Columnist Robert Gehrke’s take on some of Utah’s hot political issues

Inside Utah Politics

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Robert Gehrke is a political columnist with the Salt Lake Tribune.

Gehrke stops by this week’s Inside Utah Politics to discuss his unique perspective on some of the hot political topics people are talking about in the state of Utah. 

Ballot initiatives have been at the forefront of public opinion this year, including the Better Boundaries Initiative which Gehrke has recently written about. 

“I was a little surprised that this one had as much support as it did to get onto the ballot, but I think right now it looks pretty good. There’s not a concerted opposition movement against it like we’ve seen for the medical marijuana initiative,” Gehrke said. 

Gehrke has made the argument that the districts are basically put together by lifers in the legislature, a comment that had President Niederhauser firing back at. 

“He’s served a long time in the legislature in that district that was created for him and he’s leaving on his own accord. We have seen a steady decline. Adam Brown from Brigham Young University has mapped the turnover in the legislature and we have seen a steady decline over the years in turnover,” said Gehrke. 

Another topic that has been the source of much debate within the state is the inland port.  

“Mayor Biskupski has clashed with Governor Herbert when they tried to work out some of the differences on this. Talks broke down, and then Senator Jim Dabakis stepped in and tried to negotiate something with Greg Hughes and that caused a  little bit of a backlash. What we finally see now is an agreement that was negotiated with several council members and the legislature. Mayor Biskupski is still not happy with it and is threatening to sue and I think eventually will ultimately sue to challenge the creation of this port,” said Gehrke. “The fact that the mayor was sort of missing and that she refused to sit down and have these discussions, I thought was sort of an abdication of her responsibility and that’s why you saw the city council step in and try to fill that void.” 

He also talks about Operation Rio Grande and how people have been impacted by it over the last year. 

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