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Paul S. Edwards: Gov. Herbert's role on the national stage

Published: Sunday, March 20 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

When asked about how intense positions held by a minority of Utahns, such as enforcement-only immigration policies, can be amplified through Utah's singular nomination process, Herbert responded, "I support the delegate system even though right now it makes it a little more difficult for my life. There are pros and cons to any system. It also allowed a relatively unknown guy like me to play in a big time political game. … It doesn't just play to the rich and the famous as a general primary election would. You take the good with the bad."

Friendship, trust and honor are important to Herbert. Throughout our discussion he was quick to note his personal relationships with other governors, with Utah's congressional delegation, with leaders in Utah's House and Senate. He noted the importance of keeping commitments and adjusting based on how others react on a personal level.

"A lot of this is networking — do I trust you, do you trust me. We need to develop policy, but there will always be an honest difference of opinions, even among Republicans."

Herbert is nationally recognized for governing one of the most fiscally responsible states in the nation. His candor, inclusiveness and unvarnished recognition of the complexity of issues is refreshing — even disarming. Only in a state held hostage by an arcane nominating system that intensifies fringe preferences would such a popularly elected governor be made an offender for signing popular legislation and bargaining to modify unpopular legislation.

Paul Edwards is editor of the Deseret News editorial page. E-mail: pedwards@desnews.com.

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