Former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announces his next role
Former Governor Gary Herbert may have crossed the cloak to run the beehive state, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to take a break from public service.
“What are you doing as a sequel? I’m not someone who just sits on my laurels and takes a rest. My father taught me that a man must have a reason to get up in the morning, to do something, to give something back, to serve. Service is the rent you pay for the space you occupy, ”said Herbert on Thursday.
He plans to capitalize on the knowledge and connections he has gained from his years in state government and his years in general (he turns 74 on Friday) to the Utah County’s business community as the new chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Unite Utah Valley. He told reporters at the Provo Chamber Office.
Herbert was the governor of Utah for nearly 12 years. Prior to that, he was Lieutenant Governor under Jon Huntsman Jr. and a Utah County Commissioner.
Curtis Blair, President and CEO of the Chamber, said that during last year’s pandemic – and when the Chamber leaders were researching how to get through this difficult period – they asked themselves, “What does a former governor do?”
“And Gary Herbert has a tremendous track record of building a business and finding common ground so that different voices come together to create solutions for education, human resource development, transportation and natural resources. I mean, with all the work he’s done, we were like, ‘I wonder if he’d be interested in focusing this on Utah County?’ “Blair said.
The chamber hopes, with Herbert’s help, to build partnerships with other chambers in the valley as well as more public and private partnerships.
Curtis Blair, President and CEO of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, and former Utah Governor Gary Herbert, will speak at the Chamber’s office in Provo on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Herbert will act as the Chamber’s Board of Directors with specific responsibilities for cultivating the potential of new relationships and maintaining current relationships with the Chamber while assisting them with the execution of their strategic plan. Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Last fall, Herbert was “intrigued” by the proposal, despite having offers from dozens of other organizations, Blair recalled.
“I have over 30 years of experience as an elected official – actually 30 years, six months and five days to be precise. And I’ve been in the private sector all my life. I’ve always had my own business. I have founded four different companies and understand this challenge, ”said Herbert.
He said that both small and large businesses face many of the same difficulties, including government regulations “sometimes getting in the way” of trying to become profitable and finding people willing to do the job to contribute to the success of a company.
“And I’ve met a lot of people along the way, so I know a lot of people in the business world,” said Herbert, adding that he understood the importance of chambers of commerce when his father ran the Orem Chamber of Commerce.
Herbert also noted his connections with business leaders across the state.
“It probably allows us to work and collaborate better, which I call ‘collaboration’. We’re going to have competition, but we’re going to work together like we do. That’s good for the state of Utah. It’s good for the Utah Valley, which is the fastest growing part of our state, ”he said.
Utah has also recently had political divisions that took center stage, when U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah and Governor Spencer Cox received boos and apparent disapproval from some of the Utah Republican Party Organizing Convention attendees last weekend received.
When asked for his thoughts on the apparent discord in the party, Herbert said, “I am very passionate about politics and politics and I love Utah and I love our people. And I love what we stand for and you can get pretty excited about that. “
However, he said, “This enthusiasm must be withheld so that you don’t become rude, haughty, or scornful.”
Although he says he is “right-wing conservative,” Herbert noted that he wanted to remain “moderate in tone” and collaborate with those of other faiths.
“I think we are making a big mistake because we think we will convince people to believe my way if you are rude and treat them with contempt for disagreeing or treating them as an enemy”, said Herbert.
He said he feared the Republican Party would “shrink” if the split continued. However, the unification of the party will lead to more electoral victories, especially at the national level.
Utah is considered one of the best places to live, but the business community “doesn’t like watching the fighting,” he said.
“People want to feel welcome, they want to feel part of the family.”
Along with the newly established Herbert Institute of Policy at Utah Valley University, he found that his new role is an opportunity to “give back” and help the emerging generation prepare for the future.
Herbert described life as governor as “a great stranger”.
“And I enjoyed being an elected officer, I enjoyed the service. And I am very humble and grateful for the great success we had, ”said Herbert.
Each of his six children and 17 grandchildren live in the Utah Valley. If he works for the chamber, he can stay in Orem, where he grew up and has been at home for a long time.
Former Utah Governor Gary Herbert is photographed at the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce in Provo on Thursday May 6, 2021. Herbert will serve as the Chamber’s Executive Chairman and have particular responsibility to nurture potential new relationships and maintain current relationships with the Chamber as he helps execute his strategic plan. Laura Seitz, Deseret News