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Utah ‘Made Mistakes' During Pandemic, But Governor Said He Wouldn’t Have Done Anything Differently

Gov. Gary Herbert at a COVID briefing.
Steve Griffin
Deseret News
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has spent nearly 12 years in office. Although he considers himself to be conservative in his politics, Herbert said he feels he has tried to respect and understand others.

Gov. Gary Herbert held his final monthly news conference Thursday, before his time in office ends in January.

After more than 11 years as the head of the state, Herbert said he’s looking forward to seeing 2021 unfold from the bench.

“I’m going to be sitting on the sidelines and watching all the good things that are going to happen,” he said. “But we’re all going to be glad to put 2020 in our rearview mirror.”

Herbert described himself as a “right-of-center conservative” in his politics, but he said he feels he has been respectful and understanding of others.

“I'm inclusive in [the] process, and I found that works very well [for me],” he said. “And I would suggest everybody, no matter if you’re right of center, left of center, we ought to be a little more moderate in tone and show civility and respect for each other. I think that's the approach I've tried to take, and hopefully it's worked.”

Herbert reflected on how the state has handled the coronavirus pandemic, which took up most of his last year in office. He said he wouldn’t have done anything differently regarding no-bid contracts for a testing app and supplies.

“We certainly made mistakes on the way, but we've learned,” he said. “We've handled it as good as any state in America and better than most.”

He also said he wouldn’t have implemented a mask mandate earlier, which he eventually did in early November.

Herbert said he believes Gov.-elect Spencer Cox, who has served as his lieutenant governor since 2013 and will be inaugurated on Jan. 4, will build on his work in Utah.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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