As a "concerned neighbor," Oregon Gov. Neil Gold-schmidt visited Utah Saturday, urging voters to put partisan politics aside and support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Wilson.
"It will take a bipartisan election to run this state around," the Democratic governor said. "If you can find people of talent and vision willing to help - regardless of their party - then Utah can begin to come back."Not only is Utah neglecting to fulfill its potential, it is letting its neighboring states down by not pulling its weight in overcoming the economic struggle of our nation, he said.
Goldschmidt told those attending a Wilson fund-raiser at the University Club Building that Oregon has faced - but is beginning to conquer - problems similar to those plaguing Utah.
When Goldschmidt was elected governor in 1986, Oregon's unemployment rate was above the national average; its income was far below the national average; and young adults were leaving the state because there were no jobs. "Our future was in doubt."
To change the apathetic attitude of Oregonians, Goldschmidt engaged dedicated people with diversified political and economical backgrounds to form coalitions to take action in significant areas - beginning with education.
"The coalitions were not a group of Democrats or a group of Republicans but a group of Oregonians," he said. "And I think Wilson wants the same for Utah."
Oregon has a decade of hard work ahead, but the economy and opportunity in the state are vastly improving. Oregonians are more optimistic about their futures, he said.
Goldschmidt was the former Secretary of Transportation under United States President Jimmy Carter and also served as the mayor of Portland. He earned a nationwide reputation in the mid-1970s for developing in Portland one of the best mass transit systems in the country.
He has been a friend and admirer of Wilson for many years, he said. Wilson was serving as mayor of Salt Lake at the same time Goldschmidt was Portland's mayor.
Wilson has the "compassion, car-ing and organization skills" that can change Utah's future, he said.
Through his achievements as mayor, Wilson has proven himself a capable leader willing to take on difficult challenges, he said.
He commended Wilson for his vision and credited him for the following accomplishments:
- Bringing the Jazz basketball team to Utah.
- Leading efforts to construct a downtown convention center.
- Expanding the airport, making it a major hub for airport traffic.
- Organizing the beautification of Main Street project.
- Rallying volunteers to reduce flood damage during the 1983 floods.
By supporting Wilson in the upcoming election, Utahns have an opportunity to return Utah to the greatness of its original vision, he said. Utah can again become a place where the youth are well educated, people have jobs and optimism prevails, the governor said.