The Productive Middle

The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes observed that without government, the life of man becomes “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Lately it’s seemed just the opposite—with government our economic lives are at risk. It’s as if we have a heart attack every three months, gradually ruining our economic health, causing self-imposed economic pain and diminishing our standing in the world.

There’s got to be a better way.

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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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A Real Impact

Originally published in Utah Business.

I can still remember the flyers plastered in the hallways of my junior high school: “Bonnet ball begins next month. Sign up now.” The flyers started a conversation between a good friend and me—should we sign up for bonnet ball or try an alternative sport known as soccer? The year was 1975 and soccer, especially for women, was a largely unknown sport in the Beehive State.

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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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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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Writings and Reflections