SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – This year, Governor Gary Herbert took a different approach to his State of the State address.
On the heels of the federal government shutdown, he highlighted what he calls, “Utah’s unique spirit of collaboration.”
In a packed House chamber, the governor declared the state of the state is “truly exceptional.”
But, he threw the traditional script out the window, and stayed clear of the typical Utah bragging rights.
“I know that you already know what we need to be doing over these next 42 days,” said Herbert, (R) Utah.
Instead, his State of the State address was delivered with an eye to the future, reflecting on his own family.
“I have become increasingly concerned about the kind of world that we are creating for our children and for our grandchildren.”
He urged lawmakers on both sides to work together on tough issues like education, tax reform and air quality.
He points to Operation Rio Grande as an example of Utah’s spirit of collaboration, and called on all of us to come together to address the alarming rate of teen suicide in our state.
“The fact that suicide has become the leading cause of death among our young people horrifies me. Just as we could not ignore the human tragedy in the Rio Grande area, we must never ignore this human tragedy of suicide.”
Legislative democrats are not critical of the speech, but they do say the words need to turn to action for Utah children and working families.
“It’s because we are doing well in Utah that we need to step up in a more vigorous, in a more aggressive way, and in many ways a more self-sacrificing way to ensure that the people who have been left behind, aren’t left behind any more” said Representative Brian King, (D) Salt Lake City.
The governor ended with a tribute to a beloved figure at the Capitol. Matt Hillyard, who was born with Down syndrome and recently passed away.
He called on everyone to be more like Matt, and it drew a standing ovation. Matt is the son of State Senator Lyle Hillyard.