They may have been at odds during the campaign, but Gov. Norm Bangerter and his Democratic challenger, Ted Wilson, were the best of friends Wednesday as they gave University of Utah political students a lesson in the two-party system.
Wilson, who was favored to win the gubernatorial race through all but the last few days of the 1988 election, asked Bangerter to lecture at the U. Hinckley Institute of Politics, where Wilson is an instructor.While he often clashed with Wilson during heated debates last year, Bangerter said he is less of a hard-nosed partisan Republican than he may have appeared.
"We need the thinking of the best people in both political parties," the governor said to a room filled with students and teachers. "I'm a strong advocate of the two-party system."
Real progress comes when both major parties work together and make compromises, he said.
Bangerter, who nearly lost the election because of a perception that he was responsible for the state's poor economy in recent year, joked about how healthy they state's budget is this year.
"That's why I wanted to stay (in office), because I wanted to have a budget with some money for a change," Bangerter said.
Wilson, sitting on the front row, laughed and speculated on how the good budget news would have affected his public image if he had been elected.
"I would've looked like a genius," he said.
The hourlong class had its serious side, too, as faculty and students lobbied the governor to increase funding for education and asked why he recommended a 10 percent increase in tuition.
Bangerter, who has proposed a 3 percent raise for all state employees, said his research shows that Utah's higher education salaries have stayed above inflation during the last seven to 10 years.
"My industry, construction, is 12 percent below the curve on inflation during that time," he said.
However, Bangerter said he may recommend higher raises if state officials find more money.
The governor attributed tuition hikes to his belief that tuitions should account for 25 percent of the university's funding.