SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox said he is gravely concerned about the state of politics in our country. That’s why he tells ABC4 he’s using his new role as chair of the National Governors Association to call for change.

“Our country is in trouble. We can’t solve the biggest issues if we can’t even have a conversation,” said Cox.

But the governor finds hope in what he calls the “exhausted majority.”

“There is a growing sense that people have had it, they’ve had enough, they are tired of all this,” Cox said.

The governor is inviting all those people to join him in demanding better. To do that, he is launching his National Governors Association chair’s initiative for the next year. It’s called “Disagree Better: Healthy Conflict for Better Policy.” The goal? To restore dignity to the political narrative.

Cox says that needs to start at the top, and it’s urgent.

“I’m an American before I’m whatever tribe you are trying to put me into. If we decide that, then we can figure the rest of this out. If we don’t, then I fear for our ability to be Americans for much longer,” he said.

Cox is calling on his governor colleagues to set the tone.

He says he will use public debates, service projects, and more to model a positive and optimistic way of working through problems.

“This is not, ‘We all have to get along, and we all have to agree on everything.’ It is not that. In fact, it is very data-driven, it is very research-driven, and that is we attack ideas, not people.”

He wants to put this to use on a real policy challenge: immigration. He believes governors can disagree better to come up with common-ground solutions.

Cox begins his one-year term as chair of the National Governors Association today.