Tom Smart, Deseret News
I am running for Governor because I love Utah and want to focus on the basics upon which our state was founded — small, honest and effective government. Utahns value strong, ethical leaders. We value our families and our education. We help those in need and treat others with respect.
I strongly believe there is great potential for Utah to lead our nation in economic growth, quality of education and energy independence. My running mate, Representative Sheryl Allen, and I can bring that change. We are proven fiscal conservatives. We have track records of supporting education and have been endorsed by the Utah Education Association. We are recognized leaders in business and economic development.
Sheryl Allen and I are also running on Utah's first bipartisan ticket. I am a Democrat. Sheryl is a Republican. Our bipartisan approach prioritizes ideas before ideology. As governor and lieutenant governor, we will bring much-needed balance to Utah's government.
Our bulls-eye focus will be on the economy, education, energy, quality of life and making ethics a priority.
To support our economy, I will focus on local, homegrown businesses to create jobs. In 2010, Utah's unemployment hit a 26-year high and continues to rise. Over 100,000 Utahns are unemployed. To put Utahns back to work, I will pursue tax incentives for businesses that create well-paying jobs. My economic plan focuses on core businesses that help grow Utah's economy, such as technology, aerospace, agriculture, tourism and energy. My plan includes a strong emphasis on training workers to better prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century. With these ideas, Utah can become an economic powerhouse.
A solid education system goes hand-in-hand with a strong economy. Utah must have a 10-year plan for education. Right now, our current administration has no long-term plan, but I do. It's on my campaign website, www.votecorroon.com, along with four other fully-developed policy plans.
Our education system has many top-notch educators, but it's an education system that isn't making the grade and is underfunded. In fact, when it comes to per-pupil funding, Utah is dead last. This year, more than 20,000 students will enter Utah's education system with no funding. Some college students will face their second year of double digit tuition increases. We must invest in the education of our children by encouraging parental involvement and expanding teacher training. We need rigor in math and science and we can accomplish that goal without taking away student choice.
We also need a better strategy when it comes to energy. Utah is one of seven states that lost clean energy jobs between 1998 and 2007. It's hard to believe that's happening because not only do we have traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas, but we also have renewable energy such as geothermal, solar, wind and bio-fuels that can all be developed in Utah. A renewable energy economy will create jobs and improve our air and water quality.
We can have economic growth and remain good stewards of our air, water and land. Utah cities should not be ranked among the worst in the country for air quality. I will fight to improve our air quality, keep our water clean and keep high-level nuclear and foreign waste away from our borders.
I am a family man, small business owner and the chief executive of the second largest government in Utah. My role as an elected leader is to maintain an honest and ethical government and stand up for Utahns, to be the independent voice for reasonable and responsible government, to be the leader who places people and principles above party and politics.