Category Archives: Deseret News Columns

Gov. Gary Herbert’s budget hits the mark

Originally published in the Deseret News.

This week Gov. Gary Herbert released his fiscal year 2015 budget. He recommended $13.3 billion in spending – a cool $36 million a day to pay for Utah’s education system, transportation network, human services, public safety and other important public functions. I worked in the state budget office for 18 years, and I think the governor got it right. Here’s my take on state finances:

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Utah needs more women in decision making roles

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Next week, Utahns will be summoned to the election booth to vote in municipal elections. Those who do will find far too few women on the ballot. And it’s not just at the ballot box: it’s in boardrooms and businesses. It’s even in our faith institutions. Women, for all of their native talents, are completely underrepresented in leadership positions. Our community is the lesser for it.

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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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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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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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Utah falls short in dealing with at-risk students

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The start of spring signals transition. The foothills turn green, we wear brighter colors and the blue sky makes us all feel just a little bit better. Spring brings barbecues, baseball and backyard gardening and, with any luck, the NBA playoffs for the home team. It’s a time of renewal, and after a long, cold and snowy winter, we are ready for the change.

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