Drift v. Mastery: Finding a path forward in difficult times

Originally published in Utah Business.

The American intellectual Walter Lippmann warned in 1914 that the United States had entered a period of drift. He recognized rapidly changing forces in society and suggested the country should address tensions by creating more balance. Extremism brings drift, moderation brings mastery. There’s something about his thesis that deserves attention today.

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Count My Vote victories

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Utah’s primary election is a week away, but it’s already time to celebrate. Thanks to the Count My Vote compromise (also referred to as SB54), more candidates appear on the primary election ballot this year. When asked about it, former Gov. Mike Leavitt said, “Better choices mean better government.” I agree. Regardless of the vote tally next week, the increased choices provided by Count My Vote election reforms are a victory for Utah.

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Making the most of life’s messes

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Summer is off to an unsettling start. A series of events have caused us to feel ill-at-ease. The presidential election hasn’t helped. Many find the choices unfathomable. But it’s more. The long security lines at airports remind us people still want to harm us. Our smartphones ping almost weekly with yet another college campus, military base or workplace shooting. And closer to home, we have witnessed unthinkable crimes to a transit worker, a mother in Magna and a beloved community leader and restaurateur.

In times of need I find comfort in great thinkers and writers. I frequently turn to Harry Emerson Fosdick for inspiration. He was a highly acclaimed theologian, pastor and writer who delivered sermons in the mid-20th century. He died in 1969 but left behind brilliant insights for people of all belief systems. In a sermon titled “Making the Best of a Bad Mess” he made observations applicable to today.

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Minimum Wage Debate: Utahns should consider alternative ways to lift families out of poverty

Originally published in Utah Business.

Many times in public policy we share a common goal, but choose a different path. This is the case with the minimum wage debate. Utahns share a sincere interest in helping low-income families secure a more stable future. Some policy makers choose the minimum wage policy path to lift these families out of poverty. Other people, like me, choose a different path. I favor enhanced training opportunities and the earned income tax credit as superior policy interventions.

With California, New York and other jurisdictions pursuing a $15 minimum wage, it’s time to consider the right policy intervention for Utah.

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A plea for a more policy-oriented governor’s race

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I pay a lot of attention to the Utah governor’s race because of the importance of the chief executive to the success of our state. I want to make a plea for a more policy-oriented governor’s race.

My plea is born of experience. Governors matter. They set the direction for the state and lead in times of crisis. In the 2016 election we have three accomplished and talented candidates vying for office. We need to learn more about their policies and vision for the state.

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The soul of our city

Originally published in Utah Business.

I’m a native Salt Laker, so I should know how to describe Utah’s capital city to someone new to our state. Still, when I’m asked by a non-Utahn to describe Salt Lake City, I struggle with the right response. Salt Lake City, for all its stereotypes, is difficult to fit in a box.

The British poet John Betjeman invented a word that captures my feelings about this place. He combined the words topos, which means “place,” with the Greek word philia, which means “love of,” to coin the term topophilia or “love of place.” For me, it’s the combination of love and place that makes me so proud to be a Salt Laker.

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Engagement is the right path for US-Cuba relations

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The "smile" of Havana

The “smile” of Havana

This week, a Carnival cruise ship left Miami, crossed the Florida Straits and docked in Havana, Cuba. Over 700 passengers stepped off the ship into a socialist country that has endured a half century of Cold War hostility. If these visitors are anything like me, they left with a love for the Cuban people and a renewed commitment to strengthen ties with this extraordinary place.

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Crossroads of the West Stand Strong

Originally published in the Deseret News.

About 1,400 small-business owners, entrepreneurs, business executives and community leaders will gather at the Grand America Hotel on Friday for the 10th annual Governor’s Economic Summit. It will be a celebration of sorts, as the Utah economy continues to impress. The Beehive State created nearly 45,000 jobs over the past year and is in its sixth year of solid economic growth. The Crossroads of the West stands strong.

A hallmark of the governor’s economic summit is a mindset toward the future. As a speaker at the summit I will present several trends for attendees to contemplate as we plan for a prosperous future. Three of these trends are worthy of a broader discussion.

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Welcoming refugees: Come break bread with us

Originally published in the Deseret News.

“Pull up a seat, you’re welcome at the table, there’s room and abundance for all.” — Peggy Noonan

Sometimes I feel like we live in a darkening world. Light is all around us, but each day the flame dims as disheartening events turn us away from the light — bombings in Paris and Brussels, the sorry state of American presidential politics and the need for fetal pain abortion laws. There are a lot of hard things to process every day. We live in challenging times.

This week the light in the world got a little brighter because of renewed efforts to serve the world’s refugee population. The source of that light came from Utah. The world is a brighter place today.

The “I was a stranger” effort, launched by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, builds upon a long history of sisterly love in Utah. It’s a history served as well by Catholic Community Services and other faith-based, governmental and nonprofit entities. In Utah, we welcome the world. As one female leader with the LDS Church put it, “This is not a program; it is who we are.”

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The Gateway Re-Imagined

Originally published in Utah Business Magazine.

When my daughter got her driver’s license I remember asking her if she could find her way around town. She turned to me with a confident smile and said, “I know how to get to The Gateway.”

Her answer spoke volumes. A 16-year-old, newly minted driver, who lived in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, knew the directions to a downtown shopping destination eight miles away. The Gateway was THE place to go and she had found it.

A lot has changed in the intervening years. The Gateway today is a shadow of the gathering place it once was. Thankfully, Phoenix-based developer Vestar recently purchased the property and will invest $30 million to support an inspiring vision. I couldn’t be more exited to welcome Vestar to town.

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Writings and Reflections