Utah Gov. Gary Herbert can point to the latest Utah GrassRoots Report as evidence that he has moved to the center on many issues. In what proves to be an ironic compliment, the extreme right-wing groups's dissing of the governor helps boost his appeal as a moderate.
Herbert received a score of 27 from Utah GrassRoots, which charged the governor with allowing government to grow too much. The group was also opposed to Herbert's veto of House Bill 76, which would have allowed Utah adults to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Don Guymon, chairman of Utah GrassRoots, called the governor a rubber-stamp for the Legislature, which passed 524 bills last session.
We agree that legislators are handling too many bills, but we don't see Herbert's performance as governor as liberal, rubber-stamp or big government. Frankly, the governor has shown himself to be a sensible, budget-conscious state leader wise enough to avoid foolish legislation or message bills, of which HB76 was both. That the veto will not be overridden shows that Herbert displayed more common sense than legislators who originally supported the bill's passage. It's clear many of those legislators have had second thoughts on HB76.
We have no quarrel with Utah GrassRoots' activism. In fact, we admire any group that is civic-minded enough to promote its stances and get involved in the political process. We offer congratulations to Top of Utah state Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, who received a score of 76 from Utah GrassRoots, sixth highest among Utah lawmakers. Oda, and other high scorers, including ultra-conservatives Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, and state Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Provo, are certainly meeting the expectations of their most fervent right-wing supporters.
But Governor Herbert represents all Utahns, not a constituency. That he has moved to the center, avoiding extremist positions on some issues, while maintaining fiscal conservatism and energetically seeking to bring businesses to Utah, speaks well of his tenure. As mentioned, the Utah GrassRoots Report ironically provides evidence of Herbert's success.