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Herbert Touts States As Good White House Prep

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The leaders of the National Governors Association said Monday that being a chief executive for a state is good prepartion for being the nation's chief executive.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and other governors met with President Barack Obama on Monday at the White House.

Herbert’s a Republican and chairman of the National Governors Association. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s a Democrat and NGA vice chair. And they both commented on why it looks unlikely that a governor is headed to White House after this year’s election even though voters generally like their presidents to have been governors.

McAuliffe and Herbert were side-by-side when a member of the White House press corps asked if the Virginia governor might join Hilary Clinton on the Democratic presidential ticket. After McAuliffe said he just getting started as a governor, Herbert stepped to the microphone.

“But he’s gonna be the chairman of the National Governors Association,” Herbert said, prompting laughter. “Why would you want to take a step backward?”

“That’s right,” McAuliffe agreed. 

Seventeen of the nation’s 43 presidents have been governors. And, while the 2016 race began with four, only Ohio Governor John Kasich’s campaign is still active -- though just barely -- for the GOP nomination. Herbert and McAuliffe agreed that governors get invaluable on-the-job training for leading a nation.

“You cannot pass the buck,” McAuliffe told the reporters. “Every single day, Gary and I and the other governors – there’s items on our desks, we’ve got to make decisions that particular day. I think that is a great, great training ground.”

“That training ground that you get as a state executive helps you transition to the Oval Office,” Herbert agreed. “So, who knows what’s going to happen [in this year’s unusual presidential race]. My crystal ball is as foggy as anyone else’s.”

Herbert also used his time in Washington to deliver a letter asking the president not to designate a new national monument in Utah.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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