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Politics & Government

Herbert Leads Nation's Governors

The National Governors Association
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert became chairman of the National Governors Association this weekend. He wants to promote federalism and showcase state solutions to the nation's problems.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert, the National Governors Association’s new leader, talked Monday about his goals for the group in the year ahead.

The NGA is basically a professional organization for the 55 states and territories of the United States, and Herbert became its chairman Saturday. He says Washington leaders can look to governors to find solutions for the nation’s toughest problems.

“What we’re going to do with this initiative,” he says, “ is change maybe the discourse and heighten awareness of the successes of the states.”

The Republican governor says the federal government overreaches in too many areas and that citizens are partly to blame by expecting so much from Washington. Herbert suggests that governors, despite philosophical differences among the political parties and state to state, lead by example. One is immigration.

“There’s no reason to not hope that the Congress can come together and, with some leadership out of the White House, resolve that issue, that immigration issue,” he says.

Herbert joked that he got the position because he’s one of the few governors not running for president in 2016. But David Magleby, a political scientist at Brigham Young University, says the post could potentially raise Herbert’s political standing nationally, like it did for former governor Mike Leavitt.

“The kind of attention Herbert will get,” Magleby says, “may enhance his visibility as a prospective national player in something like a cabinet position.”

Besides Herbert, Utah leaders with key national spots this year include Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who became the National League of Cities president last fall, and State Senator Curt Bramble, who becomes president of the National Conference of State Legislatures next month.

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