Gov. Norm Bangerter says his recent announcements that companies are coming to Utah are the results of hard work, not campaign gimmickry.
Reacting to Democratic charges he is hogging the credit for the decisions several businesses have made in recent weeks to come to Utah, Bangerter said Thursday his economic program is finally paying off.Bangerter also candidly admitted having nothing to do with the decision of an Idaho-based farmers' cooperative to open a milk processing plant in Wellsville, Cache County, as reported earlier this week by the Deseret News. The governor held a news conference Monday to announce the new plant.
"If the governor has to have every deal come across his desk we won't have nearly enough deals," he said.
Bangerter said he wants to publicize the state's willingness to accept new business. Companies are suddenly deciding to come to Utah because "that's when the companies are saying they're going to come," he said.
He sharply criticized Democratic Party Chairman Randy Horiuchi for issuing a statement Wednesday saying Bangerter had nothing to do with bringing PEPCON and Great American Insurance Co. to Utah. Both companies announced plans to come here within the past month.
He asked why his Democratic challenger, Ted Wilson, is letting Horiuchi do his talking.
"The mouth of the Democratic Party continues to speak for the candidate," Bangerter said. "Let's hear from the candidate."
PEPCON, a rocket fuel manufacturer, would not have come to Utah without the governor calling a special legislative session to authorize a state funding plan, Bangerter campaign officials said. State officials called PEPCON officials several times in the weeks prior to the company's announcement.
Officials also said the governor has given credit to Coldwell Banker for its part in attracting Great American.
"We've been doing a darn good job with economic development," Bangerter said. "They (Democrats) are hoping nothing good happens in the state."
Horiuchi said he decided to issue the statement after Utah Power & Light Co. officials contacted him to say they were primarily responsible for attracting PEPCON. He did not identify the officials.
PEPCON began looking for a new home after an accidental explosion at its plant in Henderson, Nev.
"I was called by these individuals on a private basis because they were concerned about the use of these announcements for political gain by Gov. Bangerter," Horiuchi said. "They believe that economic development in Utah is too important to sustain this kind of abuse."