All posts by ngochnour

Pope’s words worth pondering this weekend

Originally published in the Deseret News.

In addition to cooler weather and fall colors, this weekend Salt Lake City hosts the Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For many in this state, it’s a time of reflection, a pause for the betterment of self, community and the world. Ecclesiastical leaders of the state’s dominant faith tradition will provide counsel and comfort to members. It’s a big stage, a worldwide broadcast, and a great time to think about the things that matter to the soul.

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Don’t Stand on the Sidelines

Originally published in Utah Business.

About a decade ago, as a member of the governor’s senior staff, I learned a valuable lesson about female leadership in the workplace. The governor’s senior team was discussing the right course of action on a welfare issue affecting thousands of Utah families. It won’t surprise those of you who know her well that Olene Walker, who was lieutenant governor at the time, made her point of view known in an articulate, well-reasoned and forceful fashion. She was not going to stand on the sidelines while an issue affecting the neediest Utah families was debated. It was an extraordinary example of the feminine value of compassion having its day, and I took note. Society benefits from women in the workforce.

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Best way to fight evil is to do something good

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I felt a certain sadness when I listened to Michelle Knight’s remarks at the sentencing hearing for Ariel Castro. Knight spent 11 years in hell under the repeated torture of Castro who had kidnapped her by saying he had a puppy for her son. In her riveting testimony, Knight told the courtroom she cried every night and the years turned into eternity. In the face of this human tragedy, we are left to wonder what we can do to make this world a better place.

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Utahns need to be more accepting of others

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Yesterday we celebrated our nation’s birthday. In less than three weeks we will celebrate what in Utah is an even bigger holiday — Pioneer Day. July is the month for patriotic revelry and pioneer celebration. As we think about our past and what others did for us, we should also think about our future and what we can do for others. Narrowing the cultural divide in Utah is a great place to start.

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Don’t rely on Utah’s best run state accolades

Originally published in the Deseret News.

We are fortunate in Utah to have had great governors through the years. I’ve had the pleasure of working directly with three of them — Norm Bangerter, Mike Leavitt and Olene Walker — and advising two of them — Jon Huntsman Jr., and Gary Herbert. I grew up admiring the service of Govs. Cal Rampton and Scott Matheson. To a person, Utah’s governors protect the public trust and serve as remarkable stewards of our state.

This stands in sharp contrast to a major state like Illinois where four of the past seven governors have served prison time. Leadership matters, and Utah is well led.

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Buckle Up: Obamacare Will Be Here in Six Months

Originally published in Utah Business.

In less than six months, many of the most critical components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, will begin. Mandates for coverage, the end of pre-existing conditions, a community rating and richer subsidies take effect next year. As we move closer to 2014, many Utahns and Utah businesses sense the mighty change. I’m telling people to buckle up—one of the largest social policy changes in our lifetime is here.

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Boston bombings remind us not to judge unfairly

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The Boston marathon bombings remain on our minds even though it’s been nearly three weeks. We can’t seem to get it out of our heads that two misguided brothers cooked up pressure cooker bombs and hurt, maimed and killed innocent people. In our hearts we echo the words of the mother of bombing victim Krystle Marie Campbell, “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

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