes every neighborhood in Utah important. As a candidate, I’ve been holding cottage and town hall meetings in neighborhoods all around the state – listening and learning what matters most to Utahns.
S.B. 54 seeks to gut the caucus-convention system. It insulates incumbents and favors candidates with the most money. It diminishes the voice of rural Utah. As governor, I will work to repeal S.B. 54. In Utah, a ballot position should never be for sale.
Marriage & Religious Liberty
I believe marriage is ordained of God and is properly between a man and a woman. Until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled otherwise, marriage was always a state issue. I believe it should still be a state issue.
When litigants challenged Utah’s Amendment 3 (the Utah Constitution amendment which defined marriage as between a man and a woman), I formed the First Freedom political action committee (now known as Promote Liberty) to promote protection of religious liberties. I worked with members of the state legislature in an effort to amend the Utah Constitution to ensure that the government cannot force a church or its clergy to perform any religious ceremony or rite in a manner contrary to the church’s stated tenets. However, legislative leaders tabled this effort during the Amendment 3 lawsuit because they feared the effort to protect religious liberties might hurt the state’s case.
As governor, I will renew this effort. I firmly believe in staunchly protecting First Amendment rights. It is important that religious institutions and believers be able to practice their religion free from government interference and to participate in public discourse.
As I took a lead role in defending religious liberty in Utah, the Human Rights Campaign (the nation’s largest LGBTQ lobbying group) called for my resignation and sent a letter to every member of the Overstock.com board demanding that I be fired from Overstock.com. This did not deter my efforts. And Overstock.com founder’s, despite disagreeing with my position on same sex marriage, defended me in exercising my First Amendment rights.
Against my strong protests, Overstock.com has sponsored the Salt Lake Gay Pride parade. This was the decision of the founder, many members of the management team and some members of the board who support same sex marriage. I did not and do not support this decision. For Governor Herbert to assert that I support same sex marriage is like saying every member of his cabinet supports his tax increases, his Medicaid expansion proposals and the Common Core standards he champions.
The federal government owns two-thirds of the land in our state. By percentage only Nevada and Alaska owns less of its land. Utah forests, watershed, wildlife habitat and recreation areas are at extreme risk due to the mismanagement by the federal government. Under state control and management, these lands could be better preserved, Utahns could have better access, and provide a higher economic return through local stewardship. I will lead the fight for the transfer of federal lands to Western states, it is essential if we are to become a self-reliant state. We live here. We don’t need D.C.to control our lands.
I will be a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. I will fight any federal government overreach that aims to disrupt the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Utahns.
During his two terms as governor, Governor Herbert has vetoed or threatened to veto Constitutional Carry legislation. We don’t need a piece of paper to exercise our First Amendment rights; we shouldn’t need a piece of paper to exercise our Second Amendment rights. As conservative governors have done in other states, I will sign a Constitutional Carry law.
Politics shouldn’t be a career. Our elected officials should be citizen servants. As Governor Herbert said when he first ran for re-election as governor, “I think our Founding Fathers always believed people would serve for limited periods of time and then go back and live with the laws they’ve passed.” [Apparently, 26 years in elected political offices and two terms as governor isn’t a limited period of time.]
As governor, during my first 100 days in office I will work with the legislature to put in place a two-term limit on the governor to mirror the Twenty Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I will then ask the citizens of Utah to amend Utah’s Constitution so future politicians can’t undo the law (like they did in 2003).
As a business leader, I know that air quality is a top issue for retaining and attracting business in Utah. Our valleys’ air has a natural tendency to quickly become over polluted increasing health problems and costs while decreasing our overall quality of life. Everyone along the Wasatch front shares the same air and responsibility to improve the conditions. To do this Utah should consider implementing tier three fuel standards, drastically cutting vehicle emissions, which accounts for the majority of the pollution in our state.
Projected population increases in our state demand that we better prepare for the future water needs of our state. Being a conservative means that we cut waste wherever waste exists, we need to better conserve our water and better prepare for our future. Water is one of our scarcest and most valuable resources. We need to be better stewards of our water supply.