SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) — 11 and a half years is coming to a close for Utah’s 17th governor, Governor Gary Herbert.

From the parlor of the historic Governor’s Mansion in Salt Lake City, he addressed the beehive state for one last time.

Gov. Herbert, who took office in 2009, is currently the nation’s longest-serving governor.

In his final address, Herbert said that serving as Utah’s governor has been “the greatest honor of my professional life.”

He also gave his thanks to Utah’s first responders and educators, who have shown a great amount of resilience, particularly during this difficult pandemic.

Gov. Herbert also noted that during his time as Governor of Utah, the state has made “great strides in difficult but important issues” such as education funding, Medicaid, and criminal justice reform.

Herbert touted the state’s current 8.9% poverty rate and a 4.3% unemployment rate, as well as Utah’s population growth by 550-thousand people during his time in office.

The governor gave his biggest thank you to all Utahns, saying, “It is the everyday ordinary people of Utah that have inspired me the most. I am proud not to just be the governor of the people, but all of the people.”

However, the governor’s time in office has come with its fair share of backlash.

In early December, Salt Lake County bar owners penned a letter to Herbert, criticizing his order on bars to stop serving alcohol after 10 p.m.

Small business owners throughout Utah also pleaded with Herbert and Utah legislature, calling for a bipartisan stimulus deal that would help Utah’s small businesses, who have taken significant financial hits during the pandemic.

According to the Governor’s website, Herbert was born and raised in Utah County, where he eventually went on to serve as County Commissioner for 14 years.

Herbert attended Brigham Young University, later serving in the Utah National Guard from 1970 to 1976. According to Herbert’s website, he currently serves as the Chair of the National Governor’s Association.

Herbert and his wife Jeanette have 6 children and 16 grandchildren.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox will be sworn in as Utah’s next governor on Jan 4.

Click here to download the ABC4 Utah News app for the first alerts on your phone. Sign up for the ABC4 Utah breaking news and daily newsletters.