Governor breaks from tradition in annual State of the State address


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.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...