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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert Says Farewell After Nearly 12 Years In Office

A screenshot of Gov. Gary Herbert as he gives his farewell address.
Screenshot of Farewell Address
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert gave his farewell address to the public Monday.

The best advice Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s father ever gave him has guided him during his time in office.

“‘Work will win, when wishywashy wishing won't,’” Herbert said. “I know this is kind of cheesy, but it's a true principle — a good work ethic solves a lot of problems.”

In a short farewell address Monday, the outgoing governor thanked his staff, state employees, his family and everyday Utahns for trusting him as the head of state for more than 11 years. Herbert is the second longest-serving governor — and the longest-serving Republican governor — in Utah’s history.

He also touched on how much Utah’s economy and population have grown over the past 10 years. Herbert pointed to the long-term planning around infrastructure expansion and natural resources as something that helped the state evolve beyond what he described as “just a visitor destination.”

“There are about 550,000 Utahns today who didn’t live here when I was first inaugurated,” he said. “Utah is a place where people want to work and where they want to live.”

Herbert reflected on the two great challenges that have bookended his time in office: the Great Recession of 2008 and the global pandemic in 2020.

He also called on Utahns to unite to overcome the remaining challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing political tensions.

“We must stand together with mutual respect and civility for the benefit of all,” he said. “And we must profoundly reject the politics of divisiveness and acrimony.”

Looking forward, he expressed his full confidence that Gov.-elect Spencer Cox will lead Utah to “new heights.”

“[Cox] has a great mind and a good heart,” he said. “He has a strong work ethic from growing up on a farm. And like me, he believes in the people of Utah.”

David is a reporter and producer working on Sent Away, an investigative podcast series from KUER, The Salt Lake Tribune and APM Reports.
Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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